Editor’s note: Since President Muhammadu Buhari took over power in 2015, Nigeria has seen a resurgence of Niger Delta militancy and this has led series of bombings of oil and gas pipelines in the region. Nigeria had assumed that with the granting of amnesty to the Movement fir the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, militancy had been grounded but Buhari’s emergence as president has seen a deadlier resurgence. Without mincing words, it is fair to conclude that the renewed agitation and vandalism is targeted at President Buhari’s administration.

The most notorious, Niger Delta Avengers has carried out systematic destruction of pipelines that indicates a well-coordinated, heavily-equipped and hugely financed group. Following the trail of the Avengers are other mushroom groups that have also issued threats and claimed responsibility for pipeline bombings too. Some of them include: Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, Adaka Boro Avengers, Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, Red Egbesu Water Lions, Niger Delta Vigilante and Oyobio-Oyobio.

It is significant to know that their demands to President Buhari are different although a call for the development of the Niger Delta region seems to be a collective demand of the groups. With each militant group having its own self-styled General issuing threats and trying to outdo the other in demand and vandalism, President Buhari has a lot of requests to attend to. However, some of the demands from the militants my not be provided by the president.

1. Independence or breaking away from Nigeria 

The Adaka Boro Avengers had earlier threatened that it would officially declare a Niger Delta Republic on August 1 but a day before it; the group cancelled its planned declaration and in its statement credited former president, Goodluck Jonathan for appealing to them not to go ahead with the secession. While this may be true to some extent, the move by the Nigerian military may be another factor. This is because heavy military presence was deployed to Bayelsa with the intention to repel any move that might be considered treasonable. While it may easy to blow up a pipeline in the dead of the night considering that most of these region had long networks of pipelines, it will be difficult to declare an independent republic as this will require physical presence and a need to carry-out administrative duties.

President Buhari might be struggling to deal with vandalism of oil and gas pipelines but a declaration of an independent state would pit the secessionists against the army and the president would not hesitate to exercise the superior weaponry in quelling what may be considered an insult. As he has reiterated, the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable .

2. Financial amnesty 

Granting MEND amnesty during the administration of the late president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and facilitated by then vice president, Jonathan has been a solution that can best be described as a future disaster. In retrospect, Nigeria must regret signing off millions of naira to able-bodied but jobless youths who have been exposed to free lavish lifestyles without doing an honest day’s work.

After militants laid down their arms during Yar’Adua’s administration, they did so because the government promised to pump their bank account with funds without contributing anything in return. While this was a way to stop the incessant attack on oil workers and bombing of pipelines, it created a bigger financial problem that President Buhari is likely not to repeat. The president has insisted that he is ready to explore various ways of ending the problem in the Niger Delta but the militants waiting for financial amnesty should think twice as Buhari may not thread this path of wasting fund on jobless youths as this continues to put the country at their mercy.
3. Resource control 

Niger Delta militants have called for a restructuring of the control of oil as the current 13 per cent the region was receiving from the federal government was not acceptable. Some militant groups have demanded that that since oil is generated from the region, it should also control it the same way other regions control their agriculture and other resources. While this is an issue that calls for debate, it is clear that it will take a long time before this will even be considered by President Muhammadu Buhari. First, oil being the main source of Nigeria’s export cannot be quickly and easily relinquished to the region as this will create a vacuum in Nigeria’s financial terrain.

READ ALSO: Don’t repair blown up facilities – Militants warn NPDC 

Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the vice president has reiterated that if corruption remains in Nigeria’s system, the same problems will still persists even if each region controls it natural resource. Perhaps if oil is discovered in the north, each region will be allowed to control it. Until then, militants should not expect Buhari to relinquish federal government’s control of oil to the Niger Delta.

4. Headquarters of oil companies 

Oyobio-Oyobio, a militants group recently gave a seven-day ultimatum to oil companies to move their headquaters to the Niger Delta region. They made this demand because they felt the people from the region have a lot to benefit if executive workers of oil companies operate from the Niger Delta.

MEND attacks Clark First, the decision to set-up or operate a company from a particular operation is not within President Buhari’s terrain. Secondly, if he wants these companies to move from Lagos and Abuja to the Niger Delta region, there must security guarantee but unfortunately, the region has had a history of kidnapping for ransom. While the establishment of companies would greatly help to develop the Niger Delta region, the demand is not one Buhari is likely to fulfil soon.

5. Resignation 

President Buhari has been blamed for what many considered his lopsided appointment of key persons in his cabinet and some militants have called for his resignation. This is probably the last thing Buhari will do as one would wonder if someone who contested for presidency four times will resign in his first term in office. To Buhari, the idea of resignation as a way of conceding to the demand of some militants is laughable and almost impossible.

The Avengers have finally agreed to a ceasefire and to dialogue with the federal government with Edwin Clark to lead the negotiation. While the terms for the negotiation has not been known yet, it is fair to assume that Buhari may not agree to any of the terms listed above

Read more


Vestibulum bibendum felis sit amet dolor auctor molestie. In dignissim eget nibh id dapibus. Fusce et suscipit orci. Aliquam sit amet urna lorem. Duis eu imperdiet nunc, non imperdiet libero.

Post A Comment: