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“. ”. Democracy under Fire in the Niger Delta. Anyakwee Nsirimovu Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow National Endowment for Democracy June 8, 2009

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Democracy under Fire in the Niger Delta

Anyakwee Nsirimovu

Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

National Endowment for Democracy

June 8, 2009

The views expressed in this presentation represent the analysis and opinions of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for Democracy or its staff.


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Introductory Remarks

“Year after year, we were clenched in tyrannical chains and led througha dark alley of perpetual political and social deprivation. Strangers in our own country! Inevitably, therefore, the day would come for us to fight for our long-denied right to self-determination.”

—Isaac Adaka Boro, The Twelve-Day Revolution


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Map of Nigeria

Map of the Nigeria Delta Region


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Introductory Remarks (cont’d)

  • “Competitive authoritarianism,” rather than quality democracy, has compounded social instability, enabled bad governance, & permitted the primitive accumulation of wealth.

  • Decades of neglect and frustrated expectations have resulted in unprecedented levels of violence, especially amongst the youth who feel that they have been condemned to a life without hope.

  • Conflict and a call to arms is seen as a strategy to escape deprivation.


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Introductory Remarks (cont’d)

  • The Niger Delta region is central to the survival of Nigeria. It is emblematic of all that is wrong, yet remains indicative of the hopes for a better country.

  • If we get the Niger Delta right, we get Nigeria right.


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People of the Niger Delta

  • Traditionally fishermen and farmers, the inhabitants of the Niger Delta are not a homogenous entity, but share common interests and problems.


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People of the Niger Delta

Source: National Population Census, 2006


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People of the Niger Delta(continued)

  • Various peoples were organized into distinct city-states at least four centuries before colonization

  • Five major ethno-linguistic groups: Ijaoid, Yaroboid, Edoid, Iboid, Delta Cross

  • Some of these groups extend beyond the Niger Delta


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People of the Niger Delta (cont'd)

Source: ERML Field Survey, 2005


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People of the Niger Delta (cont'd)

Source: National Bureau of Statistics, 2005


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People of the Niger Delta (cont'd)

Source: Federal Ministry of Health, National HIV and

Source: Federal Ministry of Health, National HIV/AIDS Sentinel Survey, 2003; Federal Ministry of Water Resources Survey, 2006.


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People of the Niger Delta (cont'd)

Source: Socio-economic Survey on Nigeria, 2006


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Nigeria: A Brief History

  • 1914: Nigeria is “created” by Britain

  • 1946: Constitution establishes regional legislatures

  • 1954: Federal Constitution introduced—Nigeria is split into 3 regions and those in Niger Delta become minorities in both Eastern and Western regions

  • 1957: London Conference

  • September 1957: Willink Commission

  • 1958: Recommendations of the Commission for Niger Delta

  • 1960: Nigeria is granted independence, ushering in an era of internal colonialism

  • 1966: Military coup topples government


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The Place of Oil

  • “The policy of squeezing maximum production from the Niger Delta is a deliberate policy carried out by a harsh and repressive regime” (Sagay 2001: 25).

  • Provisions that both enable and ensure this status quo:

    • Revenue Sharing Formula (1960)

    • The Pipelines Act (1965)

    • The Petroleum Decree (1969)

    • Decree No. 9 (1971)

    • The Land Use Act (1978)

    • The Associated Gas Re-Injection Decree (1985)

    • Successive amended constitutions, in particular, section 44(3) of 1999 Constitution


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The Place of Oil

Nigeria’s OPEC Quota (1999–2007) millions of barrels/day

OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin, 2007


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The Place of Oil (continued)

fsdfds

Total Oil Export Revenue in Billion US Dollars (1999–2007)

Crude Oil Production in Millions of Barrels per Day (1997–2007)

Source: OPEC Annual Stat. Survey, 2007

Source: OPEC Annual Stat. Survey, 2007


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The Impact of Oil

  • “Sustainable development mandates a holistic approach to development sensitive to the needs of human beings and the environment.” —Puvimanainghe (2000: 36)

  • “The human dimension of development is the only dimension of intrinsic worth.” —Jolly and Stewart (1986: 35–36)


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The Impact of Oil (cont'd)

Findings of Human Rights Watch Report (1999):

  • The evidence . . . suggests that companies benefit from non- enforcement of laws regulating the oil industry, in ways directly prejudicial to the resident population.

  • Oil companies benefit from federal laws that deprive local communities of rights in relation to the land they treat as theirs.

  • Grievances . . . center on the appropriation or unremunerated use of community or family resources, health problems or damage to fishing, hunting or cultivation attributed to oil spills or gas flares, and other operations leading to a loss of livelihood; as well as oil company failure to employ sufficient local people . . . or to generate benefits for local communities from the profits that they make.

Source: Human Rights Watch, The Price of Oil, 1999


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Protests and Demands

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters... Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” —Frederick Douglass


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Protests and Demands: Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People

  • 1990: Ken Saro-Wiwa founds Movement

  • Ogoni Bill of Rights:

    • demands political autonomy within the Nigerian Federation

    • observes that the ruthless policies of successive Nigerian governments pushed the Ogoni to near extinction

    • decries the forced disappearance of local languages, unacceptable environmental degradation, and lack of education, health services, and other social facilities

    • notes that in over 30 years of oil mining, Ogoniland provided the Nigerian government with revenues of $30 billion. In return, the Ogoni people have received nothing. . .


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Protests and Demands: The Kaiama Declaration

  • 1998: The Kaiama Declaration:

    • presents the universally accepted position of the Ijaw people

    • recognizes the negative role of British colonialism (the Ijaw nation was unjustly aggregated as part of the Nigerian state)

    • outlines in detail how the quality of life has deteriorated as a result of official neglect, suppression, and marginalization

    • exposes the link between oil companies and the Nigerian government—a union that causes untold destruction

    • underlines the root causes of the now ecologically devastated Ijawland and observes that those in government, and civilian collaborators, continue to amass untold amounts of wealth at the expense of local communities . . .


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Protests and Demands:The Ikwerre Rescue Charter (1998)

“Cognizant of the fact that our right to self-determination, resource ownership and control cannot be actualized without the abolition of all anti-people laws and policies, we demand the immediate abolition of the following laws: The Land Use Act of 1978, The Petroleum Act of 1969 . . . These objectionable laws are repressive and cannot guarantee our survival if they continue to exist...they deny us the use of our God-given resources . . .”


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Failed Development Frameworks

  • 1960–1966: Niger Delta Development Board

  • 1972–1994: Niger Delta River Basin Authority

  • 1982–1991: The so-called 1.5%Commission

  • 1992–1999: Oil and Minerals Producing Area Development Commission (OMPADEC)

  • 1998: Petro Trust Fund, Popoola Committee Review

  • 2000: Niger Delta Development Commission

  • 2008: Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs


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Governance: Federal, State, Local

  • 1999: Transition Election

  • 2003 : National Election

  • 2007: National Election

  • Political violence

  • Proliferation of arms

  • Recruitment of thugs

  • Oil bunkering as compensation

  • Impunity

  • Primitive Accumulation/Money laundering

  • Extreme poverty in the midst of abundance


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Multinational Oil Companies

  • Shell, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, Agip, Totalfina

  • Local inhabitants no stake in oil companies

  • Lack of corporate social responsibility

  • Voluntary principles

  • Environmental degradation

  • Massive corruption

  • Militarization and arms proliferation

  • Lack of employment opportunities for local communities


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Consequences

  • Armed groups have increasingly mobilized against oil companies, declaring an absolute “oil war.”


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Consequences (cont'd)

  • Mass protests, blockades, destruction of pipelines, and kidnapping of oil workers are common occurrences.

  • The region has become a breeding ground for arms trafficking, weapons proliferation, and criminal activity—this is especially so among youth.


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Sources of Small Arms

  • West Africa: 8–10 million

  • Nigeria: 2–3 million

  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

  • Europe

  • Ex-combatants and deserters

  • Poorly paid Peacekeeping troops

  • Police station raids

    The situation is exacerbated by porous borders, lax export controls, state complicity, and

    weak state institutions


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Consequences (cont'd)

Source: NNPC Annual Statistical Bulletin, 2007


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Consequences (cont'd)

Source: NNPC Annual Statistical Bulletin, 2007


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Recommendations: Government

  • Cessation of hostilities in Niger Delta

  • Immediate implementation of the Niger Delta Technical Committee Report and the Electoral Reform Report

  • Commitment to quality democracy and good governance

  • Effective funding for Niger Delta Ministry and the Niger Delta Development Commission

  • Independence of anti-corruption agency Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

  • Prosecution of former corrupt Niger Delta governors


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Recommendations: Government (continued)

  • Compliance of multinational oil companies

  • Rule of law and judicial integrity

  • Commitment to ECOWAS Mechanism on Small Arms

  • Investigation of allegations of complicity in oil bunkering by high-ranking politicians and the military

  • Prosecution of human rights violations by the military

  • Reform and reorientation of the Nigerian police


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Recommendations:Multinational Oil Companies

  • Shun corruption

  • Respect human rights

  • Establish links with local communities

  • Enforce corporate social responsibility

  • Adhere to Memorandum of Understanding

  • Implement Voluntary Principles

  • Respect the rule of law


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Recommendations: Civil Society

  • Eternal vigilance

  • Peace-building

  • Oversight and early warning

  • Capacity-building

  • Information sharing and advocacy

  • Coalition-building and networking


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Recommendations:International Community

  • Commitment to people-centered democracy

  • Condition all foreign aid on quality of democracy

  • Diplomatic pressure for dialogue

  • Increase support for bottom-up democracy-building

  • Re-think AFRICOM and military-training practices for oppressive governments

  • Encourage oil companies to observe minimum standards of civilization

  • Discourage corruption and money laundering


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Concluding Remarks

People first, oil second