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This study attempts to discern the palpable causes of anti-oil protests in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria. The study is necessitated by the need to situate the crisis in the Niger-Delta region in historical perspective. In line with this, what appears to be the federal government response to the crisis are isolated and discussed. It is found that one of the issues causing disaffection in the region is breach of promises and dashed hopes from the government and the oil companies operating there. Our conclusion emphasizes the need for consensus building as well as participatory approach to conflict resolution in the region. In the last three decades, the Niger Delta region, the centre of Nigeria’s oil wealth has been the scene of protest, sometimes violent, against the repressive tendencies of the Nigerian state on the one hand and against the recklessness, exploitative and environmentally unfriendly activities of oil Multinationals on the other hand. The violence has taken terror dimensions. Such violent agitations have claimed thousands of lives, other thousands displaced and inestimable properties have been destroyed rendering the region one of the most dangerous zones to live in Nigeria today. The research looked at the genesis of the crisis, the threats it poses to human and national security and the policies that have been adopted by the Nigerian state to curtail and control the crisis. A total of 200 questionnaires were distributed among the respondents identified for the study within the FCT. The study shows that the genesis of the terrorism, kidnapping and hostage taking going on in the Niger Delta region was caused by poverty, unemployment and long years of economic deprivation. Also respondent believe the government has the political will and ability to resolve the issue and that the establishment of the NDDC, Niger Delta development Master Plan and the Amnesty programme offered the militant will help tackle the insecurity in the Niger Delta. Respondents are also of the opinion that JTF has performed very well in tackling the terrorism going on there. We then concluded that government should continue to pursue the development and reclamation of degraded land in the Niger Delta region due to oil exploration and address the grievances of the region.
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the study
Nigeria is a state under perpetual internal security threat from various ethno-religious militias or political insurgents. At a more general level the threat has social, economic, political and environmental dimensions. Each of these dimensions, singly and conjointly, greatly affects the nation’s stability and well-being. Threats to human and national security ranges from the menace of separatist demands, illegal militia armies, ethnic and religious conflicts, terrorism, armed robbery, corruption and poverty to sabotage of public properties, economic sabotage and environmental degradation. (Praeger; Newyork, 1990.)
While it is conceded that oil has generated massive revenue for the country, it must be noted that, the negative effects from the exploration and production of oil and gas from the region, have continued to affect the people adversely .The deleterious impact has resulted in an extensive pollution, ecological fragmentation and alteration, as well as socio-economic and political marginalization. So much has been written on the environmental crisis in the region that it should not delay us here.( Praeger; Newyork, 1990.)
Suffice it to say that, what the people of this region get by way of compensation from the federal Government does not seem to correlate with the stupendous revenue that is garnered from it. Revenue from this region has fueled socio-economic and political transformation of other geopolitical zones in Nigeria. Expectedly, in time perspective, the people of this region realized that to remain mute in the face of such huge ecological destruction was unwise. It would appear that it is the realization of the need to protect themselves from activities of oil firms and, a government so keen on extracting surplus from their region without considering their interest that series of anti-oil protests have occurred in the region which has resulted to taking arms against the federal government and the multinational oil firms. Thus, this study is necessitated by need to situate the protest in the region in historical perspective. In doing this, an analysis of the causes of the protests is undertaken. In line with this, what appears to be Federal Government's response to these protests are highlighted and discussed.
Among these, ethno-religious fighting and violent attacks in the oil-rich Niger Delta forms the major security dilemma. The predominant threats and security challenges in the area are emanating from un-abating attacks on oil installations, arm proliferation, sea piracy, youth restiveness, bunkering, kidnap and hostage taking In the last three decades, the Niger Delta region, the centre of Nigeria’s oil wealth has been the scene of protest, sometimes violent, against the repressive tendencies of the Nigerian state on the one hand and against the recklessness, exploitative and environmentally unfriendly activities of oil Multinationals on the other hand. Such violent agitations have claimed thousands
of lives, other thousands displaced and inestimable properties have been destroyed. In economic term, millions of dollars have been lost to youth restiveness, disruption of production, pipeline vandalization, hostage-taking, assault and bombing of oil installations to mention a few. The use of terror strategies by the agitated groups to end the real and perceived injustices has attracted global attentions and a rethink on resource distribution policies of the Federal government. However, the persistence of the problem suggests the failure of such policies. This paper examines the menace of domestic terrorism, kidnapping and hostage-taking in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria and its security implications.
1.2 Statement of problem
The terrorism, kidnapping and hostage-taking witnessed in the Niger delta is an offspring of frustration and aggression due to repressive government policies, exploitative tendencies and insensitivity of the multinational oil companies operating in the region. The discovery of crude oil and gas brought joy and hope to the people of the Niger Deltans. This was because the people believed that the discovery would lead the region to sustainable development.
The Niger Deltans were confident that oil discovery in their region would mean access to basic amenities, such as potable water, steady electricity supply, functional healthcare facilities, good roads, good schools and employment opportunities. In their innocence, they believed that the Nigerian government and the multinational oil companies were interested in bringing development to their rural communities to fight against the negative consequences associated with the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas. After 50 year of operation, all of these dreams seem to be a nightmare.
Their demands are simple: “give us a fair share from the revenue accruing from our resources and care for our environment”. But a deaf hear was turned by both Government and the multinational operating companies and all they did was to pay lip services. These cumulated to the immediate past and present crisis in the Niger Delta Region and thus encouraged the emergence of armed groups and insurgents who terrorized the region for decades. Some armed group shifted the genuine fight for socio-economic justice for their communities to mere selfish desires through criminal activity such as piracy, kidnapping, hostage-taking and oil theft or bunkering.
These terrorist activities had grave implication for the economy stability and peace of the country. As fallout from the activities if the militants, the Federal government put the economic loss incurred by Nigeria while the Niger Delta crisis lasted at over N308.7 billion with a whopping N3 billion lost in 2008 alone to the conflict. This translates to the production loss of one million barrels of oil per day.
During this period, the nation’s exports were hampered as a result of the conflicts in which pipelines were vandalized and oil workers either kidnapped or maimed. The human impact during the crisis was unquantifiable given the magnitude of the criminality against human beings in the area.
Available record, he stated indicated that no fewer than 1000 lives were lost to the carnage in the region in addition to the spate of kidnappings during which local and expatriate workers were taken hostage including aged and young ones belonging to families of prominent individuals in the country.
It is against this backdrop that this study seeks to examine the situation and if possible proffer solution to prevent the re-occurrence of the crisis.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to diagnose the incidence of terrorism, kidnapping and hostage-taking activities of the Niger Delta Militants that is tearing at the economic heart of the nations. The study will be carried out with particular reference to the history, cause, effect and recommend probable options for effective government responses to curtail the violent sect. In order to achieve this objective, the study seeks to among other things:
1. Identify and discusses the major factors responsible for the violent activities of the militants in Niger Delta region
2. Discuss the effects of their activities on the socio-economic and political life of Nigeria
3. Examine the major actors involved in this terrorist activities and their mode of operations
4. Review efforts of government and by security agencies aimed at curtailing the activities of the Niger Delta Militants
5. Analyse the role of stakeholders by looking at levels of collaboration between them in tackling the menace of Niger Delta Militants.
6. Recommend effective options to the government and security agencies for addressing the issue
1.4 Research questions /Hypothesis
The following questions give a better insight into the problems that this research project attempts to resolve:
a) What is the genesis of Niger Delta Militants Terrorist activities?
b) Is Niger Delta Militants a terrorist group or freedom fighter?
c) Is the emergence of Niger Delta Militants due to poverty, unemployment and long years of economic deprivation?
d) What are the perceptions of Nigerians regarding the causes of Niger Delta Militants terrorist activities in Nigeria?
e) What are the effects of Niger Delta Militants activities on the socio-economic and political life of Nigeria?
f) What is the role of the government and security agencies in checking the menace?
g) Do the security agencies have adequate personnel and gadgets to track and prosecute Niger Delta Militants insurgent?
h) What is/are the socio-economic and political implications of Niger Delta Militants activities on the Nigerian economy, reputation and integrity to investors?
1.4.1 Hypothesis Formulation
The following hypotheses are to be tested in this research work as stated bellow:
H0: Niger Delta Militants did not emerge as a freedom fighter but as a terrorist group.
H1: Niger Delta Militants did emerge as a freedom fighter but as a terrorist group.
H0: The emergence of Niger Delta Militants activities in Nigeria is not due to the high level of poverty, unemployment and economic deprivation
H1: The emergence of Niger Delta Militants activities in Nigeria is due to the high level of poverty, unemployment and economic deprivation
H0: The establishment of NDDC, Niger Delta Development Master Plan and the Amnesty programme are the only ways to address the terrorism, kidnapping and hostage-taking going on in the Niger Delta region
H1: The establishment of NDDC, Niger Delta Development Master Plan and the Amnesty programme are the only ways to address the terrorism, kidnapping and hostage-taking going on in the Niger Delta region
1.5 Significance of the study
This research work represents a worthy and timely contribution to knowledge, information and developments in combating the Niger Delta Militants group in Nigeria particularly in the South-South part of the country. It focuses on history, causes, implication and suggests remedy. It also looks into the role of security agencies, policy makers, stakeholders and the enabling laws in tackling the violent activities, particularly the spate of killings, kidnappings, hostage taking, bunkering, bombings of oil facilities etc. It suggests a range of measures respective authorities, stakeholders (religious, community and political) and security agencies can adopt better to address the wanton destruction of life and properties which is due to grievances and repression by the government and the oil companies over the years.
The unchecked activities of Niger Delta Militants is took a great toll on Nigeria where investors in the oil and gas sector are divesting by leaving the country and new ones are not coming because of the level of insecurity in the Niger Delta region, that is fast eroding Nigeria’s investment potential, integrity and reputation among the comity of nations.
The research work would also be of benefit to students wishing to pursue and eventually take a career in understudying terrorism; kidnapping, hostage taking, detection, and prevention and security management.
This project work also provides an insight into which further research work on this topic could be successfully carried out by both students of Humanities and Social Sciences.
To the Nigerian public and security agencies, this work provides an assessment handbook on the problem: Terrorism, Kidnapping and Hostage-taking: A case study of Niger Delta.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the study
1.6.1 Scope of the study
The subject matter (Terrorism, Kidnapping and Hostage-taking: A case study of Niger Delta) is a wide area of study, and therefore the researcher has decided to work within a limited scope by focusing only on respondents within the Federal Capital Territory. Due to time constraint within which to submit this project work, coupled with other academic work, the researcher has to restrict himself to only few stakeholders in the terrorism, kidnapping, and security management and individuals within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. This study covers the period of 1997 to 2011 on activities of Niger Delta Militants in Nigeria and the resultant effect.
1.6.2 Limitations of the study
In the course of carrying out this research work so many constraints were encountered. One of such limitations was the difficulty in accessing the necessary documents for proper references, dearth of data on the victims of Niger Delta Militants violent activities to date, paucity of funds for logistics as well as retrieval of questionnaire from respondents. Information was largely gathered through various documents, questionnaire, interviews, internet, blogs and newspaper publications in the national library.
Also, one would not be right to rely wholly on the validity of the study conducted since some respondents tend to respond due to the level of their knowledge.
Economic hardship is a principal constraint of this project. Cost of research materials has increased astronomically with higher transportation cost and other miscellaneous expenses like photocopying etc., which became a serious problem.
1.7 Definition of Terms
IED: Improvised explosive device
VBIED: Vehicle Born Improvised explosive devices
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