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Niger/Delta: Militancy or Criminality a Genuine Cause for Agitation?

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Author: Nwaorgu Faustinus
Posted to the web: 1/28/2011 8:00:00 AM

Niger/Delta : Militancyor Criminality a Genuine Cause for Agitation?


By Nwaorgu Faustinus


When the word militancy is mentioned in the Nigeriancontext, the South –South zone readily comes to mind. It has become anineluctable attribute associated with the oil rich region and has continuedunabated. Even with the presence of the Joint Task Force(JTF), act of hostage taking, destruction of oil installations and oil bunkeringare still going on in the Niger Delta.


One therefore begins to wonder if the aim, mission andvision of a genuine cause and agitation of a group are hinged on abduction ofinnocent foreign expatriates, domestic and native oil workers, children,fathers and mothers of those in the corridors of power and the subsequentdemand of outrageous ransom from the relatives of the victims.  One istherefore compelled to ask is this criminality or genuine agitation for acause. Your answer to the above question is as good as mine.


Social and political crusaders, activist, agitators as wellas militants in the past have adopted mild and subtle methods to achieve theiraspirations, needs and aims which are usually hinged on non-violence. True andsincere agitators of Niger-Delta cause should tap from past experience andrecords to accomplish their aims as arms struggle with the federal Government,hostage taking, destruction of pipeline installation and oil bunkering is notthe way out of the present situation and will do our dear country no good butrather create in the minds of would-be investors and investors already in thecountry an atmosphere of instability, uncertainty and consequently scareinvestors away. In the same vein, it will result to shutting down of flowstations which will adversely cut down the supply of crude oil in the internationalmarket and thus reduce the money accruable to the federal government.


In addition, the kidnapping of workers of constructioncompanies in the zone can only but delay the construction of infrastructuralfacilities as no company would like its workers to be kidnapped at random. Inthis case, the outcome would be the pulling out of such company from theconstruction site thus hampering the speedy completion of the developmentproject in the Niger-Delta.


It is apparent that some faceless individuals, who are hellbent on causing a decline in the economic fortunes and psychologicaltrauma to the people of this nation, have usurped the good cause of theNiger Delta people for selfish monetary interest. Therefore, the abovementioned people should be made to face the full wrath of the law if caughtbecause their activities negate the true cause of the Niger-Delta people.


The Niger-Delta agitators want the implementation of thetenet of true federalism in the country to the letter and an exhaustivedevelopment of their area. If implemented, this will give them ampleopportunity to control the resources in their area and pay tax to the federalGovernment. However, some have argue that if the South-South cannot justify thehuge amount of money given to them as federal allocation to better the lot of their people it will be unwise to allow them to control theirresources.


Accepted that Niger-Delta have not had a fair deal in thescheme of things in Nigeria, in terms ofinfrastructural development, just like the ones you see in Abuja, the FederalCapital Territory, their leaders should therefore justify the huge amount ofmonthly revenue allocation given to them by the federal Government by embarkingon thorough development project that will turn around the fortunes of theNiger-Delta.


Recently, MEND expressed its readiness to renew itshostility on the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil industry following thecontinued detention and slump of Charles Okah recently. In a statement issuedby Jomo Gbomo, the spokesman to MEND stated,  “To avert avoidable loss of lives and properties,advance warning for immediate evacuation is hereby issued to residents in closeproximity to depots storing petroleum products such as aviation fuel, diesel,kerosene, petrol, propane gas and engine oil.


Wecannot guarantee the safety of staff that happens to be in the facility duringan attack. We will also be targeting transport vehicles that convey petroleumproducts.

Anyonewho chooses to ignore this warning does so at their own peril.”


MENDshould look before it leaps because no single person, individual or group canfight a government and succeed without international support and acceptance.

Therefore, every Tom, Dick and Harry should embrace peace,dialogue, love, unity and cooperation because no meaningful development couldbe achieved in a state of chaos. This reminds me of the words of former ActionCongress Governorship candidate in Rivers State Prince Tonye Princewill. Accordingto him, “the only solution to the crisis lies with the convocation of an open,sincere and constructive dialogue. My advice will therefore be for all sides topull back and focus on ways to create that atmosphere where we can engage in agenuine dialogue in a bottom up approach where representatives of the peopleare not decided in Abuja but on the brand of thegrassroots community level.”


For those who are in the fore front for a better deal forthe Niger-Delta, the should keep up with the just cause, hoping that one daytheir agitation would yield fruitful result and those who have debased thecause by employing criminality should stay clear because karma will surelycatch up with them. A word is enough for the wise.  


 Nwaorgu Faustinus Chilee, writes from Igboetche,Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Email:fausteness@yahoo.com


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