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.