The Niger Delta Crisis It’s Impact On Nigerian’s Internal Security
The Niger Delta region of Nigeria contributes more than 95 percent of the country’s export incomes and generates more than 40 percent of the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 85 percent of the nation’s total revenue (Karl and Gray, 2003). Although most multinational oil companies (MNOCs) have found the Niger Delta a fertile ground for business, the region remains backward, poor and underdeveloped. The host communities have been frustrated by the effects of oil production on the environment, which include oil spillages, the reduction of arable land, and the destruction of wild life and fish reserves. As a result of the oil bearing communities’ angry sentiments towards the MNOCs and the Nigerian Government, incessant conflict, and violent crises have enveloped the region, which have otherwise contributed to the level of national insecurity in Nigeria. In the light of the above, this study seeks to the Niger delta crisis: it’s impact on Nigerian’s internal security. Through the use of secondary sources of data collection and narrative analysis, the study concludes that the abysmal failure of successive administrations in Nigeria to address National security challenges and challenges of sustainable development such as poverty, unemployment and inequitable distribution of wealth among ethnic nationalities, ultimately resulted to anger, agitation and violent crimes against the Nigerian state by some individuals and groups. An insight into the state of security in Nigeria reveals that the Niger Delta region poses a great danger.
1.1 Background of the Study
In 2002, an international observation proclaimed the Niger Delta as one of the most volatile regions of the world. This observation came on the heels of incessant crisis which the region have been witnessing for decades but which took alarming dimension in loosing years of the 1990’s and the opening years of the new millennium. The region from one decade to another has witnessed unprecedented crisis. Also from one decade to another the nature and dynamics of crisis in the region have changed, the transformations which the crisis took from the one period to another have paved way for its institutionalization in the history of the region and Nigeria in general. The institutionalization of the Niger Delta crisis in the politics and economy of the country is something to discuss, the threat which it has been posing and still posing to domestic and internal security of the Nigerian nation is an aspect which requires critical academic enquiry.
A systematic analysis of the crisis is informed by my intention to identify the changing dynamics of what constitutes internal security over the years and how the nation state of Nigeria have been contending with the threat which the Niger Delta crisis is posing to the so called internal security.
It is imperative to see how regional based crisis affect the survival of the entire country and how the political entity called Nigeria have been dealing with the changing dynamics of the crisis, the current study therefore understands that the concept of internal security is fluid and dynamic. All nations of the world contend and will continue to contend with the challenges arising from the internal security. To Nigeria, the complicated nature of the Niger Delta crisis poses serious and enduring threat to the fragile nature of Nigerian democracy and the ever volatile internal security.
What this work explores is the complexity involved in the maintenance of internal security which arose as a result of the crisis in the Niger Delta. For the purpose of this research, the concept of internal security questions and the contributions of Niger Delta crisis are of domestic in nature.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
In this work, I attempt to answer the entire questions of the place of crude oil in the escalation and the reduction of the Niger Delta crisis. The significance of the other exigencies or factors in the crisis? The contributions of the Multinational Corporation and different political ferments in the region? The Niger Delta crisis cannot be understood without a critical understanding of the relationship between individual communities on the one hand and with the federal government on the other hand which revolve round the control of resources and retarded infrastructural, economic and social development in the region.
To what extents have the crisis constitutes threats to internal security? Put differently, what is the threat which the crisis is posing to the Nigeria’s nascent democracy? How crisis have metamorphosed in the all-embracing concept of internal ` security is also analyzed and the entire attempts made by the federal government to preserve legitimacy in the name of the fundamental internal security are not left undiscussed.
Niger Delta crisis at every point in time have threatened the primacy responsibility of the government in terms of security of lives and properties and the preservation of oneness of Nigeria as a single political entity. Internal security transcends the primary role of the government in the protection of lives and properties. The gagging question is: is the Niger Delta crisis posing any threat to the internal security of the Nigerian nation?
1.3 Objective of the Study
National security questions and the role played by the Niger Delta crisis is theme which requires adequate scholarly attention.
The objective of this study therefore are
- Discuss the key factors responsible for Niger Delta crisis.
- Evaluate the security situation in the Niger Delta region.
- Assess the impact of national security challenges in Niger Delta region on sustainable development in Nigeria.
- Examine the interventions made in Niger delta crisis.
1.4 Research Question
The study will be guided the following questions;
- What are the key factors responsible for Niger Delta crisis?
- What is the security situation in the Niger Delta region?
- What is the impact of national security challenges in Niger Delta region on sustainable development in Nigeria?
- What are the interventions made in Niger delta crisis?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The justification for this work can best be appreciated from two major perspectives namely, the need to carryout a critical academic analysis of he origin of the Nigeria Delta Crisis and an appraisal of the impact of the Niger Delta Crisis on national security, hence the changing dynamics of the crisis and the high degree of internationalization which its taken in recent years. The internationalization of the Niger Delta Crisis is as old as the history of the crisis itself; however, in recent years the concern of the international community is getting higher and higher.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study is structured to generally examine the Niger delta crisis: it’s impact on Nigerian’s internal security. The study covers the review of the key factors responsible for Niger Delta crisis, the security situation in the Niger Delta region, the impact of national security challenges in Niger Delta region on sustainable development in Nigeria, and the interventions made in Niger delta crisis.
1.7 Methodology of the Study
This study is based on a qualitative approach, in which information is obtained from secondary sources, and it will be analysed using a narrative method that will lean more towards the interpretivist approach. This study, being descriptive as well as historical, relied essentially on secondary information sources gathered by the researcher via many books, articles, group discussions, and online materials.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Security as activities that ensures protection of a country, persons, properties of the community against future threats, danger, mishaps and all other forms of perils.
National security “as the physical protection and defence of our citizens and our territorial integrity and also the promotion of the economic wellbeing and prosperity of Nigerians in a safe and secure environment that promotes the attainment of our national interests and those of our foreign partners.”
1.10 Organization of the Study
The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, and theoretical framework. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the security situation in the Niger Delta region, and the impact of national security challenges in Niger Delta region on sustainable development in Nigeria. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the interventions made in Niger delta crisis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the conclusion and recommendation.
Conclusion and Recommendation
The abysmal failure of successive administrations in Nigeria to address National security challenges and challenges of sustainable development such as poverty, unemployment and inequitable distribution of wealth among ethnic nationalities, ultimately resulted to anger, agitation and violent crimes against the Nigerian state by some individuals and groups. An insight into the state of security in Nigeria reveals that the Niger Delta region poses a great danger. Right from colonial times, the people of the area have felt marginalized and alienated arising from years of neglect and abandonment in terms of development by the Nigerian government and multinational corporations. The agitations in the Niger Delta is not something that happened overnight. It has been accumulating for a very long time ago. Despite the government’s awareness of the problems in this region, regrettably the government seemed to have taken a definite stand in finding controvertible solutions to the problems. This has prompted criticism of the state as being itself an instigator of violent conflict in the oil region. According to Moson and Dale (1989:177), the state is prepared to have recourse to repressive violence, not because it has much chance of succeeding, but because its own inherent weaknesses prevent recourse to less violent alternatives. In other words, the state turns to a repressive mode, because the “authorization flow of rule results not from high level of power and legitimacy, but from the tenuousness of authority and the search for it”.
To further compound the problem, various development efforts by government merely paid lip-service to the situation leaving much to be desired. The recent wave has taken sordid tolls on lives and property with grave implication for sustainable development of the economy of the region and the entire country. It is hoped that the recent creation of a Federal Ministry of Niger Delta will tackle the hydra headed monster of underdevelopment from a holistic perspective by creating jobs for teeming number of unemployed youths and providing public utilities for the masses. The problem is perplexed and complex and the amnesty programme has not achieved much peace within the region. Unfortunately, the government has relaxed and felt accomplished creating a situation of possible reversion to open conflict. The real panacea for solving insecurity challenge in Nigeria is for government to accelerate the pace of development.
Niger delta oil constitutes a major source of threat to national security in Nigeria. Hence, the control of the violent activities of the Niger Delta usually expressed through oil pipeline vandalization and oil theft is core to the national interest of Nigeria since oil forms the corner stone of Nigerian economic survival. Now, what is germane is to address the fundamental grievances of the oil-bearing communities. The proclamation of amnesty is regarded as a palliative measure that will have no significant effects on the conflict trajectory. As long as the Federal Government fails to tackle the root causes of the conflict, the people of the region willcontinue to be restive with negative consequences of arms proliferation while insecurity will continue unabated. Hence we recommend that:
- There should be rapid development of the Niger Delta region through the provision of infrastructural facilities. It is time to adopt the simple method used for the rapid development of Abuja in developing the Niger Delta.
- The way to go remains the dismantling of the huge social infrastructure on which militancy in the Niger Delta rests, that is, a reform of the extant petroleum laws and related policies of the Nigerian State that constitute a violation of resource control rights of Niger Delta people.
- The government should establish a credible institution to check the corrupt practice of governors, local government chairmen, chiefs, community leaders and youths in the Niger Delta region. The Nigerian economy should be diversified in order to reduce dependence on the petroleum sector. The success of this diversification will reduce the rising incidence of oil theft and oil pipeline vandalization and guarantee national security.
- The destruction of the Niger Delta environment by the MNOCs should be addressed by the Nigerian state. The region’s ecosystem can be protected by enacting laws that will regulate the activities of MNOCs and also agencies to monitor such activities and enforce compliance. Market based instruments like pollution taxes and effluent charges should be utilized. Revenue obtained from pollution taxes should be plough back into developmental projects or used to compensate inhabitants of the Niger Delta who have suffered as a result of environmental damage. An attempt should be made to mainstream environmental concerns in national economic policies. This will promote visibility and sustainability of environmental policies.
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