Voting, votes and honest election results are not enough to prevent elected officials from misbehaving or misgoverning once they get into office. Constitutional checks and balances are not usually sufficient enough to check and balance the activities of those in power abuses of power in the form of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance. Such abuses are hard to detect by the everyday citizens and those in government have no incentive to report them. Those who independently report such incidences quickly become “enemies of the state”. Therefore, other strong pressures and institutions are required to subject those in power to govern well, but they must emerge from the citizens themselves or a significant number of them. Nigeria is no exception. Continue reading
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
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
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.
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
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
Wole Soyinka is famed for winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986 based on his significant contributions to poetry and drama. Though his award was highly controversial and the Nobel Committee’s ‘choice’ felbious, Soyinka won the prize anyway, deservedly. He was the first African to win the prize. There are very few urban Nigerians that do not know who Wole Soyinka is; he is a living legend. 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.
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