News / Africa

Nigeria’s Niger Delta Called Pacified

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

As the Nigerian military tries to quell the religious and ethnic violence in Jos in Plateau State, the situation in the Niger Delta is very different.  The oil-rich region known for its violence and kidnappings is now relatively peaceful.

VOA reporter Chinedu Offor is on assignment in Nigeria.  From Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, he says, “A dramatic improvement when it comes to security.  The Nigerian security forces say they have, in their words, pacified the Niger Delta.”

As a result, there are fewer military operations.  “Most of the militants have turned in their weapons and most of the commanders.  And (they’re) now working with the government on the amnesty program,” Offor says.

Son of the Delta

In addition to military operations and an amnesty program for militants, Offor says there is another key factor in bringing peace to the Niger Delta.

“The president of Nigeria at this moment, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, is from the Niger Delta.  And the militants and every other person in the Delta see that as an opportunity.  They want to extend the hand of cooperation to him.  They want to work with him.  He has promised he is going to bring several projects into the Niger Delta.”

Goodluck Jonathan
Goodluck Jonathan

The biggest perhaps is the proposed trans-Niger Delta highway, connecting the region to other parts of the country.

Offor says, “[President Jonathan has] also put a lot of resources in retraining militants who have turned in their arms.  He’s also promised to bring other development projects to the Niger Delta.”

Many dignitaries are visiting Port Harcourt Wednesday.  More than 30 governors, along with the country’s vice president and influential business people, are in the city.

“They are all here,” says Offor, “for the declaration for the re-election of the state governor, who is of the (ruling) PDP.  Prior to now, because of security problems, such a crowd would not converge in this city.”

Cleaning up the delta

For many years, the region has been plagued by oil and gas pollution.  Agricultural land has been destroyed, many rivers are too contaminated to fish and some communities have lost a clean source of drinking water.  The pollution has been a major cause of violence against oil companies and the government over the years.  But while the Delta is more peaceful now, the pollution remains.

“That’s a major issue,” says Offor, “but it’s one government authorities say they cannot handle on their own.  So they have an equivalent of the American agency that oversees oil spills and also issues concerning the environment.  But most of it is paid for by the oil companies.”

The government levies fines against oil and gas companies for spills and environmental damage.

“The government says it’s trying to do as much as it can to hold all the companies accountable and to have them put in place relevant operations to ensure that the spills are reduced to the…minimum,” says Offor.

But quick progress is not expected in the effort to reverse decades of environmental damage.

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