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ETHNIC MILITIAS AND THE PROBLEMS OF INSECURITY IN NIGER DELTA FROM 1990 - UP TO DATE


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ABSTRACT

Once in this study has been able to trace the origin of ethnic militias, their objectives, the nature and scope of ethnic militias as well as their impacts on security in the Niger Delta.

Historically, there is no gain saying in the fact that ethnic militias has taken a dangerous dimension in recent time in the Niger Delta region. Ethnic militias are only the manifestation of the restiveness of youth of the ethnic region which have been marginalized in the sharing of the national cake in Nigeria.

Also, the unequal division of the country by the Littleton constitution of 1954 which produced the Northern region as a bigger entity then the east and the west has been a continuous source of confrontation in Nigeria as states which produce the wealth of the country are neglected while those that producing nothing enjoy the lion's share of the national cake. This scenario is true with the people of the Delta region who have little to show for producing the bulk of the country's wealth.

The need to press for the control of their mineral and natural resources as should be the case under true federation has led to an increase in the number of ethnic militias in the Delta region.

The main ethnic militias groups, include the Egbesu Boy of Africa, the movement for the emancipation of the Niger Delta movement for the survival of Odon people, Ijaw youths council, the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, Niger Delta United force and the likes.

Nonetheless, the groups believe in the use of threats, violence, killing, hostage takings and oil pipe line vandalization are mostly associated with restive youths in the Niger Delta area or the South -South.

Government reaction to the activities of the ethnic militias has been through both dialogue and the use of force. For example, the establishment of agencies like, NDDC, Oil Mineral Producing Area Development Commission (OMPADEC) and Niger Delta Development Commission has so far failed to improve the poor standard of living of the people of Niger Delta region.

The security of the Delta region has been endangered by proliferations of weapons by the militias.

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page

Certification

Dedication

Acknowledgement

Table of Content

Abstract

 

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.0       Introduction

1.1       Background of the study

1.2       Aims and Objectives of the study

1.3       Statement of Problems

1.4       Significance of the study

1.5       Researches Methodology

1.6       Scope of the Study

1.7       Definitions of Terms

 

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.0       literature Review

2.1       Insecurity in The Niger Delta

 

CHAPTER THREE: EVOLUTION OF ETHNIC MILITIAS

3.0       Introduction

3.1       Evolution of Ethnic Militias

3.2       Nature, Scope and Activities of Ethnic militias

CHAPTER FOUR: THE IMPACTS ETHNIC MILITIAS

4.0       Introduction

4.1       The Niger Delta Region

4.2       Insecurity and the Militias Warfarism in the Niger Delta

4.3       An Appraisal of the Role of Ethnic Militias in Insecurity in the Niger Delta

 

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

5.0       Summary

5.1       Conclusions

Bibliography

CHAPTER ONE

1.0     INTRODUCTION

The current conflict in the Niger Delta arose in the early 1990s over tension between the foreign oil corporations and a number of the Niger Delta's minority ethnic groups who felt they were being exploited, especially the Ogoni and the Ijaw. Ethnic and political unrest has continued throughout the 1990s and persists as of 2007 despite the conversion to democracy and election of the Obasanjo government in 1999. Competition for oil wealth has fuelled violence between many ethnic groups, causing the militarization of nearly the entire region by ethnic militia groups as well as Nigerian military and police forces (notably the Nigerian mobile police). Victims of crimes are fearful of seeking justice for crimes committed against them because of growing “impunity from the prosecution for individuals responsible for serious human rights abuses, which has created a devastating cycle of increasing conflict and violence in the regions”.  

However, the uneasy calm that gripped Nigeria especially Niger Delta as a result of the activities of the ethnic militias underscored government's neglect of the region in terms of socio-economic development. The region was noted with the worst indices of economic failure such as poverty, unemployment and internally and externally induced problems.

 

1.1     BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The huge number of unemployed school le avers, domination of Nigeria's socio-economic, political scene by one ethnic group, marginalization of some ethnic regions in the distribution of country's mineral and natural resources among others are believed to lay the foundation for the wave of ethnic militarism that engulfed the Nigerian state in the 1990s.

More significantly, the lackadaisical attitude of the Federal government to implement religiously the principles of true federalism enabled and even encouraged the youths of the marginalized regions especially Niger Delta to take to arms and in their crave to manage their God-given national wealth Indeed, the emergence of ethnic militias like Oodua Peoples Congress, the movement for the sovereign state of Biafra, MASSOB, the Egbesu Boys is a response to the marginalization of the  peoples regions by the Federal government in the socio-economic and political spheres in Nigeria. Yet among the militias are groups which were formed solely to defend their people against attacks by some aggrieved ethnic regions. In this group is the Arewa People’s Congress which emerged primarily to serve people of Hausa extraction from attacks by other ethnic groups. The differences in the ideologies of these ethnic groups heightened further the incidence of insecurity in Niger Delta.

 

1.2     AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The aim of this work is to examine the impact of the ethnic militias on the security of Niger Delta in Nigeria. Secondly, this work looks at the reasons behind the emergency and activities of the militia in the Delta region and the impact of such programmes on the socio-economic life of the Delta people.

Finally, this work evaluates the reactions of the Delta region to government's palliative measures in the region.

The objective of this study x-rays the venous ways through which militia groups had contributed to the insecurity in the Delta region.

 

1.3     STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS

The Delta region has a steadily grounding population estimated to be over 30 million people as 2005, accounting for more than 23% of Nigeria population. The region is perhaps the richest region in Nigeria in terms of mineral and natural resources. Regrettably too, this region is unarguably the least developed in terms of socio-economic infrastructure or amenities.

Several years of oil exploration has led to massive destruction or vandalization of both agricultural and aquatic life of the people. Government intervention programmes such as the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Board in 1962, the oil mineral producing and development Commission, OMPADEC and more recently, the Niger Delta Commission (NAOC) Development Commission (2000) was established by President Olusegun Obasanjo with the sole mandate of developing the petroleum rich Niger Delta of Southern Nigeria. These have failed to address the SOCIO­ economic problems of the people of the Delta region.

In all these cases, the recourse to arms becomes inevitable for the youths of the Delta region in their bid to control and manage their mineral and natural resources.

 

1.4     SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

This illustrates the various measured that can be taken to bring about the lasting solution to the problems of ethnic militias and insecurity in the Niger Delta region. Thus, the work will be of help to the government to reduce or quell the unrest in the Niger Delta region through the amnesty programme and other palliative measures.

It will help the government to implement fully the venous components of the federalism which emphasizes resources control among others.

It will also help the ethnic groups that problems can be addressed through pipeline of a reasonable channel or constructive dialogue instead of indulging in violence.

 

1.5     RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This work examines the materials obtained mainly from secondary sources of history. Consequently, the use of textbooks, monographs, journals, newspapers and magazines will form the bulk of materials for this work.

1.6     SCOPE OF STUDY

This work covers the evolution, growth and development of ethnic militias in Nigeria and Delta region in particular. It also focuses on the militia groups in the Delta region and their impact on Nigeria's security. Consequently, the work also examines the influx of the militia groups in the Delta region, their scope and mode of operation.

 

1.7     DEFINITION OF TERMS

·                   Ethnic:- According to Nnoli, ethnicity is characterized by a common consciousness of being one in relation to the other relevant groups. He contends further that ethnicity is a "Socio - political phenomenon associated with interactions among masses of a society consisting of diverse ethnic groups, characterized by cultural and linguistic similarities, values and common consciousness.

·                    Militias:- according to the oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of current English defines militias as a group of civilian trained as regular soldiers but distinct from army. It could also be termed as a paramilitary groups who wanted to enforce their political agenda by the use of arms and ammunition with the explicit goal of confronting their regional petroleum resources.

·                   Ethnic Uitias: Broadly speaking it can be said that ethnic militia groups are youth based groups formed with the sole aim of protecting and promoting the interest of their ethnic groups. The ethnic militias are not rebel groups or criminals as they have been labeled by the Nigerian government. They do not aim to capture power but seek to influence some decisions in favour of their people. Some of the well-known ethnic groups in Nigeria include the Oodua People Congress, The Movement for the Actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra, The Egbesu Boys of Nigeria, the Bakasi Boys and Arewa People Congress.

·                    Insecurity:- can be defined as the absence of freedom from danger or a feeling of anxiety about safety. It involves a situation where individuals, communities, groups or whole regions are not provided adequate protection to enable them pursue their legitimate activities. This concept also applies to economic insecurity which can resent from acute under-development and poverty which can also come about from internal and external sources.

Indeed, the Niger - Delta has since 1960 been a region of insecurity as the people demand for the control of their enormous mineral and natural resources. More than forty years of oil exploration in the Delta region by multinational oil corporations has increased economic insecurity on the communities due largely to environmental degradation, pollution of the environment and gas flaring. The increasing devastation of the agricultural and aquatic life of the Delta due to oil exploration has left many people whose source of livelihood depend on land and water poor and helpless.

 

REFERENCE

See the Guardian (Lagos) 15April, 1999. P' 50.

R.O Idahan "Military in the Niger Delta: Implication of Nigeria's National and Sub - Regional Security" The Nigerian Army Quarterly Journal" Vol. 4, No 4, December, 2008.

Ibid

See O. Maxwell "The Burden of the Delta Region" (Lagos) Sunday Vanguard 13, February, 2003, P'16

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