The Opportunity Costs Of Militancy In The Niger Delta, An Exposé - |Ads4naira Blog|

The Opportunity Costs Of Militancy In The Niger Delta, An Exposé


The Niger Delta brand of uprising we witness today is no longer noble. Militancy has caused a major drawback than a net advantage to the Niger Delta. It has no 'cool' factor.

The days of The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), formed in 1992 are long gone. When playwright and activist, late Ken Saro-Wiwa started this group, the emphasis was on giving his Ogoni ethnic group a platform to demand for social justice. They wanted an improvement in their standard of living and a stop to serious environmental degradation.

Successive Nigerian governments (mostly military) have relied on the 1979 constitutional amendment which allows the federal government full ownership and rights to all Nigerian territory. All compensation for land would "be based on the value of the crops on the land at the time of its acquisition, not on the value of the land itself." Hence, many Ogonis, like other Niger-Deltans were pushed off their lands to allow for crude oil exploitation with minimal compensations. Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC, henceforth Shell, the largest oil and gas operator in Nigeria), like most of the other multinational oil companies, has had a history of oil spills in Ogoniland since one of the first recorded oil spill in 1970 in Boobanabe, Kegbara Dere due to a fire at an oil well. Unfortunately, Shell has not been known to cleanup sites of oil spills even though under Nigerian law, oil companies have to start cleaning up spills within 24 hours, whatever the cause, and return the affected land to as close as possible its original state.

This is the recipe for the historic issues that bedevil the Niger-Delta till date. When Ken Saro-Wiwa and the rest of the 'Ogoni Nine' were brutally murdered on trumped up charges by the Sani Abacha regime in November 1995, very few believed his pronouncements on the marginalisation by the government and the environmental neglect by the oil companies in the Niger-Delta. Until in 2011, when United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) researchers found that the people of Ogoniland had lived with chronic oil pollution throughout their lives. This pollution has contaminated the fields where they grew food, the water where they fished and the wells from which they drank.

MOSOP issued a 30 days ultimatum to the oil companies (Shell, Chevron, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) for
i. payment of US$10 billion for accumulated rents and royalties for oil exploration since 1958 and for damages and compensation for environmental pollution, devastation and ecological degradation
i. immediate stoppage of environmental degradation; and
iii. negotiations for mutual agreement on all future drilling.
Nigerian soldiers overran Ogoniland as a result of this development and the rest is bitter history. Although the oil fields and installations in Ogoniland have since largely remained inactive since then, major oil pipelines still cross through Ogoniland and oil spills continue to affect the region, due to such factors as a lack of maintenance and vandalism to oil infrastructure and facilities.

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