As much as many may try, it is not possible to make sense of the current political realities of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by any conditions that preceded the Civil War (1967-70). This is not a case for perceived discontinuity but exceeding and sudden transformation. Nigeria only became a full state after the beginning of the Civil War, considering her acquisition and use of state power via centralisation. This is because during and after the war, Nigeria ceased to be an intended ‘uniform federation’ and opted since the administration of General Yakubu Gowon to be a two-tier state; the federation and its colonies. Nigeria is truly an “auto-colonial state” today, a fact obscured for 50 years. Continue reading
It is unfortunate that the ethnic group that the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, belongs to is a “nation of habitual butchers”; the Cattle Fulani. This is the unequivocal belief of the nations within Nigeria victimised by Herdsmen violence. First, it was military men in uniform and now it is wandering Herdsmen; both have enjoyed peerless impunity. The university town of Abraka in Delta State, Nigeria has witnessed another incidence of menacing violence by Fulani Herdsmen against its residents this week, a repeat of what occurred in the same town last year. The people of Abraka (Urhobos) have experienced an atrocious mix of intimidation, violence, mayhem, murder, trauma and vandalism at the hands of Fulani Herdsmen in their very own indigenous land. Why are there no credible responses from the state to deal effectively with the crisis other than shoddy policing? Continue reading
When it comes to attacking and witch-hunting the defenceless, or the underestimated, President Muhammadu Buhari has a heart larger than Zuma Rock – his machismo is unlimited; when it comes to dealing with major players in the Nigerian economy Buhari’s timidity is fantastic. In his anti-corruption campaign, Buhari has focused purely on the refund of stolen and the freezing of economic activity, causing much suffering and hunger in the land. Still, he dare not go against the oil companies that have raped Nigeria for what it is worth for over half a century. It takes more than average testicular fortitude to deal with such concerns and losses.
The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) may not be a praiseworthy entity to many but their emergence and defiance have provided a thorough and incisive diagnosis of the dissembling cohesion of the nation-state called Nigeria. Nigeria has never been a thoroughgoing republic but simply a geographical “convenience” of British colonial exploitation (for palm oil) and a political “convenience” of Northern Nigerian auto-colonial hegemony (for crude oil). Race and tribe have played an exceeding big role in the creation of NDA. Enduringly placing the ‘straightjacket of inferiority’ firmly upon Niger Delta people/region who never asked for it by people who have extracted its wealth in obscene amounts without considering the indigenes will generate extreme reactions. Oppressive exploitation of oil in a highly fragile state does not work forever; President Muhammadu Buhari will learn this. Continue reading
While there is a clearly identifiable oil production and exploration (E & P) ‘cartel’ constituted of mostly multinational corporations (with local clients) in the upstream sector of the Nigerian petroleum resources industry, such does not exist in the downstream sector relating to the distribution of fuel products. What causes fuel scarcity is the result of the actions and reactions of a ‘cabal’ of government officials and their clients in the private sector; such corporate clients are erroneously perceived as cartel members. Continue reading
The Niger Delta has been exclusively the undisputed source of Nigeria’s vast but plundered national wealth for five decades. When President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in 2015, his first “tough actions” were exacted on the Niger Delta with the bombings of illegal refineries and bunkering assets. It was an utterly senseless strategy that created only more pollution and all promises by the President to “clean up” the Niger Delta have proven to be empty. Now that the price of oil has fallen dramatically and Nigeria is catching economic perplexity, it is as if the Niger Delta and its incidence of ecocide have vanished from the government’s list of priorities and even the collective consciousness of Nigeria, yes, the “One Nigeria“.
Slavery, groundnuts, palm oil, cocoa, rubber, timber, tin, columbite, uranium, Gum Arabic etc. all combined as exports could not earn Nigeria the kind of wealth petroleum and gas has earned in a very short time. When Nigeria was an agro-state, most of the agricultural cash crops Nigeria exported were also from the Niger Delta, particularly palm oil – the product that led to the creation of Nigeria (first as a protectorate) by Great Britain. In return, the Niger Delta (its lands and peoples) has become an ecocidal and genocidal hotspot where death, disease, pollution, poverty and state violence flourish at the expense of people.
When we say the ‘blood of Nnamdi Kanu’, there is no intention to link it to the ‘blood of Jesus’ for that will be blasphemy and an unnecessary if not foolish comparison. However, the blood of Nnamdi Kanu is becoming more important every day in the future and stability of the state of Nigeria; his obtusely directed detention has made him the stuff of an unlikely hero to millions. He who spills Kanu’s blood shall bring great misfortune to himself and the nation of Nigeria; sooner or later. Dismiss the young man, Kanu, but can you dismiss the concerns and support his cause celebre status has had on Igbo and non-Igbo Nigerians? Continue reading
The GON is getting very tough at the “tail end” of the oil sector by punishing retailers of petroleum fuel for “hoarding” like they have “weak oil bunkerers”. Meanwhile, the executive cabinet of GON is staffed by hoarders of billions of dollars’ (in cash and assets) of “oil wealth”. This is the latest showing of “no-nonsense anticorruption” at its most trifling in Nigeria. Yes, the landlord chasing rats in the living room while his house is fully on fire? This ‘catching the serpent by the tail’ solution is a dangerous staple approach adopted by the current GON. Continue reading
It has been a week now since the news of the explosion of an oil pipeline line in Warri occurred. The explosion happened just behind the 3 Battalion Army Barracks, Effurun- Warri, Delta State and spread to other areas in the locality with three separate thick-smoke producing fires burning for days and the firefighters are not winning. The rumour in town is that the pipeline was “burst open” by militants and is very strong. Once again militants take the blame without any rational or casual consideration of technical failures or negligence being the cause. And there is no talk of urgency concerning the victims of the disaster yet. Continue reading
To say that the Government of Nigeria (GON) handles issues of the military of nature with either weak short-term “quick fixes” or opportunities for “melees” is not mere criticism. It is a record of innumerable failures and blunders that should not have happened in the first place. Bombing oil bunkering assets in the Niger Delta is the latest short-term military quick fix adopted to deal with oil bunkering. What are the potential likely consequences of the GON continuing to bomb in the Niger Delta in the name of eradicating oil bunkering? Continue reading
The Government of Nigeria (GON) has sought to undertake a very unusual method of stopping or deterring “oil bunkering” in the Niger Delta; the use of military bombing for minor bunkering assets. This is a true example of the famed “fire brigade” approach associated with GON when seriously challenged with problems of technical, complex or elusive nature. It is easy for the GON to deploy Joint Task Force (JTF) and other heavy-handed security outfits to the Niger Delta with ‘genocidal consequences’ to “stabilise” the nation but it is surprisingly impossible them to make substantial and sustainable developments in the region or clean-up the heinous ‘ecocide’ manifested there endlessly. Continue reading
Crimes cannot be bombed out of existence as the Government of Nigeria seems to think and practice. When purely criminal or illegal activities are committed and perpetuated in a society during peace times and they have no military or genocidal implications, ‘policing’ is the proper line of action, at least in a democracy. Continue reading
Development in Nigeria is narrowly focused “brick, mortar and tarmac” constructions with imported technology gadgets thrown in, which is broadly appreciated by the masses and bragged about by the “developers”. Livelihoods, human development, life protection, life preservation and other aspects of developments in Nigeria are yet to kick-in as development objectives or indicators. Furthermore, the brick, mortar and tarmac constructions often have been elevated to mythical and unspoken dimensions as development achievements. Such thinking is a habitual turn of mind which has not evolved beyond pre-Independence expectations of development in developing nation ever-pregnant with hope.
It was recently announced in July 2015 that Brass in Bayelsa State, Nigeria has been designated as an “Oil and Gas Free Zone” by the federal government. It was shocking to find out at a popular Nigerian eatery on the Old Kent Road, London that some university educated and hardworking men (originally from various parts of the Niger delta) solemnly thought “Oil and Gas Free Zone” (OGFZ) meant that Brass will be free from all oil and gas exploitation i.e. become a protected green zone. Such a misunderstanding is not unusual since the “free” like “foreign aid” in the global economy mean the opposite of their customary meanings. Continue reading
It has been announced by the Buhari Administration that the heinous cumulative oil pollution in the Niger Delta will be cleaned-up; this is very good news. The clean-up was recommended by the 2011 UNEP report (i.e. four years ago). Why it took so long to get to this stage can be said to be as a result of a confluence of sheer misgovernance, inordinate oil wealth greed, political insensitivity and as you might have known already, it is corruption. So what is the predictable expected scenario of the clean-up in practice? Continue reading
For many years the Government of Nigeria seems to be managed by a class of “capability pole vaulters”. Government officials tend ‘pole vault’ the nation into many projects they lack the capability, will or wherewithal to execute or sustain effectively. The latest pole vault project is the establishment of nuclear reactors as power plants to provide conatsnt electricity in Nigeria. This is a nation that cannot independently manage its uncomplicated thermal and hydroelectric power plants with any efficacy or credibility. Continue reading
Our Lands Must Bleed No More is an activist’s plea and determination to end the cumulative and inimical genocide of people of the Niger Delta in the name of “oil extraction” and “national income”. Nnimmo Bassey’s essay is a worthy effort in the remembrance of the “Umuechem Massacre” of the Etche people in Rivers State, Nigeria on the 31st October 1990. Continue reading
The Ikoko r’Idjerhe has just completed an hour of silence and reflection on the unnecessary and horrific tragedy that happened on this day 16 years ago, better known as the “Jesse Fire Disaster” (JFD). The JFD and its victims and consequences shall never be forgotten.
May such tragedies never ever happen again, whatever it may take.
Peace to the Jesse Fire Disaster’s victims and survivors families and friends, the Jesse community, the Niger Delta communities and Nigeria.
One inexplicable phenomenon among Nigerians is their response to the news that Nigeria’s oil is facing a possible demise as a major export commodity. That would be “The End of Oil.” It is a distressing reality to grapple with for some in one category of the demography. Economists and political scientists who I hang out with regularly are cynical if not fearful of the implications for that state known as Nigeria. Such a disturbing reaction is probably the one to expect. We may ask, would the end of oil also mean the end of the oil curse?
The ontology of the African is an emergent creature of exploitation, historical and contemporary. It started with slavery and colonisation. The late Dr Abdul Rahim Tajudeen, former head of the Pan-African Movement, was a fierce opponent of do-gooding foreign aid and charity. To him, when the African adopts the attitudes of the non-African towards the exploitation of Africa and its peoples, it necessarily creates serious concern. What disturbed Dr Tajudeen most was the contemptuous and cynical “image of Africa” exploited by non-African NGOs to raise money in non-African societies. These images of Africa were also used by African governments to secure odious loans by way of “begging bowl politics.” One thing that disgusted him was the regular incidences of immunisation aid projects used as “human experiment labs” on African peoples. How about the fictitious characterisations of Africa with terms like “mineral curse” and “neo-patrimonial state”? Imagine “poverty tourism” which is on the rise today whereby non-Africans visit African slums to “enjoy the observable pleasures of the African in suffering”; sheer Schadenfreude! With such an ontology, should it be shocking if the is asked, “Are Africans also human beings?” Dr Tajudeen was justifiably angry.
The derisory ontology of the African has not gone unchallenged. At the forefront, intellectuals, civil society leaders, freedom fighters, artists, activists, missionaries and politicians of African descent have chosen innumerable paths and approaches to reverse or negate the derisory ontology of the African to produce a more if not thoroughly positive one. Students, synonymous with youth, appear to be the engaging group of Africans most willing, able, qualified and equipped to challenge the African ontology in the mainstream. How are these young students and scholars faring?
Looking at the African, Afro-Caribbean and African-American experience, the historic protesters against derisory African otology in its political, economic and social forms were mostly under-40s (or peaked before 40). These men and women embraced the dreadful state of the ontology of the African with hope, intelligence, intellectualism, faith, dynamism, courage, martyrdom, idealism and realism. They were all willing to pay the price for challenging White Supremacy, White Colonialism and White exploitation which was often violent and painful death.
The Niger Delta is a top “ecocide hotspot” on planet Earth. Minor and massive oil spillages are frequent and ubiquitous in the Niger Delta, causing untold pollution and ecocide with highly devastating impacts on the lives and livelihoods of the people who reside in the region. There is evidence of a sleek everywhere; on the water (the Niger Delta is a landmass of the riverine terrain boarded by a coastline with the Atlantic Ocean). It is on the land (in the villages, in the towns, on farms, in houses, in schools, in churches). And it is in the air. Animal and plant life in the ecosystem has suffered a terrible terminal fate. However, this is an endless perennial story, usually more of the same.
To Cook a Continent: Destructive Extraction and Climate Crisis in Africa is yet another book about Africa’s exploitation but with a significant difference from all others. The author presents the challenge “what can be done now to end destructive exploitation in Africa?”. This is a far more superior and immediate question than “what can we do for Africa?” in which tomorrow never comes; every day, every year, every decade is always now. Continue reading
It is interesting to know that the Niger Delta is listed third out of ten hotspots of ecocide in Polly Higgins’ Eradicating Ecocide. I have written a review of the book on this blog for two reasons: its project represents the amalgamation of my three main research interests namely, corruption, institutions and green economics, and it is a very interesting visionary book. The fact that the region has been classified as an ecocide hotspot saves me the need to describe the monstrous environmental and human degradation going on there in the name of Nigeria being a “middle-income nation” and doubling as an “improving nation” within the provisions and expectations of “transparently globalised profit-seeking”. Transparency for what it is worth washes its hands of a lot of things and especially ecocide. Continue reading
Ever since ex-President Obosanjo threw the gauntlet to Nigerians in general in to prove the acts of corruption of General Babangida (rtd) (Nwaobi 2004), it has become fashionable for specially interested Nigerians to ask for proof of obvious crimes and malfeasance carried out against the nation and its people by either privileged individuals or organisations with a sole purpose i.e. the presumed impossibility of individuals to provide the proof asked for. That is a very delusional precedent for Nigerians to uncritically follow since in reality there is abundant proof of Babangida’s acts of corruption. Continue reading