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Nigeria: Ending Unrest in the Niger Delta

This paper introduces an alternative approach to conflict management in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The Niger Delta region, the crude oil bearing region of Nigeria, has witnessed an unprecedented spate of violent conflicts in the recent past, and all efforts to quell the conflict seem to have failed to yield the desired results. The proposed approach is based on collaborative problem-solving methodology to conflict management.

Not only does this approach obviate the inherent problems of the control and adversarial method that has hitherto been adopted by government and other stakeholders in the Niger Delta; it gives participants an equal chance to express their views, generate options and influence the final decision.

The paper however recognises that the participatory approach is not completely flawless. It requires very careful planning, determination on the part of all stakeholders as well as highly skilled facilitators. Nevertheless, the destructive dimensions of violent conflict cannot be left out of account, and it is generally agreed that whether or not conflict plays a positive or negative role is essentially a matter of how it is managed Imobighe The effectiveness or otherwise of the management of conflict is itself largely dependent on how well the causes of the conflict have been understood.

Conflict refers to contradictions arising from differences in the interests, ideas, ideologies, orientations and precipitous tendencies of the people concerned. These contradictions are inherent at all levels of social and economic interactions of the human race. It may therefore exist at the individual, group, institutional, regional, national and international levels. Conflicts may have negative or positive effects. The resolution of conflicts helps to push society towards enhanced humanity.

Conflicts are inevitable in human affairs but if carefully handled, they can lead to social and economic progress. When unresolved contradictions are allowed to linger and explode into violence, however, conflict becomes undesirable and may develop into a menace. Violent conflict is therefore the consequence of the inability or failure to accommodate and resolve contradictions in society through arrangements and procedures that eliminate their negative effects and maximize their positive effect.

According to Nnoli , such failures result from the inability of conflicting units to accept the arrangements and procedures that have been adopted to resolve the conflict. This is the case with the management of conflicts in the Niger Delta.

First, the level of poverty in the area is deepening, as the inhabitants of the area are unable to carry on with their economic activities such as farming, fishing, and very little else. Agricultural activities usually grind to a halt in communities where violent conflicts take place. Houses, farm lands and fishing ponds are often burned down or destroyed and usually abandoned as villagers escape into safer areas where they do not have access to farm lands or fishing ponds. Violent conflicts also lead to deaths of many male household heads, leaving a large number of widows, orphans and incapacitated people.

The increase in morbidity leads to a fall in agricultural productivity, lower income and intensified poverty. Secondly, the obvious failure of the old perspectives and management strategies of the host communities, Federal Government and the oil companies makes it imperative to search for a better strategy to facilitate negotiations between different stakeholders in projects and policy dialogue.

Thirdly, the zone is the economic nerve centre of the nation, which cannot afford the perennial disruptions to oil production occasioned by violent conflicts. Under the current democratic political dispensation in Nigeria, a partici patory approach to governance is inevitable for the attainment of good governance, transparency and accountability.

This approach is of particular importance in the management of the perennial conflict in the Niger Delta region. Previous attempts at the application of the approach failed to achieve the desired results, perhaps because of a weak formalisation and generalisation of the practice.

Hence an important objective pursued in this paper is to increase the sensitisation of all stakeholders regarding the existence and efficiency of the participatory approach for the resolution of the issue of frequent violent conflicts in the Niger Delta region. Nigeria is generously endowed with natural sources of energy resource. These include coal, crude oil, natural gas associated and non-associated natural gas , lignite and a number of renewable energy resources such as fuel wood, biomass, hydropower and solar energy.

Crude oil occurs in seven prospective basins, that is, Niger Delta, Anambra basin, Chad basin, Dahomey basin, Sokoto basin and the Benue Trough, while condensates are found in the South Eastern shelf. Presently crude oil exploration and commercial activities are concentrated on the Niger Delta basin acreage and the continental shelf Central Bank of Nigeria The Nigerian economy now revolves around the exploitation and exportation of crude oil.

It is highly sought after in the international crude oil market. Gas is obtainable in the form of associated and non-associated or dry gas, condensate gas and natural gas liquids. Of all the natural resources, crude oil has become the pivot of the Nigerian economic revolution. The Niger Delta is made up of seven out of the 36 states of Nigeria. But Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states constitute the Niger Delta, which occupies a landmass of 70 square kilometres, an area of high ecological value.

The people of the Niger Delta are polygamous and warlike. The annual festivals of many Niger Delta communities involve cutlass-toting displays, which often lead to provocations that result in violent conflicts.

The people are mainly fishermen, but small numbers are farmers. In the last four decades the Niger Delta has witnessed a high level of petroleum sector activities. The Niger Delta has nearly oil fields with well over oil production and storage facilities scattered within its swamps and creeks. As the Niger Delta became the prime basis of exploration and production of crude petroleum oil, the search for oil and gas was intensified in both deep and shallow waters as well as inland.

Government effort particularly during the military regime was geared towards expanding its revenue flow from the sector, to the utter neglect of the inhabitants of the area.

The oil and gas production and refining facilities such as terminals of pipelines, flow and pump stations, manifolds and refineries are scattered across the landscape of the Niger Delta. Many years of oil and gas production with frequent occurrence of crude oil and petroleum product spillage have left the people of the Niger Delta dispossessed of their land, land fertility, delta forest mangrove , water resources and their livelihood.

These losses have led to high levels of poverty and unemployment particularly among youths , infrastructure decay, moral decadence and crime in the area.

The region has become ridden by violent conflict, which caused the wanton destruction of its people and valuable properties, and left millions of dollars unrealised due to deferred production as a result of violent conflicts and work stoppages.

The high activity level in the Niger Delta has exposed the area to the dangers of pollution of water, land and air as well as oil spills which have endangered aquatic life as well as the entire ecosystem, topography and surface vegetation.

The problem of deforestation has led to loss of bio-diversity in the mangrove swamps, and to the destruction of nurseries and feeding grounds for many commercially important species of fish and crustaceans.

The contami nation of water bodies by oil has also led to the contamination of fisheries, freshwater and brackish water swamps, and to the killing of fishes, crabs, oysters and periwinkles. This has therefore destroyed artisan fishing which is of great importance to Niger Delta economy. The 45 years of oil production in the area has brought about defoliation of mangroves and the acceleration of erosion and flooding in the coastal areas.

There is also the case of contamination of rivers and inland waters, which are important sources of drinking water and food, thereby rendering such water and food unfit for human consumption. Ground water pollution is another serious impact of oil production. As it was expected, the activities of the oil industry did not spare the health of the human components of the Niger Delta environment. For instance, Ndifon identified oil acne a special skin eruption due to exposure to oil among respondents.

He also reports the incidence of cancer, decreased fertility, fever, cough, abdominal pain and diarrhoea, while as much as 85 percent of respondents suffered a combination of these symptoms. The difficult terrain makes road construction and maintenance an uphill task. The Niger Delta inhabitants thus suffer from poor road conditions, leading to high cost of transportation. The area has been denied the much-needed development of social and economic infrastructure such as electricity, roads and pipe borne water.

The Niger Delta states suffer from relatively high rates of both rural and urban unemployment. The neglect of the region for so long against the backdrop of so many unresolved issues seem to have resulted in the breeding of an army of miscreants.

The externalities associated with the exploration, production and transportation of crude oil are of the negative type.

They may be classified into quantifiable and non-quantifiable externalities. The quantifiable negative externalities include such effects as numbers of fish killed as a result of oil spillage in fishing waters, numbers of hectares of crops destroyed or replaced with giant pipelines and rigs. These are easy to identify and value in monetary terms. The payment of adequate compensation to displaced communities or individuals may suffice.

The non-quantifiable negative externalities on the other hand include the loss of potential output which would have been derived from unpolluted land and water, the increased health hazards resulting from increase in hydrocarbons in the water and air, the increase in the mortality and morbidity rates associated with environmental pollution, as well as the loss of income by farmers as result of polluted farmlands.

Also, the loss of vital sources of drinking water, the effect of moral decadence and the loss of societal values are all examples of non-quantifiable externalities which are of grave consequence to the people. These are not easy to identify, value or state in monetary terms.

Most of the externalities associated with crude oil exploitation in the Niger Delta are of this sort. These externalities precipitate the contradictions in the Niger Delta. All of these have culminated in socio-economic problems such as high levels of poverty and unemployment, community and oil company conflicts, intercommunity conflict over land and compensation, decay in societal values, poor roads and transportation network, high cost of fuel, paucity of housing and infrastructure facilities, moral decadence and high crime rates.

Since the federal government has increased the proportion of revenue shared to the Niger Delta states, and infrastructure development has improved through the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC , but the levels of poverty, unemployment and violent conflicts are still quite high. Inter-community conflict , which may be as a result of long standing disputes between two or more communities, unsettled boundary problems, disputes over oil-bearing land, or incursions into community land.

Intra-community conflict , which may be due to long standing disputes between individuals within a community, political marginalisation by a ruling ethnic group or class, an unacceptable traditional ruler, or embezzlement real or imagined of compensation by community leaders.

Community versus oil companies conflict , which may be caused by several factors. There are factors related to the presence of oil installations in a community. For instance, an incursion into community land, a threat or perceived threat to the continual existence of a community, ineffective communication between communities and oil companies, unrealistic formalities of claim tenders, non-payment of compensation for occupied land.

Some factors are specifically related to environmental pollution: non-payment or inadequate payment or unduly delayed payment of compensation for polluted land and water resources, abject poverty due to displacement and loss of livelihood arising from pollution of farm land or fishing waters. The devastating effects of the oil industry do not only affect the economy and the ecosystem, but also the cultural and social systems of the Niger Delta.

Disputes between communities and oil companies are therefore often of long standing nature and difficult to resolve. Community versus federal, state or local government conflict. For this variant many of the problems are linked to the federal government. The causes of the community versus government conflict may be some or a combination of the following:. Conflicts in the region are becoming increasingly frequent and intensely violent, leading to incessant loss of lives and property. Violent conflicts and economic progress are mutually exclusive.

If anything, the violent conflicts have taken a turn for the worse. This points to the need to revisit the management strategies of relations within and between communities and oil companies, and communities and government, with a view to instituting conflict management procedures that would lead to peace and sustainable development in the Niger Delta region and the Nigerian economy.

It is clear that violent conflicts in the Niger Delta have socio-cultural, political and economic dimensions which are interconnected with oil-related issues, such as deprivation, marginalisation, environmental degradation, military interventions in the conflicts and old rivalries between the communities.

The management strategies adopted so far have been based on how each of the three stakeholders in the Niger Delta saga, that is the communities, the oil companies and the federal or state government, perceives the problems of the Niger Delta and the methods for dealing with them. This has taken the form of demand by groups for political empowerment, increased fiscal allocation to compensate for resource exploitation, and environmental degradation, resource control and overall development Osaghae The basic strategies include:.

These strategies have heightened tension, insecurity and conflicts in the region. Secondly, the oil companies have perceived that the basic need of the communities is the alleviation of poverty through provision of basic social and economic infrastructure.

These come in the form of community development projects such as construction of roads, jetties, health centres, electrification, science equipment, and employment and scholarship schemes for members of host communities.

Ending the Niger Delta Crises: Exploring Women's Participation in Peace Processes

This website is coordinated by Modus Operandi. Keywords: Nigeria. The objective of this case-studies is to increase awareness about the socio-political context of doing business. The State represents the interests of the population through implementing laws that protect the population. The State plays a role as an arbiter in disputes and makes judgements according to a transparent set of rules. The reality in a country like Nigeria does not correspond to this model.

The Nigerian State and Peace Building Mechanics in the Niger Delta Region

The Niger Delta question represents one of the most intractable sources of political destabilization, constitutes a profound threat to national security, and economic development of the Nigerian state. Due to the multi-layered dimensions of the effects of crude oil, guns, profits, and geo-territorial instability, the protracted problems of the Niger Delta thus, provides us with pertinent analytical and contextual frameworks for the study of the dynamics, volatility and transparency issues in global extractive industries. In the muddled rivers and creeks of the Niger Delta, characterized by regional destabilization, there has emerged a clandestine economy of protection syndicates, marked exponential increase in kidnappings and targeting of expatriate workers, as well as state sponsored military reprisals against self-styled insurgents, warlords, and militia movements. This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution. Rent this article via DeepDyve.

The Niger Delta is again at risk of sliding into chaos.

The Nigerian State and Peace Building Mechanics in the Niger Delta Region

A common root cause to the instability revolves round the issue of resource control and socio economic development of the region. However the plight of indigenous women in the face of intractable violence has largely been ignored. The just suspended armed engagement between the Joint military Task Force and various militant groups in the region has created several negative consequences for women and children which is subsumed under the bigger issues of violence. This policy Brief explores recent dynamics in the Niger Delta conflict in the context of the amnesty granted to militants, release of Henry Okah and the plight of the vulnerable groups in all the efforts geared towards resolving the conflicts.

This paper introduces an alternative approach to conflict management in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The Niger Delta region, the crude oil bearing region of Nigeria, has witnessed an unprecedented spate of violent conflicts in the recent past, and all efforts to quell the conflict seem to have failed to yield the desired results. The proposed approach is based on collaborative problem-solving methodology to conflict management.


These have culminated in the Niger Delta Crisis. ten, and prescribed solutions rendered puerile. from this, to point out some ways to an amicable solution.


Oil conflict in the Niger Delta

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Resource control, revenue allocation and petroleum politics in Nigeria: the Niger Delta question

The energy sector — particularly power supply and electricity distribution — suffers from severe mismanagement and lack of investments, having adverse effects on internal stability, economic development and human security. Reliable and efficient access to energy is an indispensible ingredient for sustained economic growth. Consequently, the energy sector should represent a key priority for the government, and yet large parts of the country still suffer from repeated energy outages and blackouts, some even lasting for days. According to World Bank figures, 59,3 per cent of the population had access to electricity in Proposed solutions, however, fall well short of what is necessary.

Theoretical underpinning in favour of the causes of plethoric crises could be underscored in the context that a doused conflict situation imposed by an authoritarian regime in this case, a series of military regimes could re-emerge immediately after the demise of such a regime even when there is an emergence of a seemly freedom-oriented dispensation democratic era. Among the crises that re-emerge at the inception of civil rule in Nigeria is the Niger Delta crisis. The Niger Delta crisis was initially indexed on a prolonged socio-economic and political alienation marked by poverty, hunger, disease and environmental degradation. The Niger Delta — especially in the oil-producing communities — featured perpetuated human insecurity basic needs , lack of infrastructures, wanton ecological damages, theft and unjust distribution of revenue from the sale of oil, coupled with perceived apathy on the part of government and the multinational oil companies in spite of significant contribution of crude oil to the Nigerian and global economy. Thus, the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta, instead of serving as means of blessing for the region brought total deprivation of the people from their own property and consequentially endangered meaningful growth and development.

Chevron is the third-largest oil producer in Nigeria and one of its largest investors, with assets on land, in swamps and in the near-offshore regions of the Niger Delta. The area is home to more than 30 million people, 70 percent of whom live in poverty. For more than a decade, our company has been implementing innovative community engagement programs in the region, including the Global Memorandum of Understanding GMoU process — a community-led, multi-stakeholder participatory partnership model for community engagement and sustainable development launched in — and the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative NDPI Foundation, launched in

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