We are back to the ruthless game again. Niger Delta Avengers say they are avenging for the people of Niger Delta. And the big question is, are they really fighting for a just cause or destroying their own land? Killing law enforcement agents and destroying oil pipelines is an act of sabotage and a premeditated, confused vengeance mission, further enmeshed in falsehood, criminality, and corruption.
As a background to this piece, in 1957, oil was discovered in Nigeria, Oloibiri precisely, after a series of survey and exploratory activities. It marked the dawn of blessings to Nigeria and the host community. Oloibiri became a hub for business activities courtesy of the discovery of crude oil in marketable quantity. Consequently, Niger Delta became a centre for business activities and infrastructure development sprang up sporadically thanks to oil investment and the robust market readily available for crude oil export. Having tasted the sweetness of what it means to be an oil producing area, the environmental implication of such geological activities was not considered paramount. Hence, oil spillage became a regular misnomer which engulfed the region without appropriate attention to clean up the degraded area.
With this in mind, the environment where the oil wells are located is quite vivid to discern how neglected those areas are. Nevertheless, in recent times, successive government tried to address this issue, but not conclusively. However, resorting to blowing up of oil pipelines and other installation is nothing but criminality and sabotage of Nigeria’s prosperity. Niger Delta people should realise that whatever implication arising from blowing up of costly installations, they are also partakers of such suffering and inconvenience.
It is sheer delusion for a group who claim to represent the interest of Niger Delta, all the same destroy oil facilities that ensure the economy of Nigeria is sustained. This unfortunate scenario is just to destroy the peace that was conscientiously achieved by the government of the late Umar Musa Yar’Adua for normality to return to the area. Now it has become business as usual, some criminal elements who does not realise the magnitude of their actions are bent on causing havoc to the economy of Nigeria. The persistent destruction of oil pipelines by the Niger Delta youths will further prone the area to serious environmental issues—environmental degradation will lead to more severe health implications making life unbearable for the people of Niger Delta.
Having seen that their son, Goodluck Jonathan, is no longer in the picture of government at the federal level, a sudden spark of displeasure for personal gains has come to bear, igniting violence in an area that is already impoverished and environmentally degraded. Noteworthy, however, the amnesty programmme was initiated to bring peace to the region and also to empower youths of the area in an all-encompassing gesture by the Federal Government. There were different militia groups that were accommodated for this purpose. Some went abroad to learn various skills, some were engaged to protect oil facilities, and some were remunerated monthly just to bring peace and development to the Niger Delta area. People like Ateke Tom, Boy loaf, Government Tompolo made billions as all was rosy during the reign of the late Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan. These fellows were like VIPs anywhere they go.
In a nutshell, Niger Delta youths were well pampered by the Federal Government just to ensure lasting peace and guaranteeing stable economic proceeds from crude oil. Unfortunately, it appears, the free flow of money is no longer in abundance, so the only means to get more money is to start violence again to get government attention. To Niger Delta Avengers, what wrong has the Federal Government done to Niger Delta people warranting the blowing up of oil installations from which the nation survives. This, obviously, is premeditated to bring hardship to Nigerians, of course, Niger Delta people are included.
How could the Federal Government be spending billions ensuring that the amnesty programme is sustained and some disgruntled elements are coming out to say that they are on a vengeance mission to repay the Federal Government back to her coins? So pathetic! The elders of this region are equally not helping matters to bring their sons in order. Despite what the Federal Government did to bring peace to the area, they are destroying their own land claiming justification for their actions. Avenging for what?
Chevron and other multinational oil companies may be forced to abandon their investments in Niger Delta if there is no improvement in their business environment. Destruction of oil installations by Niger Delta youths is not the solution to get the attention of the Federal Government, but channeling their displeasure through the right quarters solves such a problem. As it is, Niger Delta is not viable for any business investment. No investor would put hard earned capital in a place where security is not guaranteed, where the host community is hostile to the prosperity and survival of such an investment.
Niger Delta Avengers have only succeeded in creating investor apathy from their area. As a result of their barbaric actions, the whole country was plunged to energy crisis, making life difficult for everybody. The main aim of this group is to cripple Nigeria main source of income as well as causing an energy crisis that will also affect them. One would begin to question the idea behind the existence of this new militia group and what or who they represent compared to MEND — Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta, who were the main militia group during the heat of the Niger Delta crisis. Having another militia group to cause violence in the name of avenging for the people of Niger Delta is ill-advised. The idea of Niger Delta Avengers is just for self-aggrandizement.
But it should however be reflected in the minds of Niger Delta Avengers and their sponsors that, the world is moving away from oil and fossil fuel to cleaner energy sources. Black gold (crude oil) no longer pays as it used to pay. Besides, there are new discoveries of oil secreted in other areas of the country, so why the over-zealousness?
The amnesty programme was sufficient enough to rehabilitate and empower Niger Delta youths. It is, however, unfortunate that youths from this area have resorted to violence in spite of the billions expended by the Federal Government to cater for their empowerment. Niger Delta will remain impoverished and less developed if the constant attack on oil installations continues.
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Mr_Odunayo Bankole is a multimedia professional. His brand of journalism is both liberal and conservative. A broadcast major, he is very passionate about online journalism and digital media. Feedback—email@example.com