News / Africa

Nigeria's Former Oil Rebels Frustrated at Stalled Niger Delta Peace

Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja (November 2009 file photo)
Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja (November 2009 file photo)
Gilbert da Costa

Nigeria's acting President Goodluck Jonathan and ex-militant leaders are to meet in the coming days amid threats of renewed violence in the oil-rich south.

Activists say the Nigerian government is not keeping the promises it made during an amnesty period last year and that the nation's southern region, which is home to Africa's biggest oil and gas industry, risks returning to violence.

More than 14,000 fighters accepted President Umaru Yar'Adua's unconditional pardon and disarmed.  But the government was overwhelmed, resulting in delays in processing them and paying benefits.  Now, disgruntled ex-militants are threatening to return to the creeks and resume attacks on the oil industry.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, a native of the Niger Delta, is planning a meeting with key militants soon.  But many in the delta region are calling for more action rather than talk.  Ignatius Onwuemeke is a lawyer based in the Niger Delta city of Warri.

"Federal government should de-emphasize the issue of talk, talk, talk. We discuss, we talk, but it is not enough," said Onwuemeke.  "Something practical should be done by way of being practical, being proactive. Let the things we have said before let them practicalize it."

Communities in the Niger Delta, a maze of creeks and rivers feeding into one of the world's biggest remaining areas of mangroves, are among Nigeria's poorest.

Experts say unless the real source of the problem is tackled, rebels will continue using the impoverished region as an excuse to continue their activities.  A youth leader in the Niger Delta, Akpomujaga Oghe, talks about the grievances in the delta, particularly the widespread demand for more local control of oil.

"People of the Niger Delta have suffered too long.  The youths of the Niger Delta want a change. We want true federalism.  We want economic independence and autonomy for our people. We want fiscal federalism, we want the resources that we produce to benefit us. We want NNPC [Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation] to relocate its headquarters and those of the oil companies to the creeks. Let development come in there. Jobs will come for our boys. That is exactly what we want," explained Oghe.

Violence in the Niger Delta has subsided after years of attacks that sharply reduced oil output, but the security situation remains fragile.

The economy of Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation of 140 million, is almost totally dependent on oil.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid