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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid