Lately, the new Niger Delta Militants (Niger Delta Avengers) have been making the news. First, they claimed responsibility for blowing up Chevron Oil Platform, and the pipelines transporting crude to Warri and Kaduna Refineries. According to the story carried by Point Blank News (an online news portal), the same group has issued 2 weeks ultimatum to oil companies operating at the Niger Delta to shut operations, evacuate their staffs or face bloody confrontation, if they failed to do so. The group also demanded a Sovereign State of Niger Delta.
Reading from the same Point Blank News portal, and trying to find out their reasons for the threats above. The author noted the followings points, (1) they mentioned Northern owners of some oil blocks. (2) That they want to free people of Niger Delta from environmental pollution, slavery, and oppression. (3) That they want a country that will turn the creeks of the Niger Delta to a tourism heaven. A country that will achieve its full potentials. A country that will make healthcare system accessible by everyone.
Now let’s critically look at their reasons for the renewed agitation. Agreed that people have rights to self determination, but it has to follow a legitimate process. If you don’t follow the due processes, then you might be running the risk of treasonable felony, which is what the Avengers are doing. The ownership of some oil blocks by Northerners. The best method to contest and challenge the ownership of these oil blocks, would be the law courts. Taking laws into your hands will surely result in stiff responses by the authorities. Few days ago, the Bayelsa State Governor was warning that he wouldn’t want a repeat of Odi Massacre. Ironically, the same Governor Dickson, along with some militants had issued a threat of breaking up etc shortly before the Presidential election in 2015. When two elephants fight, the grass will suffer. If the Niger Delta Avengers succeeds in causing trouble with the federal government, obviously the people of Niger Delta will pay greater price for it.
Their second point is to free Niger Delta from environmental pollution, slavery and oppression. You cannot claim to be fighting to free your region from environmental pollution, at the same time, you are blowing up oil installations and pipelines in your area. When you blow up pipeline lines, you pollute your environment. No one would buy this story. Sure that some of the indigenous people of Niger Delta would not buy into this argument. Who is oppressing the Niger Delta, when they produced the President of the country, who ruled for more than five years. President Goodluck Jonathan had many high ranking officials of his government, from this region. Under his regime, many militants became multi billionaires.
Their third reason. That they want a country, that will turn the creeks of the Niger Delta to a tourism heaven. These militants must be funny to give this as a reason. Simply put, militancy has completely damaged the tourism potentials of this region. This is self inflicted. Niger Delta and North East part of Nigeria are on world map as no go areas for tourists. All the point raised by the Niger Delta Avengers would not fly. Now let’s look at the other side of the coin.
There is the Niger Delta ministry, most of the states in Niger Delta area receives the highest allocations from the federation account monthly. There is also the Niger Delta Development Commission. The federal government has been paying the militants since the Yar, Adua government. The last government of Goodluck Jonathan, awarded major contracts to some militants, turning them into overnight billionaires. No right thinking indigene of the Niger Delta will associate his/herself with this group.