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Keywords:NIGER DELTA AVENGERS AND THE ISSUES OF NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGERIA (1999-2015)
This study examines the issue of national security in Nigeria, with special reference to the Niger Delta Avengers (1999-2015). The study focus on the Niger Delta Avengers and its festering crisis stems from that crisis-ravaged region’s critical importance to Nigeria. As the nation’s treasure
base, the Niger Delta provides over 80 percent of government revenues, 95 percent of export receipts, and 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings. Also, the bulk of Nigeria’s bio-diversity and some of her best human resources are derived from the Niger Delta region. This study posits that beyond the well-known threats to the security of the Nigerian state, the lingering crisis in the country’s oil-producing areas is a grave threat to human security in that region and the country at large. Since poverty, environment and food security are key to national security, the ruthless exploitation and destruction of the natural environment upon which the inhabitants of the Niger Delta depend for their livelihood and sustenance pose major threats to human security in that region and, by implication, to the Nigerian state, which is solely the reason why Niger Delta Avengers among other groups cropped up from the region. The study also highlighted the effects of pipeline vandalism carried out by the Niger Delta Avenger on the socio-economic development in Nigerian society. These include colossal loss of revenue from oil by the government; the destruction of critical national assets necessary for economic development; and loss of lives of many citizens. It also worsens the problem of environmental degradation and thereby impoverishes the people. Pipeline vandalism also generated social insecurity and compelled some international oil companies to divest their investments from the country. This stagnates the country’s economic growth. The study finally suggested that the federal government should initiate dialogue with the stakeholders in the Niger Delta region so as to find lasting solution to the problems of pipeline vandalism, oil theft and militancy in the region which is affecting the security of the Nigerian state.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Background of the study
Statement of the problems
Significance of the study
Scope of the study
Limitations of study
2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 An overview of the Niger Delta and the crisis within
2.1.1 Oil Exploration and State of the Niger Delta
2.2 The Concept of National Security
2.3 Theoretical framework
3.0 SALIENT ISSUES IN THE NIGER DELTA CRISIS
3.1 Marginalization, abject poverty and massive unemployment
3.2 Environmental degradation
3.3 Destruction of aquatic ecosystem
3.4 Soil Quality Alteration
3.6 Air Pollution
3.7 Divide and Rule policy
4.0 IMPLICATIONS OF THE NIGER DELTA CRISIS FOR SECURITY IN NIGERIA
4.1 Niger Delta and National Security challenges in Nigeria
4.2 Oil and Gas Pipeline Security as a Major National Challenge
4.3 Intervention measure by federal government
4.3.1 Disarmament of Niger delta militants
4.3.2 Implementation of Amnesty programme for ex-militants
4.4 Political Dimension of Pipeline Vandalism in Nigeria
4.5 Socio-Economic Effects of Pipeline Vandalism on Nigerian Society
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
- Background of the study
Nigeria, is a country blessed with many mineral resources, but most importantly crude oil which is mostly found in the Niger Delta region. This has positioned the country as the largest producer of oil and gas in Africa. Nigeria is highly dependent on this oil and gas production to boost her economy, whereas oil has failed to translate to regional prosperity and development in the Niger delta region where the country gets a large chunk of her wealth (Kimiebi, 2010). The Niger delta region has instead been rewarded with massive environmental degradation and political and economic marginalization (Nwogwugwu, 2012). The violent repression of peaceful dissent exemplified by Ken Saro – Wiwa and the Ogoni eight saga, has been the preferred method of the federal government in addressing agitations from the Niger delta over the years. This created an environment of anger, desperation and violence (Oronto et al., 2003).
The combination of the activities of the oil companies and the government led to emergence of various armed groups operating under such names as Niger Delta Avengers, Egbesu Boys, Movement for the Survival of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality (MOSEIN), Joint Revolutionary Council, MENBUTU, Arogbo Freedom fighters, Niger Delta Volunteer Force and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) (Nwogwugwu, 2012). The activities of these groups which have included kidnapping of foreign nationals working with the oil companies, bombing of oil pipelines and facilities have created a state of general insecurity in the region and the country at large. It has also drastically reduced the oil production capacity of the country, which have resulted into adverse effect on the economy (Ibaba, 2011).
The incessant vandalisation of oil and gas pipelines and other oil facilities has shown that the security of these critical national assets has become a major security challenge (Njoku, 2016). This is because a greater percentage of the government revenue is derived from oil. Besides, the thermal power stations in the country depend on gas supply for effective and efficient power generation, hence the oil pipelines and other facilities should be properly secured. Unfortunately, however, it has not been easy to secure the oil pipelines and other vital oil facilities across the country, especially at the Niger Delta and Lagos axis.
According to Njoku (2016), the nation has witnessed the resurgence of militant activities in the Niger delta region in recent times. The militant group known as Niger Delta Avengers recently vowed to take the Niger Delta struggle to new heights that has never been seen in this nation before (Amaize and Brisibe, 2016). The group had embarked on the bombings of oil pipelines and other vital oil installations since February 21, 2016. Earlier on, in October 2015, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, SPDC, was reported to have shut-in its operations and declared force majeure on its export of the Forcados crude oil as a result of spills caused by pipeline vandalism. Consequently, Nigeria was said to be losing 150,000 barrels of export crude oil daily. (Yusuf, 2015). The Niger Delta Avengers had claimed responsibility for several other bombings of pipelines and vital oil facilities owned by Exxon Mobil, Agip Oil Company of Nigeria in Delta, Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom states (Abubakar and Daku, 2016; and Okafor and Tsokar, 2016). Abia (2011) has reported that the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers have reduced the country’s oil production by 800,000 barrels per day, a sad situation in an era of bad economy. More specifically, Shell and Chevron were reported to have lost over 50 percent of their productions as a result of the continual bombing of their oil facilities by the militants (Onyibe and Ejim, 2016). The political motives for the action of the Niger Delta Avengers appears hazy. The most remarkable of their demands include, among other things, the immediate and unconditional release of NnamdiKanu and former NSA, Sambo Dasuki from detention (Abubakar, 2016). However, many prominent Nigerians including eminent indigenes of Niger delta region view their actions as “unpatriotic and criminal” since they were aimed at economic sabotage (Amaize and Brisibe, 2015). Consequent upon the continued bombings of pipelines and other vital oil installations by the militants, the Nigerian military was reported to have declared war on Niger Delta militants and began to comb the creeks and even invaded some coastal communities to apprehend the suspects (Omojeghen, 2016). Amidst continued bombings of oil facilities by militants in the Niger delta, the Federal Government has linked their actions to lack of understanding of its policies. The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. IbeKachikwu added that President MuhammaduBuhari’s fight against corruption has forced enemies of the administration to resort to hostilities and vandalism of crude oil pipelines and other national assets, especially in the Niger Delta region (Oyemweneso, 2016). However, it has been suggested that the Federal Government should employ dialogue with the stakeholders in the Niger Delta in order to resolve the unfolding conflicts. For instance, the former Federal Commissioner of Information and Ijaw Leader, Chief Edwin Clark has asked President Buhari to emulate his predecessors, President Umar Yar’ Adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan by dialoguing with the Niger Delta militants whose activities were threatening the peace, stability and possible existence of Nigeria (Umoru, 2016). Similarly, the former governor of Anambra State, Dr. ChukwuemekaEzeife has warned the Federal Government that “any attempt to crush Niger delta militants may spell doom for the country”. He rather urged President Buhari to engage the militants and other aggrieved people from the South-South and South-East in dialogue (Adegbite, Tsa and Falaramini, 2016).
It is highly imperative to see how this 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 national security is fluid and dynamic. All nations of the world contend and will continue to contend with the challenges arising from the national security (Aaron, 2010). 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 national security. It is against this backdrop that this work explores the complexity involved in the maintenance of national security which arose as a result of the crisis in the Niger Delta region.
- Statement of the problems
Apparently, 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. Pipeline vandalism represents a serious sabotage to the effort of the federal government to achieve stable and sustainable power supply in the country. For instance, the bombing of Shell’s Forcados export terminal and the vandalisation of Lagos Escravos pipeline in February, 2016 resulted in the shortage of 3,132 megawatts (MW) of electricity (The Guardian, May 11, 2016). Moreover, the power sector was reported to be losing an average of N2billion daily since the resurgence of pipeline bombings in the Niger Delta. This was said to have resulted in acute shortage of gas to gas-fired generating turbines.
Another problem is that pipeline vandalism, oil theft and other related crimes by the Niger delta avengers have worsened the problem of social insecurity in the Niger Delta region. The situation has exposed many oil workers to grave danger.
Also, pipeline vandalism by Niger delta Avengers have resulted in increasing loss of the nation’s revenue which could have accrued from the sale of crude oil on international market. Yusuf (2016) has recently reported that Nigeria was at the risk of N1.458 billion ($7.29 million) daily revenue loss on its crude exports as Shell declared force majeure on 162,000 barrels per day Bonny light crude export.
In February, 2016 the NNPC was reported to have incurred N24.23 billion operational deficit, while in March 2016, the report indicated that it has declared N18.89 billion loss. The financial losses by NNPC was reported to be due to “a major slump in export sales due largely to shut-in of about 300,000 barrels of crude oil at Forcados Terminal following force majeure declared by Shell in February 15, 2016”. The report noted that production shut-in occasionally by vandalism at Forcados Export line has continued to drag NNPC’s performance (Daily Sun News, May 9, 2016). It was perhaps in view of these colossal financial losses suffered by Nigerian state as a result of pipeline vandalism that Nigeria was reported to have lost N12.566 billion in one month, that is, March 2016, due to petroleum products theft and vandalisation of the facilities of the NNPC (Eboh, 2016). According to Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, source, Nigeria’s oil production has dropped to 1.637 million bpd in April and further slide to 1.1 million bpd in May 2016 (Salau, 2016).
This and many more will be explored in this current study which focuses on the Niger Delta Avengers and the issues of National Security in Nigeria.
- Research questions
The following are the questions which this study attempt to answer.
- Has Nigeria national security been threatened as a result of issues in Niger delta?
- What are the impacts of Niger delta crisis on national security between 1999 to 2015?
- How has the issues in the Niger delta region pose a survival challenge on the entire country?
- Has the government taken formidable steps in ending the issues in the Niger delta region that will help foster a country devoid of security challenges?
- Has the amnesty programme introduced by previous government failed to yield dividends?
- Research Objectives
This study is aimed at exploring the issues in Nigeria’s national security and the roles played by the Niger Delta avengers. The objective of this study therefore are;
- To investigate the threat to Nigeria national security as a result of issues in Niger delta
- To identify the impacts of Niger delta crisis on national security between 1999 to 2015
- To explore how the issues in the Niger delta region pose a survival challenge on the entire country
- To examine the steps taken by government in ending the issues in the Niger delta region that will help foster a country devoid of security challenges
- To look into the introduction of the amnesty programme by previous government and why the measure has not stopped the continuous unrest in the Niger delta region.
- Significance of the study
The research has both Theoretical and Practical significance.
Theoretically, this study will contribute to the scholarly debate on the national security and the threats of Niger delta Avenger. This study explores the effect of the previously introduced amnesty programme whose dynamics was to bring peace to the region and to the country as a whole. It will also investigate the resolve of the Niger delta avengers to opt for vandalism and the effect of this on national security.
Practically, the outcome of this study will be instrumental to socio-economic and
political development of the Niger Delta in particular and the Nigerian state in general, it will help the policy makers to reposition, complement or change the strategies and methods of intervention in the Niger Delta so as to achieve maximum results. Finally, if the study succeeds in clarifying issues and facilitating understanding, it will enrich the pool of literature on the Niger Delta to the benefit of researchers and students.
- Scope of the study
The issue of national security is not relatively new to Nigeria, however the agitations of Niger delta avengers poses a great challenge to the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in its efforts at combating crime, safeguarding citizens and maintaining national security.
This paper therefore will be beneficial to the government of Nigeria in putting in place machineries to resolve the issues in the Niger delta region that will bring peace to the entirety of the country. It will also be beneficial to security agencies who are directly or indirectly involved in curbing the menace of insecurity in the country.
This study will also add to the existing literature and body of knowledge on the topical issue of Niger delta avengers as it relates to the issue of national security. It will also be a reference material for subsequent research work.
1.7 Limitations of study
The limitations of this study is the volatile nature of the subject, materials used for academic study requires cross examination because they all have their limitations, the limitations of materials used for this work can best be appreciated against the stand point of the fact that subjects related to crisis most importantly in the Niger Delta is fluid, the fact that the researcher addressed the aspect of national security as it relates to the crisis in Niger Delta which makes the discourse require expertise in the collection, selection, analysis and interpretation of materials. All the groups in the Niger Delta who were interviewed sometimes provides doctored information relating to the problems under examination, government officials, private workers, militants and anti-Niger Delta groups also presented issues the ways it best known to them. Similar trend could be noticed in several newspapers’ reports and even published works on Niger Delta Crisis and national security.
This is why all materials for academic research have their own limitations and have to be subjected to critical evaluation and scrutiny. It is in the light if this that cross-examination of data ultimately brings about judicious interpretation of facts as it is since national security issues have profound influence in determining the future of the oneness of the country.
- Research methodology
This study is basically a historical and contemporary analysis of Niger Delta Avenger and the issues of national security in Nigeria. The study therefore adopts one of the traditional methods of gathering information, i.e. both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources used is descriptive analysis (archival materials). A sizeable percentage of secondary sources that is used came from published and unpublished works which include materials extracted from: Archives, Newspapers on national security, discussions, Magazines, Internets, Books, Articles in journals e.t.c.
Keywords: NIGER DELTA AVENGERS AND THE ISSUES OF NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGERIA (1999-2015)
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