THE RISE IN INSURGENCY IN AFRICA
UNDERSTANDING INSURGENCY VIS-A-VIS TERRORISM AND CONFLICTS
Internal conflicts contain intrastate wars, where all violence is confined within the country’s borders. Such conflicts typically concern opposition groups fighting for territory or political rights. They stressed that, internal conflict can erupt within ethnic groups with opposing interests. Conflict is ‘‘internal’’ when it take account of the home-based government and internal resistant groups; conflict is ‘‘internationalized civil’’ when it consist of the home- based government, indigenous opposition groups, and other countries.
In dissimilarity, external conflict can exist between more than one country which can be labelled as interstate or ‘‘extra state’’ which occurs amongst a country and a non-state group from a foreign country. Because internal conflicts is used as a standby for internal terrorism for some agregate of jurisdiction, it will be added that there is conflicts wthin two conflict groups with or more battle-related losses. Terrorism is a approach that is explored for both internal and external wars – for example the Vietnam War that tangled the United States of America had a lot of terrorist attacks.
In petty civil wars, some violence may may take the shape of attacks from terrorists as a result of the uncertain means of an opposition group – e.g. Tamil Tiger suicide bombings in Sri Lanka.
The meaning of terrorism seems mixed up and less comprehended. Most meanings of terrorism have been concentrated on politically inspired violence and also within these definitions; domestic terrorism might be different from transnational terrorism (where criminals and targets have not the same nationalities).
Moreover, more naturally, the origins of terrorism differ extensively—nationalist struggle, ethnic strife, religious conflict, separatist struggle, political-governance dispute, economic difference, and anticolonial revolt. Any concern of and how social policy affects terrorism, therefore, must add up with this colossal variety of terrorism as a political occurrence. To sum, terrorism’s ends can differ – they can be a religious, leftist or right-wing terrorist organization – yet, all these acts are designed to influence the relationship between individuals in society and the state.
The meaning of terrorism is among the most disputed conceptions. For the purpose of this study, the relevance of this discussion is limited to the socio-economic perspective in which the concept is viewed. Therefore, it can be said that this study covers both religious forms of terrorism and all other forms of terrorist behaviour.
The discourse on terrorism has taken various dimensions among scholars. The term terrorism became a principal concern in philosophy and social sciences succeeding the early writings of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Auguste Comte, and other theorists who analytically delve into the discursive setting of Enlightenment epoch, and the qualitative effects of the 1789 French revolution in the European society. Academic views on terrorism vary extensively. They are impacted by disciplinary interests like cultural anthropology, religion, societal psychology, history, political science, geography, demography, weapons technology, communications, electronics, and forensics.
The term ‘terrorism’ primarily suggests political violence or insurgency. It is debated that there is an unassertive arrangement in the collected works describing terrorism as a method of political tussle even though, at present, there exist no unanimity. Terrorists execute people or destroy property for political purposes.
Instrumental descriptions of terrorism put forward that the action of terrorism is a thoughtful choice by a political actor. According to this approach the terrorist organization acts to achieve political ends. Different acts of terrorism are explained as responses to external provocations, in which government policies serves as an instance.
In the instrumental method, violence is presumed to be on purpose for a terrorist organization. This methodology, accordingly, recommends that violence is however never the ends as proposed by some different methodologies such as the psychological speculations. Terrorism is a tool for these individuals to achieve political goals. So governments and different individuals are seen as opponents whose moves are made deliberately, and a terrorist organization plans to amendment other players’ decisions, activities, and approaches by utilizing power. As known in the `broad-spectrum clarification, terrorism is an insightful activity expected to enhance government strategies; it is not a kind of commonplace fighting in which gatherings attempt to decimate one another militarily.
Terrorism can be so-called a kind of weapons system. It is a thoughtful usage of violence and intimidation of violence to bring to mind a state of fright (or panic) to a specific target or innocent individuals. It describes violence or other harmful acts. Terrorists execute people or destroy property for political purposes.
A different significant description of terrorism is the one explained by Michael Burleigh when saying that in this day and age ‘terrorism is a tactic primarily used by non-state actors, who can be an a-cephalous entity as well as a hierarchical organization, to create a psychological climate of fear in order to compensate for the legitimate power they do not possess.’ ”Any action springs terrorism if it is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians and non-combatants, with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a Government or an international organization to do or abstain from any act.” In other words, it can be further expressed that terrorists attempt to maintain a strategic distance from the law based procedure by getting what they want under forceful franchises via the burdens on people which may be expressed to the government for cessation in the violence. In the above definition of terrorism, it can be seen that State supports and financially helps the terrorists in various ways. Terrorists use numerous kinds of attack: for example, kidnappings, skyjackings, assassinations, bombings, and so on, this set of method is preferred with preference to have gains no matter the risk involved.
Terrorist events are usually subdivided into two diversities: domestic and transnational terrorism. Domestic terrorism means, according to US, activities with the following three characteristics: involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law; appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. Domestic terrorism also involves violence against the civilian population or infrastructure of a nation—often but not always by citizens of that nation and often with the intent to intimidate, coerce, or influence national policy. It is home-grown with most consequences for the host country, its institutions, citizens, property, and policies and in a domestic terrorist incident, the victim and perpetrators are from the host country. It becomes transnational terrorism when terroristic acts are moved across border in which the victims, actors and the aftermath effect of their activities are characteristic signs to comfirm this nature of terrorism. In addition, transnational terrorism could start in a State and end in another State where nearby or farther.
From the psychological perspective, terrorism whether proficient or reasonable by terrorist themselves, is an tool employed to realise a specific result by utilizing brutality force or violence to one part of the general public with the essential objective of spreading fear to permeate into the bigger area of the community exempted of their terror to roll out improvement in the corporation. Terrorism is perceived as a demonstration of physical fighting motivated by trepidation or frenzy, threats or force of viciousness on the people or the overall population by way of the perspective of persuading an administration, an organization or association or people to behave in ways, normally might not have been performed, to make sure security of lives and assets or fairness and impartiality.
As a form of unconventional war, terrorism is at times used when attempting to force socio-political alteration by convincing a government or population to agree to demands to avoid future harm or fear of injury, weakening of current government, motivating a dissatisfied population to join a rebellion, intensifying a conflict in the hope of displeasing the status quo, expressing an injustice, or drawing attention to a course.
In the words of Chomsky, terrorism is the use of coercive means aimed at populations in an effort to achieve political, religious, or other aims. It is also seen as an asymmetrical deployment of threats and violence against enemies using means that fall outside the forms of political struggle routinely operating within some current regime At the Arab Convention, Terrorism was defined as “Any act or threat of violence, whatever its reasons or purposes, that take place in the advancement of an individual or collective criminal motivation and seeks to create panic among individuals, bringing about trepidation by harming them, or engaging their lives, freedom or security at risk, causing damage to the natural environment, the public or private installations, property, occupying, seizing them, or trying to jeopardize national resources.
The European definition of terrorism is in this regard the most appropriate and describes terrorist acts as intentional acts, which given their context or nature, may extremely cause damage where the deed is done with the intention of: nerve-wracking a populace; forcing or crippling a regimes or international bodies to carry out or give up from accomplishment in any form; knocking off balance or putting to an end the essential economic, social, political, or constitutional structure of an international body or a State.
The most substantial cradle of insecurity in Nigeria in the present day is terrorism that has a link to religious extremism and prejudice predominantly in Islam controlled states of Nigeria. Terrorism is a worldwide phenomenon, and it is devastating the entire world. It aims at the very destruction of human rights, democracy and the rule of law and has a direct impact on the enjoyment of a number of human rights, in particular the rights to life, liberty and physical integrity. It consist of the planned attacks on innocent civilian populace, police force, military troops and other security agencies joined with colossal damage of government structures and civil belongings like the oil installations, police quarters, prisons, holy places, malls et cetera.
It is described as the premeditated use or threat to use violence by individuals or subnational groups to obtain political or social objective through the intimidation of a large audience beyond that of the immediate victims.
The United Nations International Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism 1999 refers to terrorism as any act planned to cause death or serious bodily injury to a citizen, or to anybody not taking an active part in a situation of armed conflict, which given their context or nature, is to terrorize a populace, or to force an international organization or government to give up performing any act. It is the deliberate creation and manipulation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in the pursuit of political change. Terrorist attacks are expected to put on enough gravities on a government so that it bequests political concerns.
CIA at present uses the following as its functioning meaning for terrorism to be a premeditated, political motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents. When comparing this definition to others, it can be seen that the government is not exempted from this definition coupled with their organizations as well as non-governmental bodies and individuals. Hence, it incorporates insurgent actions, paramilitaries, and new sects which resulted to terrorism as a approach to realize their highly motivated political targets.
Terrorism is considered as any demonstration which is an infringement of the criminal laws of a state-owned party and which may jeopardize the life, physical uprightness or freedom, or cause extreme harm or death to any individual, any number or gathering of people or may bring about harm to community owned or private property, and the natural environment.
The following elements below explains the content of what terrorism is consisting of:
1. Intimidation: placing fear into, controling, pressurizing or motivating an adminstration, body, organisation, the general populace or portion of the masses to perform or avoid performing any protest or change or give up a particular point of view or act as indicated by or against specific guidelines;
2. Disruption: of any public administration or the passage of an important service or making of a public conflict;
3. Formation of general insurgency in a state: to bring up feelings of insecurity among the people or some group of people or to prompt, or spread feelings of terror.
While taking into considerations of the particular nature of the African continent, it has been argued that domestic war and actions by governments against their citizens may be viewed as types of terrorism.
The conflict for this thought is that when a group ends up to fierceness against a State or subdivision of society it is seen as terrorism, however when a government or security authority use the same (and much more abominable) systems, this is done for the sake of wellbeing – or rather government’s security. He further expressed in respect to the above elements, in any case, that State terrorism ought not to be disregarded in the more extensive level debate on terrorism, in spite of the fact that this is frequently the case. In this manner, activities by the state and its agent that satisfy the above criteria must be treated as acts of terrorism. It is expressed that terrorism one main priority in mind which is to strengthen the government’s control by the complete intimidation of the entire populace. In regards to this, the activities of some governments are to be declared as suspect.
3.2. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF INSURGENCY IN NIGERIA
Nigeria, officially, The Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic consisting of 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The nation is located on the coast of West Africa, bordered by the Bight of Benin and the Gulf of Guinea in south and it is bordered by Benin, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, it shares maritime borders with Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, and São Tomé and Príncipe.
It is practically comparable in size to Venezuela and is about twice the size of California. With Niger State, one thousand four hundred and ninety-seven (1497) kilometers is shared between them, eighty-seven (87) kilometers with, seven hundred and seventy-three (773) kilometers with Benin, one thousand six hundred and ninety (1690) kilometers with Cameroon and a seaside of no less than eight hundred and fifty three kilometers. The existing numerous number of States, of which there were only three at independence, reflect the country’s tumultuous history and the difficulties of managing such a heterogeneous national entity at all levels of government. The states are aggregated into six geopolitical zones: North West, North East, North Central, South-East, South-South, and South West.
The population in Nigeria grew from 1990 to 2008 by 57 million, a 60% growth rate. From reports statistically, it is the most populated African country in the world. The projection set by the United Nations gave an estimation of about one hundred and fifty five million in 2009. The National census results in the past few decades have been uncertain. On December 2006, the census’ outcomes were announced with a total of 140,003,542 population. The main analysis accessible was by sexual orientation: the male gender numbered 71,709,859, and female gender numbered 68,293,08.
From the report documented by the United Nations, Nigeria has witnessed a rise in population rate which reflects a very high rate of growth and fertility in the world. By their projections, Nigeria is one of the eight countries expected to account communally for half of the world’s total population increase from 2005–2050. The United Nations has projected that by 2100, the Nigerian population would be between five hundred and five (505) million and one point zero three (1.03) billion people, middle estimate: seven hundred and thirty (730) million. Whereas, in 1950, the country had only thirty-three (33) million people.
One out of each four African is a Nigerian Citizen. At present, Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world. 2006 estimations show that forty-two point three (42.3) percent of the population is between zero to fourteen (0- 14) years of age, while fifty-four point six (54.6) percent is between fifteen to sixty-five (15–65) years old, the birth rate is meaningfully higher than the death rate, at forty point four (40.4) and sixteen point nine (16.9) per one thousa nd (1000) people respectively.
Nigeria is a mixed country with different religious groups which are categorized into three major groups namely Christianity which are more present in the Southern region; Islam, more densely populated in the Northern region of the Country; and Traditional worshipers are sparingly dispersed all around the country. There are over 500 ethnic groups in Nigeria; the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba in which the six geopolitical separates them into the cardinals.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria got independent from the British Colonial Masters on the 1st of October, 1960. The federal government became a sovereign State with no external influence on areas that has to do with its territorial defense, international relations, commercial and economic policy. Due to the parliamentray system operated, the Queen of England was the Head of Government while the president of Nigeria assumed the position of head of state. Its legislative arm was a bicameral system with two chambers namely the House of Senate and Chamber of Representatives. The executive arm of government had a Prime Minister and its cabinet which are selected from the party with majority members at the floor of the house by convention. The Federal Supreme Court which was the high court of law was the main Judicial authority. The political parteies united the country with more of national interest.
The contemporary history of Nigeria-as a sovereign state incorporating ethnic groups ranging from 250 to 400 in number with diverse societies, ways and means of political connections. This can be dated back to the end of the British invasion in 1903 and the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Nigeria into the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914.
The British Colonial representatives inoculated a structure of government at the time of independence in 1960. In 1963, a federal system of government was introduced to create tiers of power constitutionally and structure a-two-level of government that are independent and dichotomous in their own areas of influence. Federalism that undermines the sovereignty of its component will cause conflict, a peril to national peace and unity, and critical breakup. In addition, it is important to note here that Nigerian nation is fragmented in the sense that it reflects the high impact of the three predominant ethnic groups, Igbo (East), Yoruba (West), and Hausa (North).
The most intense experience, was the crude oil discovery and its exploitation which has a long haul impact on the economic growth of the country, The expedition for crude oil, started in 1908 and bring forth a signifcant discovery a couple of years later. It was brought back by Shell and British Petroleum in 1937. The crude oil extraction got to an optimal point in 1946; however, the first business disclosure was unknown until 1956, at a place known as Olobiri which is located in the Niger Delta region. Export started fuly in 1958 which was refined in the factory at Port Harcourt. Funds acquired from proceed on Oil was still insignificant. However, the projections for continuous monetary development seemed optimistic and additional complemented the political competitions on the day before independence.
Palm products, cocoa, cassava, peanuts and some other cash crops were known to be the major export of Nigeria before the discovery of oil which later relegated and took the attention of the government. In the 1970s, Nigerian was ranked the 7th oil producing Nation among the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The oil boom in 1971 completely changed the revenue channel of the nation. Agriculture suffered neglect from this bringing about unemployement and inflation. Unfortunately, the world consumption of oil went down in 1975, and affected the production of oil, it took the intervention of OPEC so as to keep oil back to its remarkable price which had a ripple effect on the Nigerian economy as well and completely strengthened the policies of OPEC.
The oil-rich Nigerian economy, for a long time, has been characterized by bribery and corruption, inflation, and unfortunate management of macroeconomy, is experiencing considerable economic change during the democratic era. The agricultural sector, precisely the small scale and large scale farming did not meet up with the rise in population rate of the country which later turned Nigeria to a country that imports food.
During the economy distress that Nigeria suffered, IMF came into rescue by granting Nigeria a debt relieve and 1 billion dollars fund to support institutions of the country and some structural polices to keep the country back to a buoyant financial state.
Militant insurgencies in the oil region, terrorisms in the Northern region and ethnic and religious conflicts in some States have weakened and affected the economy of the country. The state of internal security are greatly unpredictable which can be traced to the failure of government agencies to cub violences and criminal activities that have led to loss of lives and properties. So many people, for example, the Northern part of Nigeria, have been displaced or killed, religious places, schools, and hospital facilities have been destroyed.
Before the colonial masters gave independence to Nigeria, it is believed that all the region were forcely joined together to form one nation. Nevertheless, it has been the cry and agitations of some groups that the system of government is not true federalism. Some group of Igbos triggered the Biafran war that occurred between the period of 1967 to 1970. This war has to do with the call for secession of the Igbo tribe from Nigeria. Thousands of lives were lost, billion of Naira was spent, and even nearly dwindled the unity of the country. The younger generation that witnessed this war have not erased the wailing of there older generations who died in this war. Of recent, crisis have began on this Biafran issue again. In addition, Kaduna, a Northern State has witnessed violence with the main purpose of usurping the incubent Emir which has resulted into a total death toll of more than a hundred (100) civilians. So many issues are cropping up everyday that is distracting the government of the day. In the shortest form, it can be said that violence has eaten deep to the existence of Nigeria before and since the inception of democracy as a system of government.
In the same way, soldiers from the Nigerian army moved into Odi, a community of perhaps 15,000 people, engaged in a brief exchange of fire with the young men alleged to be responsible for the deaths of the policemen, and proceeded to raze the town. This was majorly due to the killing of tewlve Nigerian police officers on duty in the community. February–May 2000 marked the death of more than one thousand (1000) people in a crisis that erupted from the enactment of Sharia law in Kaduna. In a retaliation attack waged against the Hausa people residing in Southeastern Nigeria, scores of innocent civilians were killed. September was another blood spilling month in the year 2001. Over two thousand (2000) people were brutally murdered in a religious-related crisis in the middle-belt of the country, Jos. Also, In October 2001, hundreds were killed, and thousands displaced in communal violence that spread across Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa States. On October 1, 2001 President Obasanjo announced the formation of a National Security Commission to address the issue of communal violence.
For local processing and income reasons, residents in the Niger-Delta region have been engaging in the draining of oil from pipelines. This has drawn the attention of the oil companies with cry for government intervention in cubbing this acts that has resulted to fire outbreaks and eventual loss of life. Incidence ranging from the death of more than a thousand lives on October 1998, to another incidence that occurred on July 2000 which claimed about two hundred and fifty (250) lives. Coupled with this data is the report of death toll of sixty people somewhere close to Lagos State. May 2006 was not exempted from the records of death experienced in this oil rich region. Record has it that around one hundred and fifty to two hundred (150-200) people feared death. Presently, the people of Niger Delta have been agitating for remedy to the enviromental pollution caused by the massive exploitation of oil and poverty inflicting them as a result of this.
As being indicated by World Bank, Nigeria is categorized as a diversified economy, developing marketplace and with its plenteous abundance in natural endowments, well-advanced economic, telecommunications, transportation and legal sectors, and forex trade coupled with its ranking as the second biggest in Africa, officially, has come to decline drastically in income status. As at 2012, on the GDP world ranking, Nigeria sits at the 30th. In the Sub-saharan part of Africa, remarkably, it has been known that Nigeria is placed first as the United States Trading Partner and exports about eleven percent of its oil to United States. It is rated as the 50th-largest fare market for US goods and the 14th-largest exporter of products to the US and also having United States as its biggest financial investor. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated 9%, 8.3% and 8% economic growth for 2008, 2009 and 2011 respectively.
Nigeria has been masked with crisis and violence right before it got its independence because of its vast number of competing ethnolinguistic groups. Tussle for control and political power over the oil-rich region of the country has caused aggrieved individuals and the State to engage in continuous campaigning for better condition and more national concern over this area suffering neglect of the government. For example, one of the areas which have attracted the attention of the international community is the Ogoni tribe which has been suffering from serious environmental impact rooting from crude oil exploration going on daily. Right from 2002, the nation has seen sectarian violence by Boko Haram, an Islamist movement that seeks to put an end to the secular system of government and establish Sharia law in the country. In 2010, over five hundred (500) people were killed by religious violence in Jos.
3.3. POOR SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AS FOUNDATION FOR INSURGENCY IN NIGERIA
Acts of terror have haunted Africa and Nigeria for years. After September 11, 2001, sectarian tensions were seen as heightened following the decision of twelve (12) northern Nigerian states to establish Sharia legal systems. He added that an estimated seven thousand (7,000) had reportedly perished in Muslim-Christian religious violence over the previous two years.
Early before now America’s “war on terrorism” focused on Afghanistan and Iraq, Africa was seen as a strategic staging area for terrorism, training center, and a favored place to target U.S. interests. Nevertheless, recent events today have necessitated U.S. war on terrorism to shift to Africa precisely Nigeria due to the Boko Harram insurgency.
The insurgency in Nigeria has been revolved around religious ideology, socio-political atmosphere and cultural existence of the nation. The root can be traced to the economic imbalance in all the regions of the country, unemployment and poverty. An average Nigeria have less access to education, proper means of living and means to survive. The existing problem of insurgency (as currently manifested in terrorism) to insecurity challenge is intimidating the the nation as a whole at every corner. Some external witnesses have related terrorism rocking Nigeria political clashes, unequal distributional of wealth, religious/tribal disbelief, bribery and corruption of representatives in government.
It is well documented that a range of socio-economic and political conditions in Africa have created or caused conflicts that have been a channel to express violence and pass message to the immediate suroundings and the world at large.
The following has been enumerated as root causes of terrorism among others:
Lack of rule of law;
Failed or weak states that provide havens for terrorists;
Others include unemployment, absolute poverty, underemployment, rise of indigenous neo-elites, executive lawlessness, marginalization, relative deprivation, oppression, neo-imperialist class, do or die politics and government insincerity and insensitivity
It is very rare to see an administration without poverty alleviation agendum with the aim of boosting the socio-economic state of the country. The problem of poverty as regards the development of a country economically, socially and politically is especially troubling given endeavors and attempts to alleviate it in the time past with no equivalent yields or result regarding improved livelihood or standard of living of people. The failure of the government to address the socio-economic needs of its peoplee effectively leads to difficulties in all spheres of the nation.
Lately, Nigeria has been enmeshed in a firebox of insecurity leading to scores of deaths of innocent civilians, foreigners, some members of the nation’s security personnel, elected officials and many government workers. It is said that the Niger Delta militancy insurgency came up as a result of the pitiable state of the region, upon the fact that they have oil wells bountifully in this area. In fact, most of the internally generated revenue of the Nigeria is got from this area. This exploitation sprang up the conflict. Bribery and corruption have masked and crippled development of this area and Nigeria as a country. The Niger-Delta region which normally use agriculture as a means of survival are now having grossly everywhere polluted due to oil drilling. There rains have turned acidic with all aquatic life at decreasing state due to the heavy environmental pollution they are suffering from.
Thus, insurgency triggered by tribes and politics has continuously ravaged the Niger-Delta region till date. There was extra-judicial killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa and nine Ogoni leaders by the Abacha regime. This extra-judicial killing of Ogoni leaders by the Abacha regime was condemned both by the country and by the international community. Nigeria was even sanctioned by the international community as a result of this. Observed, the inability or failure of the government, particularly during the military era, to address the root causes of the agitation (environmental problems, poverty, unemployment, lack of basic amenities, etc.), in the Niger Delta region, resulted in the spawning of ethnic militias of Niger Delta origin which brought about the militarization of nearly the entire region. This became the foundation for the wave of insecurity that be leaguered the whole area. Although in order to ameliorate the environmental degradation and the absolute poverty in place, the federal government put up some bodies to drench the conflict in the area such as the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC), Niger Delta Development Comission (NDDC), and Niger Delta Ministry (NDM) among others.
Unfortunately, instead of oil to turn Nigeria to the most economically vibrant country in the world with high level of prospect in every nook and cranny of the country, it has brought a bad omen for the Niger-Delta region and doom to the country as a whole. Efforts of the activist in this region to voice their pains and fight for their rights have turned into social vices with blood spills, abduction, and all sorts of criminal activities.
In summary, since 2006, Nigeria has been battling with militant insurgency. This can be ascribed to a number of factors which includes:
• Poverty and Unemployment
The encounter that poverty poses for sustainable socio-economic development is especially troubling given endeavors flung towards this issue in the previous years with no equivalent reoccurrence regarding an improved well being of the populace. It is rare to see any government in power with little or no agenda to tackle poverty and its alleviation which will always improve the socio-economic state of the country. On the other hand, the menace is hardly tackled by any government thus rather than reduce the ill-informed policies exacerbate the spread of poverty.
Effects of the disturbing pace of poverty seems to be all-encompassing. Irrespective of the point of viewing the unraveling situations in Africa, they signify grave threat to socio-economic improvement; and means of livelihood of high percentage of Africans that live under the poor standard of living. Sequels to the high poverty rate, most people embrace social vices with taking up of arms to express their aggression. It was further stated the public confidence bestowed on political systems have been reduced since no good amount of effort have been felt by people in relations to recovery from abject poverty they are. The aftermath of this is the turning of some regions in Africa to a base of violence and insecuriity.
One of the cases in point is the Niger Delta region, presumed to be one of the most richly endowed Delta’s in the world, which contributes around 80% of Nigeria’s national wealth. After a long time of political and economic marginalization, environmental degradation, poor administration and policy irregularity by the government, the divide and rule policy of the oil companies prompted the emergence of militancy in the Niger Delta in mid 2006.
Huge income has been realized from the exportation of oil, but yet the territory has been exposed to extreme land deprivation, financial disruption, expanding poverty, wretchedness, military occupation and bloody brutality. The oil rich regions have been remained reliant and neglected, insistently abandoned, socio-culturally relegated and expressively isolated. It has been accounted that regardless of more than forty years of manufacturing oil in the country and heavy amount of money realised from oil, the occupants of the oil-rich region, particularly the riverine, stay in extreme poverty. Most inhabitants of this region live without the normal requirement for livelihood which includes access to electricity and clean water supply.
There had persistent protest and demand for attention regarding development, employment, social amenities, and so on in the Niger Delta. Youth unemployment, poverty, and other related social maladies are discovered to be prevalent in the Niger Delta region, and, therefore, have heightened restiveness. The conflict in the oil-rich region rose in the beginning of 1990s as a result of to friction between International Oil Companies (IOCs) and a few delegates of the South-South ethnicities that sensed they were being marginalised without due pay from the IOCs.
• The Distribution of Resources from the Federation Account
The oil-rich region has been experiencing marginalization as a result of unequal disbursement of federal allocation to the regions. As Nigeria operates “Federalism” as a system of government, claims have shown that Nigeria does not operate a true one. Almost all States are not viable and they depend majorly on the allocation coming from the federation account. Some States such as Lagos State, Kaduna Stata, Rivers State are among the few States that do not rely on the Central government to sustain themselves. However, right before 1999, the Niger-Delta region have been suffering from reduction in the federal funds allocated to them. The report has it that in 1960, there was fifty percent (50%) allocation, in 1970, it went down to forty-five (45%), in 1982, it declined to twenty (20%) in 1982, and then in 1992 it was three (3%), It increased to thirteen (13%) due to vigorous activisms from stakeholders from the region.
In the Niger-Delta, rate of unemployment keeps increasingas as noted by scholars. The younger generation have been neglected with little or no access to eductaion and enabling environment for their future. Although companies like Chevron, Shell and other transnational companies are displaying some corporate social responsibilities, it has been more of lip service with the influential ones getting what service is rendered to the community. Very low percentage of Niger-Delta people is found working in these organizations with more of men and few women; more or high percentage of workers in these oil companies are expatriate from Europe, United States and other western world. The Nigerian State is variously characterized as a synonym of the ‘power elite’, ‘the Nigerian National Bourgeoisie’, ‘Foreign Dependent Pseudo-Bourgeoisie with imperialism for the building of capitalism in Nigeria’, ‘the training of foreign and local businessmen and State officials’, ‘the Nigerian Bourgeoisie power and Petty Bourgeoisie and the various sections’, and the Nigerian capitalist class, which has developed from being a ‘regional bourgeoisie into a federal bourgeoisie’.
• Environmental Degradation
As stated by the World Bank, there are five great plagues of mankind: War, Famine, Pestilence, Environmental Pollution and Death. As a result of oil spillage from exploration and transportation, illegal flaring of gas, release of liquid and solid industrial waste into the environment have highly turned the delicate biosphere of the region into a state of comatose that is becoming irremediable. Unfortunately, little research have been funded to delve into the situation of this region in respect to studies about impact and solution to the happenings. Also, the media have been silenced to exposing the atrocities going on by the government. The environmental impact of the petroleum industry in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria include land deprivation, soil quality change, destruction of aquatic ecosystem and air pollution.
• The Policy of Divide and Rule
One element that has featured in the nature of the relationship between the Multi-nationals and host communities of oil producing areas is the policy of Divide and Rule. In time past, the giant oil companies in this region have been creating and sponsoring rifts among people to generate a discord. The corporate social responsibilities of these companies have been stylishly circumvented through the discord created. The mediators that are supposed to clamour for better welfarism of the inhabitants have been individually compensated by the companies leaving the poor masses at the peril of the illegal activities going on in the region.
As being what is indicated, in a few communities, customary rulers and nearby town leaders have become dishonest due to the fact that they are now beneficiaries of different deals and money disbursements to the disadvantage of the people they are meant to represent. Following this development, the dissatisfied ones mostly the youth form units of associations so as to confront the MOCs. In this way, the young people rose as group pioneers; these youths turned into the power facilitators, the connection with the Multinational Companies, and their financial objectives. Owing to the newest outcome of violence as a means to get what they want from the MNCs, a number of youth have formed groups labeled as militants have employed social vices such as abduction, pipeline busting, irregular attacks of oil companies’ facilities and so on.