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Dialoguing and Youth Restiveness in the Niger Delta[1]


Felix Tuodolo

Ijaw Youth Council [IYC]


Recently, activities in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria took the world by storm. Increases in the international price of oil this year, first in January 2006 when it climbed to over $50 and again in March 2006; and in late April 2006 [as we are here] when it rose to over $70 has been partly attributed to the happenings in Nigeria. In 2004, the rise in the international price of oil between August 2004 and October 2004 was also attributed to the happenings in the Niger Delta. The same reason was given for price increases in 2003.

When prices of oil rise, the way it has done recently, oil producing countries and companies smile to the bank – more revenue! Nigeria had smiled to the bank several times. In the 1970s, following the rise in the price of oil and the bountiful revenue Nigeria made from it, Nigeria’s Head of State; General Yakubu Gowon had boasted that Nigeria’s problem was how to spend its huge oil wealth. Both former military rulers Generals Ibrahim Babaginda and Sani Abacha presided over periods of enormous wealth from increases in the international price of oil during the Gulf crises. Even the present General [or Chief] Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime benefited from oil price windfalls during the Iraqi war in 2002. This economic windfall continued even to 2005 as shown by a recent report on the oil industry for 2005, thus:

As a result of high cost of crude oil at the international market during the year, the nation raked in over 400 million dollars as extra revenue [Tide 03/01/2006]

But on the recent increases in price this year, the same government was quoted as saying:

We’ve lost something close to a billion dollars…that is the amount that all the stakeholders have lost. And for each passing day, we are losing a substantial amount,” said Daukoru [Thisday 20/03/2005]

That is, government is complaining that recent increases in the international price of oil did not benefit Nigeria. It is not only government that is complaining. The oil companies are also complaining – complaining of damage to their facilities, low morale of their work force, safety of their workers and mostly the financial losses being incurred daily. All five oil majors are affected: Shell wept, AGIP cried, ChevronTexaco shed tears, ExxoMobil sobbed, and Totalfinelf lamented.

But what are the recent happenings in the Niger Delta that is making both government and the oil companies to complain. It is what both government and the oil companies have termed as “Youth Restiveness,” which has taken a new dimension in the Niger Delta area where the oil companies operate.

What Is Happening?

Between December 2005 and March 2006, the oil industry in Nigeria recorded numerous casualties to its personnel and facilities. From Rivers State to Edo State, Delta state to Akwa – Ibom state, and in Bayelsa State, oil pipelines were blown up, flow stations were burnt or destroyed, oil company premises were attacked, and oil workers were kidnapped and taken hostage. In addition, the oil companies were threatened of impeding attack or more attacks. Shivers were sent down the pine of many – oil companies, government, and local communities who fear that government’s anger might fall them. Such fears are not unfounded: remember Odi, Odioma, Omuechem and most of Ogoniland!

Championing this campaign of “shivering the system” are relatively unknown youth groups foremost of which is the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta [MEND]. The others include The Martyrs Brigade and the Coalition for Militant Action in the Niger Delta [COMA]. These groups employed strategies unusual to the struggles of the Niger Delta people. I do not mean to state here that kidnapping of oil workers or damaging of oil facilities had not been taking place in the Niger Delta. The point here is that there is a clear distinction between the occurrences of the past and the present. Occurrences in the past were perpetuated for purely economic reasons and limited to communities, individuals and criminal cartels. The criminal cartels also include government officials as even members of the government’s Presidential Task Force on Pipeline Vandalisation have been arrested for vandalising oil pipelines [Vanguard 29/03/06]. On the other hand, the present activities do not have economic motives but altruistic - an “aluta”- when considered from the perspective of the demands made by the groups.   

Before the emergence of these groups, other youth groups have been championing the cause of the Niger Delta people at different levels and with differing approaches. There is the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force [NDPVF], the Ijaw Youth Council [IYC], Itsekiri National Youth Movement [INYM], Isoko Youth Movement [IYM], Coalition for the Liberation of Ikwerre People [COLIP], National Youth Council of Ogoni People [NYCOP], Ikwerre Youths Convention, Egi Peoples Coalition, Isoko Front, Movement for the Survival of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality (MOSIEN), Urhobo Economic Foundation, Oron National Forum, Egi Peoples Coalition, among others.

To fully understand the “Youth Restiveness” in the Niger Delta, if there is any, is also to understand the evolution of these youth groups. How is it that in a society comprising of respected traditional rulers, chiefs, elders, businessmen, professionals, literate icons, proven politicians, women and youths, it is the youths that are championing a struggle for a better society? 

Cause of “Youth Restiveness”

I will not bother you with some of the reasons that have been proffered by many learned men and what you can easily see in the news such as the fact that the central government had failed in its function of providing the basic necessities of life; and that the operations of the oil companies on the Niger Delta communities have manifested in wanton exploitation, economic deprivation, underdevelopment, environmental devastation, marginalisation, injustice, inequity, impoverishment, unemployment, loss of livelihood and extra-judicial killings.

I will also not bother you with the fact that oil activities have created ethnic tension in the Niger Delta, eroded traditional institutions and moral values, violated the culture and customs of the people, introduced arms proliferation, caused community power tussles, caused inter- and intra-communal conflicts, caused the collapse of local economies, increased the level of illiteracy despite all the scholarships, show-cased poor living and working conditions despite all the community development programmes, deskilled the labour force of the people, and increased criminality and lawlessness in the communities. Visit Nembe, Odioma, Joinkrama, Gbarantoru, Ikebiri, Okigbene, Olugbobiri, Okoroba, Okerenkoko, Egbema, Ojobo, Peretoru, Bomadi,  Kula, Umuechem, Erema, Gioko, Botem Tai, Bodo, Iyak, Ataba, Omelema, Bonny, Buguma, Okrika, Ibeno, QIT, Eket, Oron, Iyede, Igbide, Olomoro, Ughelli, Effurun, amongst many others and see living evidence. 

But I want to inform that a major cause of the “Youth Restiveness” in the Niger Delta is the failure of dialogue and its use as an instrument of deceit. That there are historical records of the people of the Niger Delta, mostly by the chiefs and elders, attempting to dialogue with the “Powers-that-be” in Nigeria, but the results of such dialogue have not yielded good fruits. And that the youths have come on stage because the “powers-that-be” have failed to listen to their respected chiefs and elders. In order to clarify this point, I shall illustrate with one of the ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta where most of the recent events have occurred – The Ijaws. I want to show the penchant for dialogue and its failure first with government and then with the oil companies.

The Ijaws in Dialogue

Historically, the infliction of socio-economic disaster on a people and the environment in the magnitude of that of the Niger Delta had never gone unchallenged either locally or internationally. Indeed, when a population feels that its livelihood is threatened, it feels insecure and reactions are not unexpected [Ibeanu 2000].

Yet the Ijaws, the majority ethnic group in the Niger Delta, had chosen the way of peace to express their displeasure. This is in accordance with the religious admonition of beating “their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” The contradiction with this, with respect to the Ijaws, is that when the swords are beaten into ploughshares, there will be no fertile farmlands to plough because of the prevalent environmental degradation visited on them by oil exploration activities in the area. Nor is there any meaningful trade to embark on as there will be nothing to trade with – no fish, no palm oil, no palm kernel, and no craftworks. The land is altogether desolate!

The people of the world should be grateful to the Ijaws for their display of selflessness, perseverance and endurance in the face of utmost provocation. The people had employed tactics acceptable to civilized society, of “…. living with a set of values, attitudes, modes of behaviour and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiations among individuals, groups and nations” [United Nation url].

Unfortunately, the ways of peace, which had brought joy and development to other peoples in the history of the world, appear to be different in the case of the Ijaws of and the Niger Delta people. And this is historical. The question I want us to ponder over is: How beneficial has dialogue been to the Ijaw people? I shall more draw from history on the different attempts at dialoguing involving the Ijaws and answer this question in three parts – pre-independence dialogues, post independence dialogues, lessons and the way forward.

Pre-Independence Dialogue

One of recorded attempts showing the willingness of the Ijaws to dialogue was that of King Jaja of the Ijaw kingdom of Opobo. As a result of the disruption to free trade in his domain, King Jaja had desired to discuss the treaties he signed with the British. On September 18, 1887, King Jaja was lured to a meeting with the British and was taken on board the British warship into exile in Accra and later the West Indies [Cookey 1996]. He never came back. The desire for dialogue caused him his throne, land and people. What treachery!

In 1895 the Nembe Ijaws revolted following the plundering, starvation and killing of their people, and economic stifling of the Nembe Ijaws by the British Royal Niger Company. This revolt came after several processes and years of futile dialogue and negotiations with the RNC and the Colonial British consulate officers at Brass. It was reported of the Nembe Ijaws that

They were driven by desperation to a war… In a letter written soon afterwards, they outlined the futile years of negotiation, and suffering… [Isichie 1983:363]

The response of the colonial government was overwhelming. The communities of Okpoama, Nembe [Ogbolomabiri] etc were shelled and invaded by gunboats of the Royal Navy where several persons lost their lives, and the King of Nembe went on exile [Flint 1960].

The Nigerian Constitutional Conference of 1957 at Lancaster House in London saw two Ijaws in attendance – Chief Dappa Biriye attended as a delegate, while Chief S.J. Amachree was one of the advisers. It was at this conference that a very strong case was made for the minorities of Nigeria, of their fears of domination by the majority tribes, and a demand for separate states for the different minorities. One of the results of the conference was the recommendation of commission to look into the fears of the minorities and allay same – the Willinks Commission.

At the Willinks Commission of 1958[2], which was set up to partly ascertain the fears of the minorities [including their demands for separate states] the Ijaws among other minorities displayed their penchant for dialogue, and the commission acknowledged this when it stated

We were impressed by the arguments indicating that the needs of those who live in the creeks and swamps of the Niger Delta are very different from those of the interior [Willinks Commission 1958]

The outcome of this dialogue was several recommendations such as declaring the Ijaw country a special area, and the establishment of a federal board for the specific development of the area. Only the board – Niger Delta Basin Development Authority [NDBDA] - was established and nothing more. Even the NDBDA was later starved of funds, while development boards were proliferated all over the country and funded.

Post Independence Dialogue

In 1992, Chief Harold Dappa-Biriye led a delegation of Rivers People and Chiefs to Rio de Janeiro for the 1st EARTH SUMMIT where a case was made for the Rivers people. [Bring in quote] The recommendations were never implemented in Nigeria as government paid deaf ears once more.

Between 1991 and 1998, the Ijaws via its umbrella body, the Ijaw National Congress [INC], made numerous attempts to dialogue with government and the oil companies on problems confronting the Ijaw people. All their attempts were frustrated as was expressed in one of their letters

Both the federal government and multinational oil companies shunned all our efforts at initiating dialogue as a means of putting to rest the twin phenomena of youth restiveness and communal crisis in the Niger Delta [INC 1999]

Perhaps, if the government had allowed for dialogue, the youths would have not taken the historical steps of the Kaiama Declaration.

The only time the Ijaws had a listening ear was during the sittings of the Justice Mbanefo Commission on state creation. The Ijaws made a case for a minimum of three homogenous Ijaw states. Only one state was granted – Bayelsa state – without a matching grant as was the case in the past. Unlike other states, the only Ijaw state comprised of only eight local government areas. Of course, even a child can adduce the reason for this – one of the criteria for revenue sharing from the federal government is based on the number of LGAs. Thus the continuous deprivation of the Ijaw people of their resources was not abated despite having a state of theirs.

When in 1998, the Ijaw people expressed their grievances and insisted on their right to self-determination and resource control as proclaimed in the Kaiama Declaration, they also expressed their desire and willingness for dialogue with the government on the issues raised. Several processes were put in place to achieve dialogue by the Ijaw youths. Letters were written to government and business, which were never replied.

When there was no response from government, the Ijaws started the processes of non-violent agitation known as “Operation Climate Change” – prayers, fasting, meetings, peaceful processions commonly called “ogele” that will culminate on the Multinationals stopping operations for 1 day as a sign of respite for the land and people of Ijaw nation – just one day of freedom from environmental pollution: from gas glaring, from oil spills, from noise, from deforestation etc. The government responded by militarising Ijaw communities from Yenagoa to Bomadi, and military invasion of Kaiama, Yenagoa and most Ijaw communities from Mbiama to Patani, where several persons were killed and properties wantonly destroyed by the invading soldiers.

Well, the Kaiama Declaration was proclaimed during a military regime - that of the reign of the military junta headed by General Abdusalami Abubakar.  The hope was that a civilian regime would be better inclined to dialogue. How wrong the Ijaws were. So, when President Obasanjo visited the Rivers state on 11 June 1999, the Ijaws presented their desire for dialogue in resolving the numerous problems confronting the Ijaw nation and the rest of the Niger Delta people thus:

We are committed in this regard to use the primary processes of NEGOTIATION and DIALOGUE. We see your coming as part of that process of reaching out as we march towards dialogue and negotiation. It is for this reason that we agreed to come and meet with you so that the process of negotiation with the Ijaw people can begin [IYC 1999]

And also warned “delay is dangerous.” Government turned down this request. The Ijaws have never shied away from attending conferences, constitutional or political, to express their positions. In fact, most conferences aimed at reforming the country explored the leadership qualities and capabilities of the Ijaw people. The 1986 Political Bureau, the 1999 Constitutional Conference and the recent National Political Reform Conference [NPRC] were headed by Dr Cookey, Justice Karibi Whyte and Justice Niki Tobi respectively – all Ijaws.

The Oil Companies and Dialogue

Like the government, the oil companies have towed the same line in approaching dialogue in the communities where they operate. Ijaw communities have approached them on dialoguing and negotiating community development programmes, reducing environment impacts and loss of livelihood. On several instances, the agitation of the people has been suppressed through the use of government security forces, publicity and litigation.

In 1998, Liama community confronted a Shell contracting community on issues of community development. Immediately, soldiers invaded the community and almost burnt down the entire community. In Ikebiri, when AGIP was confronted to dialogue with the community, government soldiers killed over seven persons in 1999. The same fate fell on Olugbobiri in 1998, 1999, and 2002. In 1999, the people of Twon-Brass protested to the AGIP oil company respect the MoU signed with the community. The company reacted by sending government forces after the protesting people, and three youths were killed. In Peretoru and Ojobo, government forces guarding SHELL oil flow stations killed and wounded several persons in 2005. The story is same in other Ijaw communities such as Bonny, Bakana, Buguma, Kula, Bille, Okrika, Ataba, Nkoro, Etiama, Ewelesuo, Diebu, Peremabiri, Akassa, Nembe, Okokodiagbene, Aghorho, Gbaranmatu, Esaba, Egbema etc.

Unfortunately, whenever the communities are able to apply force successful, they get good responses from the oil companies. Most of the Memorandum of Understanding [MoU] signed between communities and the oil companies and the few projects embarked upon by the companies resulted from the successful application of force by the communities. Examples include the MoU signed between Twon-Brass and AGIP, SHELL and Kula, ChevronTexaco and Kula etc.

This has created a perception among the youths of the Niger Delta that the only voice the oil companies listen to is the application of force – a dangerous perception!

Dialogue as Deceit

The trappings of dialogue and negotiations appear to be moving at the opposite direction for the Ijaws. No wonder, at a point in time, our ancestors became sceptical of dialogues. In 1888, Johnson, acting on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, invited the King and chiefs of Okrika to a meeting on board his ship, the people refused, as they do not want the treachery that happened to King Jaja to happen to them [see Pekenham 1991].  Other instances include:

Ø      After the ransacking of the RNC at Akassa, the chiefs and people of Nembe made appeasements and held several negotiations with the British consul at Brass, yet the towns of Nembe, Okpoama, and surrounding communities were bombarded and destroyed.

Ø      The people of Bayelsa and the rest of Ijaw land plead with President Obasanjo that soldiers should not be sent to invade Odi. Yet Odi was destroyed and hundreds of Ijaws killed.

Ø      Isaac Boro made several presentations to the Federal Government, including taking the government to court, on the plights of the Ijaw people? What happened to all those presentations?

Ø      When Chief Melford Okilo as governor of Rivers state campaigned for the principle of derivation, what was the outcome? A paltry 1.5% derivation!

Ø      Again the Ijaws were at the National Political Reform Conference on the same issues that have been plaguing them since oil was discovered in the Ijaw territory. And what did they get from the NPRC? The Ijaw delegates and others from the Niger Delta had to walk out of the conference because there was no sympathy from the rest of Nigerians.

Ø      What happened to the numerous Ijaws of Okigbene, Olugbobiri, Kula, Koluama, Diebu, Brass, Oluashiri, Nembe, Bille, Bonny, Finima, Dekema, Ewelesuo, Otari, Iyak, Ogbogolo, Joinkarama, Biseni, Ogulagha, Peretoru, Ojobo, Amabulu, Agge, Aghorro, Letugbene, Akepila, Ikebiri, Aleibiri, Futorugbene, Ayama, Liama, Igbemotoru, Odioma, Gbarantoru, Otuasega, Emeyal, Abuloma, etc when they visited the oil companies operating in their communities for dialogue? Some of them were killed, some were maimed, some were slightly wounded, some lost their livelihood, some lost their property etc

Ø      Asari Dokubo and Ateke Tom accept to dialogue and ‘surrender’ all the small arms in their possessions. What happened to Asari? He is now languishing behind bars.

I have used the Ijaws as a case study of all the happenings in the Niger Delta. The failure of dialogue and its use as an instrument by the “powers-that-be” on the Ijaws is also meted to the Ogonis, Ikwerres, Urhobos, Itsekiris, Ekpeyes, Isokos, Orons, Ibibios, Efiks, Kwales, Etches, etc. The signal being sent, in very clear terms, is that dialogue does not pay for the people of the Niger Delta and that the only language both the government and oil companies understand is confrontation or force hence the youths coming onboard to save their future.  A youth leader confirmed thus:

They are still expecting and the expectation is what our parents did until they died that is why this time around you see the youths carrying arms.  They will negotiate with you until you get old, your children will come, they will continue to negotiate, your grandchildren would continue to negotiate with them on same issue, same project. That is why you see some of us in the Niger Delta using arms to achieve quicker result, not because that is the ultimate but because that is what the trans-national corporations have forced upon us too [Nembe youth 2005]

The best dialoguing with the powers-that-be have able to achieve are several failed promises to the people and half-hearted projects while the blood is being sucked away from the vein of the people.

In a lighter mood, failed promises were given as part of the reason pipelines are being vandalised! A youth was asked why some of them engage in pipeline vandalisation, and his reply was:

All the time our fathers asked government for development projects, they were told that it is in the pipeline. When we ask for water, government will tell us it is in the pipeline. If we ask for electricity, oil companies will tell us that it is in the pipeline. If we say give us good road, they will tell us that it is in the pipeline…..everything is in the pipeline. Since anything we ask is in the pipeline we have decided to break the pipelines to bring out all the goodies!

MEND has employed the instrument of force; government appears to be listening now. The signals government and the oil companies have sent to the Niger Delta are very dangerous signals to send to a people. It is at this junction that the International community and Niger Delta people in Diaspora need to be awakened. The international community must not allow such signals to persist – it will be bad for history, civilization and development.

Trading Blames and Responsibility:

Unfortunately, both government and the oil companies are trading blames on the causation of the “youth restiveness.” Recently the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr.Edmund Dakouru blamed the oil companies operating in the Niger Delta for the “youth restiveness” in the Niger Delta [Daily Independent 06/02/06]. On developing the Niger Delta communities, government does not see it as its responsibility. Hear the Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Olu Adeniji, telling visiting British Foreign Minister, Mr. Jack Straw that the failure of oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to address the socio-economic problems in the Niger Delta is responsible for “youth restiveness” [Thisday, 15/02/2006].

On their part, the oil companies feel that it is government’s responsibility to develop the Niger Delta communities:

Government entreaties that oil companies should do more for their host communities will not put an end to the demand by communities for a more equitable distribution of crude oil revenue. In our view when government officials ask us to do “more” for our host communities they are asking us to take over the traditional roles and responsibilities of government in these communities. We know that we will fail in that regard [ChevronTexaco 2004]

With government and oil companies trading blames and responsibility, the Niger Delta is left in the middle: neglected!

The Way Forward

It is time to intensify the struggle in Diaspora. The International community will be silent and unappreciative of the plights of the people of the Niger Delta if the peoples in Diaspora are docile. If smaller ethnic nations and countries of the world have good coordination, leadership and contacts abroad it will not be unwise for the people of the Niger Delta to have a similar coordinated front in Diaspora.

In order to counter the dangerous signals being sent to the people of the Niger Delta, I wish to make the following recommendations as part of the processes of intensifying the struggle in Diaspora.

·        Niger Delta people in Diaspora must start the processes of having a unified structure abroad. Leadership should be decentralised to all the different countries and continents

·        Processes of identifying, contacting and consulting all Niger Deltans in Diaspora should be embarked upon in earnest.

·        Communication spaces should be established between organs in the different countries / continents; and with the umbrella organizations in Nigeria

·        The umbrella organizations at home must be strengthened and further empowered. Economic avenues should be especially explored

·        As a matter of urgency, contacts should be established with the different governments of the different countries and all / most international bodies such as the UN, EU, AU including human rights and environmental organizations. The sympathy of these international bodies must be gained for the sake of the struggle and people

·        Pressure must be exerted on the parent bodies of the oil companies influence their surrogates in Nigeria for better deal for the people of the Niger Delta

·        Pressure must be exerted on the governments at home for good governance, and transparency

To the international, the time to act is now. The situation in the Niger Delta is deteriorating very fast. When the signals of crises started manifesting in the Sudan, Kosovo, Luanda, Georgia, Liberia, Ivory Coast, DR Congo etc the international failed to act until the situation deteriorating to massacres, genocide, or pogrom. The signs are manifesting again in the Niger Delta. It is in this light I want to agree with the Ogele Club that your intervention is needed urgently in the Niger. I wish to reiterate that position in the box below.

What the International community must do urgently[3]

  • Send an independent team to investigate all the killings, maiming, looting, destruction and other human right abuses by government forces in the Niger Delta
  • Conduct a referendum to ascertain the aspirations and desires of the Niger Delta peoples
  • Order the Nigerian government to withdraw its forces of occupation from the Niger Delta
  • Declare the Niger Delta area a protectorate of the UN until all the issues of natural resources ownership and management have been acceptably determined
  • Establish and supervise a dialogue process between the Niger Delta people and the government of Nigeria

In addition, the international community should prevail on the oil companies to practise in the same way they approach community development, community relations, environmental protection, and human rights in their home countries in the Niger Delta. More than ever before, government should sit down with the accredited and creditable representatives of the Niger Delta peoples. I mean proper dialogue and not the type of monologue that took place in Abuja in April 2006. Dialogue should be followed with action on decisions reached as opposed to the past where decisions reached at dialogues were ignored or half-heartedly implemented. Implementation of the above coupled with the present approaches of conferencing will contribute to curbing “Youth Restiveness” in the Niger Delta. As people of the Niger Delta, we shall continue to pursue dialogue and negotiation despite all the negative signals until we get to wall.

In concluding, I must not hesitate to advise the government of Nigeria and its leadership to listen to the words of one time president of America, John Kennedy that “where dialogue and negotiation fails, violence becomes inevitable.” A word is enough for the wise: don’t push the people of the Niger Delta to the wall.

I thank you all for lending me your ears and time.

[1] A Paper presented at the Conference on “Curbing Youth Restiveness in the Niger Delta” organized by Hope for the Niger Delta Campaign [HNDC] at Rotterdam, The Netherlands on 29th April 2006

[2] The mandate of the commission also included the settling of boundary dispute between the northern and western governments over Ilorin and Kabba divisions.

[3] Ogele Club [2006] Niger Delta: The Need for Immediate and Urgent International Intervention



It appears we still don't know the kind of country we are after all this years. The use of force is the only language in operation in all is ramification. The world wants what we have, the NigeriaState will never let go the Ijaw Nation or change from over the years oppression. The way forward is continuous armed struggle and well coordinated actions from all our axis and completely stop the flow of crude from the Niger Delta region. Take on Aremu and his evil forces which Aremu represent, with  very strong resistance of our deities and spirit of our ancestors. 

"God has taken his place in the divine council; in the mist of the gods he holds judgement:" We will overcome

Glory A.


Posted: Sun 1/29/2006 4:48 PM

As expected some of our so-called "Royal Highnesses" and other self-styled "opinion leaders" have already started volunteering statements condemning the noble work our brave warriors are doing on our behalf. I think such condemnations and calls for the release of the hostages without demanding apology and concessions from the Nigerian governments tantamount to subversion. These are people who have become so scared stiff by Aremu's saber rattling that they are freely volunteering condemnation of our warriors for taking hostages as a bargaining chip.

Well, we have been hostages of the Nigerian government for over fifty years and nobody pleaded for mercy on our behalf nor condemned the leaderships of Abubarkar Tafawa Balewa, Gowan, Murtala/Aremu Obasanjo, "President" Shagari, Idiagbon/Buhari,Maradona I.B.Babangida, Abacha, and Obasanjo aka Chief Aremu of Otta.

Yet, these so-called Chiefs, lawyers and doctors with foamy mouths have the gumption to condemn a people who are expressing their genuine grievances in the only language the Nigerian authorities understand. After all, the hostages are enjoying our hospitality. They were given cell-phones to call home. We were even not allowed to consult and seek protection from our deities all through our ordeal in Nigeria's concentration camp. 

The hostages are guilty by association as employees of a foreign company that colluded with the Nigerian government to enslave and exploit us as well as render our land and rivers totally unproductive; even the air we breathe was rendered toxic. But in our hostage situation under Nigeria, we took nothing from anybody; we neither destroyed nobody's property nor used terrorist tactics to burn down towns and villages in any part of Nigeria. 

Instead, they and their British masters came and took us hostage and forcibly took our oil too. Sometimes when they got mad at us for no apparent reasons they resorted to strip searching and humiliating our young men in public and no mini-power nor super-power expressed concern nor threatened rescue operation. So, those of you who are running your mouths criticizing the actions taken by our warriors in this struggle are also enemies of the (state) - the Ijawnation - and would one day be called upon to answer for your sins.

I call upon our brave warriors to ignore these elements and others who have never been in our shoes nor seen things through our eyes nor heard all the nasty things Obasanjo and his agents have said and still saying about us. Your cause on our behalf is just and you have the wholehearted support of the vast majority of your compatriots. I also call upon you not to release the hostages until Nigeria blinks.

And when it comes time for their release, you must demand a written and signed guarantee for your safety and immunity from later prosecution. Any such document must be signed by Aremu himself and not the Inspector-General of the country's corrupt police force nor any other functionary in the administration. The only people you should allow to intercede in any discussions are representatives of the governments of all the multinational oil corporations in the delta.

Please do not deal nor listen to any government functionaries both national or local and whether such people are "Highnesses," self-styled "Opinion leaders," "credible citizens," Ijaws or not because they could turn out to be traitors. Lest I forget, you must also reject any notion to get the matter settled in Nigeria. You must insist on a neutral country as is the norm in most such cases. I must in the same token advise that no more photos of the hostages should be released. The one released, so far, is in order in so much as it served as a statement that they are alive and enjoying hospitality and all the goodies our environment. Otherwise, any other photos like the one released could be a strategic mistake in terms of location.

You must pay special attention to the Briton because he is doubly guilty. As for the Honduran, he is from a poor and exploited country like ours so you might consider him for early release.

Again, the Ijawnation thank you very much for your sacrifice on our behalf. You have our full support and that of God, the inspiring spirits of our great ancestors some of whom fought British economic exploitation in earlier times, and our powerful deities.

Honest Akama

Justice, Liberty, Resources and the Future

By     Fubara David-West 

 Much of the debate about resource control highlights the factors accounting for the lack of economic, political and cultural progress in Nigeria since independence.  Much of the economic-cum-political thought within the population of policy-movers appears to be clouded by short-sighted and clannish ideas. 

 Thus the Oxford-educated Nigerian is not more objective and patriotic than the fishermen and the market women of the Fubara clan (someone on the forum, to great hilarity even observed them running around naked in their poverty and backwardness), who just live their economic and political reality, without the urge to put those into some analytical scheme.  

It is just that those with the world-renowned degrees tend to be given the high-table routinely, even though they are unwilling to put the candle of their enlightenment in front of the manifold problems created by anachronistic cultural consciousness, roped around the clan and the ethnic group; social mores defined by a changeless stone in the ethnic garden, and economic ideals, untouched by a changing world of global finance, electronic banking, information technology, and the multi-national corporation.

We might note that the intelligentsia fully enjoys the benefits that flow from all of those things, in their exile within their comfort citadels in Europe, North America and Asia, but when they look upon their home, they see nothing but a people and a place that must always be understood within the context of the hamlet, "the tribe" or more accurately, the ethnic group; a benighted landscape to which the Internet Age and Post-Industrialism must at least, for now, mean nothing.  

Thus as long as Nigeria gets some bountiful crumbs from British Petroleum and other multi-national corporations in the oil business, who really cares about the implications of the transfer of funds,  to justice, future economic well-being, fiscal responsibility and the political and economic empowerment of the Nigerian people, who after all own all of these natural resources?  As long as that crucial question is left unanswered, the issues surrounding resource control and management will continue to have clannish elements, may be defined along political and regional fault-lines.

Let us note that the natural resources of Nigeria belong to all of the Nigerian people.  As long as there is no law in Nigeria restricting the movement of people, resources, knowledge and capital, any Nigerian living anywhere in Nigerian should be able to lay claim to those resources and the economic and financial rewards that flow from such a claim.  How might they be empowered to actually make those claims as individual actors?  That is the challenging question, and the way it is answered will have profound implications for citizenship stake-holding, not only when it comes to individual property rights, but also with regard to political representation, and civic responsibility.

Indeed, the huge population of southern Nigerians in northern Nigeria, the large population of eastern Nigerians in the West, the thriving population of northern Nigerians in places like Lagos, indicates that the Nigerian people have no problem accepting the possibility of such nation-wide claims on the resources of the country. 

However, they are easily taken in by the idea that the way to run and finance your public institutions and your government is to share the revenues from some loot out there, that falls magically onto the laps of the Nigerian state, by the grace of the "White Man's Technology," and of course Mother Nature; that companion of Eve's who is fully capable of dazzling all with her power and her guile. 

Their legislative and political leaders and their most articulate citizens, tell them that their only problem is that greedy neighbor out there, who wants to get more than his fair share of the loot.  All will be well, if only the annoying neighbor could be cowered or as a last resort forced to accept the majority's consensus, rationalized by historical data and mathematical logic. We do not even have to ask ourselves whether viewing resource management and control merely as "sharing the loot" serves the long-term interests of the people and their country.

Some of the Ogoni youth have however; come around to realizing that there is no magic involved.  Some forces, protected by the full power of the Federal Government are extracting from their lands real wealth, with the technical know-how of those forces, their capital, and their muscles.  How might this reality be made to complement the facts involved in the free movement of people, capital and technical knowledge in Nigeria?  That is another challenging question.  

Looking at the situation on the ground, one might make one observation.  That is the possibility that it is the policy-making intelligentsia, the political class of party front-men and leaders, and their coterie of clannish activists, who are pulling the people back, from their drive towards objectifying the new Nigerian reality of nationhood, beyond anachronistic clans and ethnic groups, narrow interests and blatant bigotry. 

 The role of government in a liberal-democracy is to create the fiscal and economic conditions, under which those individual claims I have referred to might be satisfied objectively, and rationally, with as little bias as possible.  The formal instrument for achieving that are constitutional and legislative mandates, established within a justice system, which is not only rational and therefore predictable, but also legitimate.  The facts on the ground tell us that the legitimacy of the system is under active challenge, and no amount of brow-beating will automatically eliminate that challenge.  It has rarely been done in human history.

Of course the polity must be careful enough to strike a healthy balance between John Locke's and Adam Smith's (he was not a major fan of the corporation) enthusiasm for private property rights, and Karl Marx's embrace of a socialist order, arising out of advanced capitalism.  Unfortunately, many of these thoughts on resource control tend to adhere to state capitalism, a new species of capital formation and control in which a fully parasitical cadre of government bureaucrats, supported by a system of laws, plunder the resources of the country at will, for their own benefit and for the benefit of sections of the country, which happen to have the upper hand at one time or the other in politics, be it military or civilian.  That, in turn, creates a political realm in which electoral fraud, public graft and general lawlessness become the norm.  On your marks, go!  Its all to the races for the grand loot, with no real accountability. 

A sine qua non of liberty is justice.  Nigeria must establish, through its systems of public budgeting and finance a self-correcting structure of laws and governance based on justice.  Without that as an irreducible element, none of these formulas relating to resources will do much for the future, because liberty will be lost. 

Fubara David-West   

We can’t talk of peace and leave out justice, Evah insists

Story by Chioma Anyagafu, Assistant Editor
Posted to the Web: Saturday, January 28, 2006

COMRADE Joseph Evah is the national chairman of Ijaw Monitoring Group and speaks on the kidnapped expatriates, the killings in Niger-Delta and how to restore peace in the region.

“As far as we are concerned, the expatriates were kidnapped by the gods. The oil companies are destroying our land and the gods are angry and are causing havoc.  See the problem we are having here, everybody is talking about peace out there. Nobody is talking about justice.

Our people here are suffering. Their land has been destroyed; they live in abject poverty. But I know that the moment the government begins to develop this place, there will be peace. Let them begin to build industries in Niger-Delta. Let them improve the living condition of the people. Let them use the by-products of crude to develop our region. The plastic chairs you see in churches today are made from the products of crude with rubber. All the plastic chairs, plastic plates are not produced here. They are brought in from Lagos. And we can establish these factories in Niger-Delta.

Okay, they have kidnapped the expatriates. Let them come and negotiate with the people. We have seen the type of construction going on in Abuja with our oil money. We want such construction here. What we have here are forests everywhere. That is not fair.

Do you know that the amount of money the federal government is spending on military mobilization to Niger Delta can be used to better the lot of our people? It is better that they begin to consider these things. All we are asking is that they develop our land with the money they are generating from here. We live in shanties, in forests under austere measures but we see the white men living in glass houses with our money.

We are not saying they should not use the money to develop other parts of Nigeria. We are saying that the suffering of our people be minimized. Since we can no longer farm, let them develop our land that they have destroyed. Let our children take scholarships and have good education. These children are born under these devastations and deprivations. If nothing is done to better their lots, they would grow up to become wild animals with no regards for human rights. That is the issue and they will be willing to die. 

Children that are four, five years in the Niger-Delta today see military weapons as fashion parade. They are not afraid because they are already like animals. That is the issue. Life means nothing to them and I’m talking about little children. What do you think they will become when they grow up in five, ten years? So, what we are asking is that government makes life more meaningful to the people so that the people will also protect the environment and protect the oil companies.

In the past, we Ijaws named our children after oil companies because we thought they would do us good. Today, you will see people bearing names like Shell, Chevron, Mobil but we stopped that last year. Parents have been banned from naming their children after oil companies because the oil companies have destroyed our land and destroyed our people.

Build industries here and there will be peace. The oil companies compromise some of the so-called leaders. They do not develop our communities, they do not pay tax but they quote outrageous amounts as what they spend in Niger-Delta. If they spend that much, why is Niger-Delta not like Libya or Saudi-Arabia? Why are the Ijaws the poorest group in Nigeria? No Ijaw man holds a position of pride in the oil companies and now, the Ijaw gods are dealing with them.

Deploying soldiers will worsen the crisis, says Clark

First Republic Information Commissioner, Chief Edwin Clark advises the government not to send soldiers to the riverside communities to harass and persecute the villagers in their search for the militants because it will fan the flames of anger and aggravate the situation. He said that government should identify the real kidnappers and dialogue with them, pointing out that the leaders of the region were not in support of violence in achieving any objective. The Ijaw leader also asked the kidnappers to release the hostages as their action was capable of sending wrong signals about the region.

According to him, Ijaw leaders negotiated with the Federal Government when Asari-Dokubo was having problems with the authorities and he was released to the  leaders, adding that though, Asari-Dokubo was now back in detention on fresh grounds, the leaders secured his release then and should be trusted to do so again. “Government must embrace dialogue because it is the surest way to resolve this matter without bloodshed. I’m for anything that will bring about peaceful resolution, just as we urge the militants to, please, release the hostages.”

Negotiation will do the magic, says Kokori

CHIEF Frank Kokori was the secretary-general of National Union of Petroleum and Natural gas Workers (NUPENG). He talks of the process of peaceful resolution of crisis in the Niger-Delta in this encounter.

The problem of peace in the Niger-Delta region is something to be considered seriously and the only way to peace in that area is to make the people happy. I have always said that the Niger-Delta is a very fertile terrain for revolution, for guerrilla struggles. Anybody who thinks he can go into the region and destroy the people and get away with it is joking. Dealing with Niger-Deltans is different from dealing with people on the mainland.

So, they have to really come and discuss with the people, that is the stakeholders, not just the chiefs who have collaborated with government for so many years to exploit the people. I think the youths are getting tired of dealing with these so-called leaders and they want to talk for themselves. That is why I called them stakeholders. Government should know that the Niger-Delta is a special terrain and the people have suffered so much devastation. They see their land being destroyed. The source of their livelihood is being taken away from them with the connivance of their leaders.

Unfortunately, innocent oil workers are being taken away as hostages. So, what I am advising is that the Federal Government comes down from its Olympian heights to meet the stakeholders and begin negotiation.

You see, these people (Niger-Deltans) are living in shanties. And the oil men live in amazing opulence. And the stakeholders are the land owners and when they see this clear demarcation their blood boils. And they vent their spleen on innocent oil workers instead of the persons responsible for their problems. We must not continue to ignore the militants. As this stage, there is need to negotiate with them. And the truth of the matter is that if we don’t do it now, it will get worse in future.  A child that is five years today was born into devastation, into the struggle. In the next ten years, he will be a teenager and he would be more dangerous than the ones we have today. So, what am I saying? The sooner we resolve the problem, the better.

The government has to develop and beautify the Niger-Delta. These youths whose lands have been devastated, whose parents have suffered degradation and poverty because their farmlands have been taken away from them have to be compensated. They must go to school. They must have jobs. They must have good homes and have portable water to drink.  If you visit the Niger-Delta and see the clear demarcation of opulence as represented by the oil men and poverty as represented by the land owners, then, you will know that we’re not telling ourselves the truth.

Oyegun: Let’s handle this delicate matter wisely

In this brief chat, the former governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun proffers solution to the crisis in the Niger-Delta.
I will just say this: the only way to get peace to reign in the region, to get the kidnapped expatriates out and to stop the killings, lies with the government. The government needs to come down from its high horse and talk to Dokubo and Alamieyeseigha. You see, we cannot continue to ignore crimes against humanity that are being committed in Nigeria. I’m aware that the former police boss, Tafa Balogun negotiated with the government and got away with a very light sentence.

The trouble in Niger-Delta is the one that has been costing lives. I think at this juncture, we should call a spade a spade. The government should swallow its pride and get talking to the militants and their leaders. We must swallow our pride and talk to them. We can bargain with them to restore peace and then, give them whatever light sentence if they are found guilty. We must restore peace in the Niger-Delta and that should not be taken for granted.

If we keep doing it the way we are doing it now, it could get worse. In a couple of years, it will get worse than it is now because the young ones are growing up and  they will be deadlier than the people doing it today. So, we must talk. We must negotiate and that is the way to get out those that are kidnapped and stop further killings and then have peace reign. It is a delicate matter and should be tackled wisely.

This Injustice Will Not Stand!

Mr. Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

“This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.” -- Theodore Roosevelt

Publicly and privately, I have always favored political solution to the problems of the Niger Delta. I do so mainly because political solutions yield better and enduring results; moreover, the benefits outweigh military actions with its attendant destructions, maiming and the killings of combatants and the innocents. Lately however, I have been wondering and rethinking my position: does Nigeria understand any other language, other than force?

Successive Nigerian government, the international community and the oil companies have been aware of the underdevelopment, marginalization, misery and the fetid environmental conditions of the Niger Delta -- and especially of the Ijaws. In other words, the collective poverty and underdevelopment of Nigeria’s breadbasket is not a secret to the government, the oil companies, local and international think tanks, the US government and the numerous embassies in Nigeria. Yet, nothing is being done to ameliorate the sufferings and hellish condition of the area and the people.

 And since no one is listening to the grievances and genuinely addressing the concerns of the Niger Delta, perhaps it is time Niger Deltans -- especially the Ijaws -- change position and strategy. Something needs to be done to force the hand of the Nigerian State. If Abuja won’t listen and agree to peaceful change…perhaps it is time to forcefully make the Nigerian State listen. Therefore, either through military or diplomatic solution or a combination of both, the Nigerian State -- with regards to the Niger Delta -- has three options: (1) provide massive federal presence in terms of human and infrastructural development; (2) One hundred percent resource control; or (3) full and complete autonomy for the Ijawnation. Anything less would be foolish, condescending and unacceptable.

That said, I think the Nigerian government needs help. And so does the president. The president needs help with refining his thinking, his judgment and his intellect. As with most other things, this president is being incalcitrant and unreasonable in matters concerning the Niger Delta. Why hasn’t anyone or a group of people impressed it upon this government (and previous governments) that unless there is justice there can be no peace, security and uninterrupted business in the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole? Sending in the military to kill, maim and arrest a group of people is not a viable solution -- it is a waste of time and resources.

An intelligent reading of the ongoing situation -- which will definitely worsen -- points to the fact that henceforth, there is not going to be uninterrupted business. There will no longer be “business-as-usual” in the Niger Delta. In other words, the costs of doing business will become unbearable for Nigeria to bear. And not even the security pact she has with the United States of America will save her neck. Instead of doing what is right, fair and equitable, the government sends in the military. Recent actions and declarations on the part of the insurgents and freedom fighters indicate that the government does not have a monopoly of guns and arms and coercive force and brutality.

What we have in the Niger Delta, and more so in Ijawland, is exploitation, injustice, injustice and more injustice. Four decade of injustice must end. Four decade of exploitation must end. Four decade of marginalization must end. Four decade of abandonment must end. And four decade of subjugation and oppression must end. The Nigerian government and her backers can threaten all they want. They can send in the military. They can bomb the Delta. They can imprison the insurgents; but the insurgents will not bend or yield to Nigeria’s insatiable thirst for stupidity and brutality. This, the nationalists have made clear. A smart read of history makes these points crystal clear.

Any sensible student of history and international politics can surmise that it would be foolish for Nigeria to think she can “shock and awe” the insurgents into submission, and then rewrite the rules of the game by monopolizing the spoils of war. Oh no! No, no, no. The endgame, as far as I can tell, is this: since Nigeria has made peaceful change impossible, she must be ready for whatever comes her way. Since she has made it difficult for the Niger Deltans to sleep and go about her business; the Niger Deltans too shall make it difficult for Abuja to nap and go about her usual business. According to the insurgents, “all bets are off!” In other words, the injustice being perpetrated and perpetuated by Nigeria’s must stop. Forthwith!

This government, and for that that matter, no government in the history of Nigeria has shown genuine concern for the welfare and wellbeing of the Ijaws. As indicated by the speech given by Vice-President Abubakar Atiku late last year, the government’s primary concern is “its aspiration to grow national crude oil reserves and daily production by 2010.” The government wants to do this at the expense of the people of the Niger Delta -- especially the Ijawnation. This government is concerned chiefly with economic growth (GDP/GNP) and not the people; not human and infrastructural development. People mean nothing to this government. But this attitude will not stand!

Abubakar Atiku was quoted by Bassey Udo of the Independent newspaper in November 2005 as saying:

“We are confident to say that the worst is over. To get to this stage, we have been deliberate, systematic and consistent in tackling environmental and social problems in the Niger Delta. We have maintained that while we are doing what a responsible and caring government is expected to do to address genuine problems, we will not condone criminality and lawlessness…”

Well, he was wrong. Atiku is dead wrong! “Criminality and lawlessness” is having total disregard for the wellbeing of the Ijaws and the Urhobos and the Itsekiris and several others in the Niger Delta. It is a crime not to listen to and genuinely act on the grievances of the Niger Delta community when he, Atiku, and the president and the ruling elites are busy stealing, mismanaging and misappropriating the nation’s resources (of which 80 percent or more comes from the Niger Delta). It is criminal to worry more about the oil than the people. It is criminal to worry more about the international community than about the domestic community. It is high crime when the Nigerian State continually and consistently ignores the wishes and aspiration of an important segment of her population.

All the government and Nigeria want is the oil, oil, and more oil and gas. Nothing more. Not the human development of the indigenes. Left to the government of Obasanjo, the Urhobos and the Itsekiris and others -- and especially the Ijaws -- would be exiled from their ancestral homeland and relocated north of Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe or Borno State or simply confined to the hash and punishing Sahara wasteland.

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) set up by the current administration to deal with developmental issues is a charade. And so are other development and peace building initiatives. Successive Nigerian government have lied and lied and lied to the Ijawnation and Niger Deltans. And the current administration is no exception. Government has been aware of the subhuman conditions in Ijawland for well over four decades; and so do the oil companies. Yet nothing was done to uplift the living standard of the people. And because of the precedent set by the government, the oil companies have been thumbing their noses at the Niger Delta community.

Since political independence in 1960, the North, West and Eastern Nigeria and others have been busy looting resources and trampling on the inalienable rights of the Ijaws, belittled and disparaged. For instance, the government relate to the Ijaws as though they are less than humans and are therefore not worthy of economic and human development. Oh heavens, they should have known that these repugnant and repulsive attitudes would not last for eternity. The Ijaws are not a people to be ignored or disrespected; they are not a people to be used and abused and discard like used wrappers. The Ijaws have inhabited that part of the world for generation after generation after generation.

It is mostly on their land from which Nigeria gets the money to sustain other federating states in the country. Yet, the Ijaws live mostly in abject poverty and in inhumane condition (with no potable water, no hospitals and clinics, sewage system and tarred roads). Women and children are dying of malnutrition, malaria, air and water-borne diseases. Moreover, the lands, rivers, streams and creeks are extremely polluted causing unimaginable illnesses. Educational and other public infrastructures are pitiful and laughable where present. There is nothing to show for the billions and billions of dollars the Delta have given Nigeria and the oil companies.

In a land this endowed, the citizens live in abject poverty! Spaces are filled with hopelessness and emptiness; hearts are full of ache and pain and sorrow. But today, enough is enough…this injustice will not stand! The options before the government are simple: (1) massive federal presence in terms of human and infrastructural development; (2) one hundred percent resource control; or (3) full and complete autonomy for the Niger Delta.

 The aforementioned are some of the demands and position of the insurgents. If unmet, the insurgency will multiply. It will escalate.

Dear Ekiyor & Roy,

Thank you very much for your very sound responses. We have no choice but to salute the bravery of these young men who have defied odds to establish a case that once again brings the Niger Delta Question to the front burners of world affairs.

Now a harried Obasanjo is struggling hard to convince the world that 'Nigeria' oil industry is not 'troubled'. The beauty of all this is that every world press commentator ensures that the description of the Niger Delta as one of the poorest areas in the world is not left out.

I get really upset when some people makes excuses for the kind of responses that they make. We need to ask ourselves why and how these young men could get so driven. We need to honestly sit down and ask ourselves why these young men would so gladly expose their selves into harm's way.

These young men are trained militants who for about five months now, have been undergoing drills and warfare exercises just for this objective. Their abilities have been tested. Endurance, resilience and adaptability. While the Nigerian state continues to bring up dubious information for lack of any real or true info, these militants remain unbroken. Only recently, there was a merging together of some other militants groups, even though their combined operations have not been clearly defined for security reasons. More youths are willing to go in.

Each day, more of our youths are getting angrier. For each soldier of the Nigerian state that they see, they get turned onto the path of militancy. Unfortunately not all of them can have access to the quality of weapons that can make real insurgency be. 

We should be grateful to these young men. They have put their lives on the line. They have put their LIVES on the line. Their LIVES! If you know how difficult it is for people to sacrifice anything then you would and should value what these people are doing. 

 The Town Crier TTC

The abysmally depressing environmental and socio-economic conditions in the Niger Delta, where the entire population has been subjected to wholesome deprivation, abject poverty, fiscal sodomization, and hopelessness for the past fifty years are facts no fair minded Nigerian nor foreigners conversant with the sordid situation can realistically defend as deserving of the people. It is, indeed, a situation that is universally known to all successive Nigerian governments, politicians of every stripe, the multinational oil executives, and their governments. In fact, it is a horrendous situation that has been begging for redress. 

Yet, no one or group among the aforementioned expressed any concern nor compassion, out of good conscience, to address as if the Ijaws and other groups in the region are mere morons and, therefore, oblivious to the pleasures of life enjoyed by others; even with money accruing from the oil wealth from the soil of the Ijaws and their neighbors. Nigerian governments, particularly the current one under the leadership of Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo, instead, declared the area "undevelopable" and went on to instituted a policy of intimidation and suffocating oppression whereby any challenge to the status quo was met with brutal force. 

The people had on occasions been forced to witness whole towns and villages in the area razed to the ground and, their kin murdered, their mothers, wives, sisters, daughters raped, and many others maimed by Obasanjo's Junk-Yard Dogs under the command of one "Brigadier-General" Elias Zamani. Even children, the elderly, and the infirm who could not escape such onslaughts were not spared. The only "sin" committed by the victims for all the humiliations, mayhem, and brutality visited on them by Obasanjo's bloodhounds was in demanding a fair share of the revenue accruing from the sale of the "black gold" that is being extracted from right under their feet on and on their own land. 

It is no secret that this revenue is used to fund prestigious projects in every nook and corner of the geographical entity called "Federal Republic of Nigeria, except the Niger Delta, at the behest of some greedy and uninformed politicians of every stripe. And while all this is happening, we, the Ijaws remain marginalized and intimidated into submission so that the Nigerian government could maintain the corporate existence of that tottering and violent sham of a republic. That odious policy of marginalization, oppression, intimidation, brutalization, and fiscal sodomization of our people is now faced with extinction as the we have come to the realization, and rightly so, that we have reached the POINT OF NO RETURN where we must stand firm and fight the bullies, the oppressors, and all their agents or be eternally kept in humiliating servitude. And fight we must because violence is the only language Chief Aremu and his bloodhounds understands.

We did not seek a fight with our oppressors. They brought the fight to us and we must answer their challenge. After all, in a dog fight, it is not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of fight in the dog that matters. Sad indeed that the Nigerians, particularly Aremu did not learn anything from recent military history. Salient among the highlights in this history are the disastrous American adventure in Vietnam, the ill-fated American invasion of Cuba, the woeful defeat of the mighty Russian military by the Poppy Merchants of Afghanistan, the triumph of tiny East Timor over the mighty Indonesian army, and the capitulation of Israel from Lebanon. Oh! there also was the unceremonious exit of the Portuguese from Africa which was preceded by the overthrow of the Lisbon government because it squandered the country's meager resources on fruitless colonial wars. The Nigerian nation seem heading in the same direction to join the march of follies. Good luck Nigeria

The Aremu administration has an announced policy to "wipe them out if they started any trouble because of oil." This was revealed by no other government functionary than Aremu Obasanjo's own mouth piece, Fani-Kayode, in a radio interview last August with reporters of America's National Public Radio interview during a visit to the region. So we must all brace ourselves to meet the challenge because the Nigerians will not stop at anything in the current situation to spread vicious and dirty propaganda against us and our young and brave warriors in their design to annihilate us. They would call us all kinds of uncharacteristic names such as BANDITS, THUGS, ROBBERS, BUNKERERS, ETC.

What they will not admit is the fact that our warriors are only fighting to redeem the dignity of their people and liberate them from the oppression of the Nigerian nation. Well, fellow Ijaws, we are now at a very crucial stage in our struggle to redeem our dignity and rights as the unfolding violent panorama in our region indicates; and we cannot afford to capitulate thru blackmail by some of our gullible brothers and sisters (and there are many amongst us) who would not mind selling their souls for a few Naira. These are people who are trying to be dovish in a hawkish environment. These are people who are living in a world that doesn’t exist and we must be very wary of what they saw on this forum. We must realize that we now are at a time when we must all seek to support the brave men and women in the vanguard with whatever each of us can afford until the Nigerians realize their mistake and retreat from every inch of our land. Just imagine a situation where our waterways are controlled and our towns and villages occupied by Aremu's filthy and vicious bloodhounds. Where severely restrictive curfews are imposed in all our towns and villages and our people have to obtain special permits to visit their kin next door. No sir/maam. We must not let that happen in our life time.

I must say I salute all the young warriors, young men and women in the vanguard, for standing up for all our 14 million strong Ijawnation. Your sacrifices are highly appreciated and your courage admired. I trust that God the almighty, the fighting spirits of our ancestors, and mighty deities will always protect you from the satanic forces of that dirty Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo. So it is now on us in the Diaspora to stand in solidarity with our brave fighters as our kins at home are already under siege by the Nigerians. Any show of reluctance or vacillation on our part to support these fine young warriors would only serve to defeat our cause and hand the enemies a cheap victory. It is better we put the enemy on notice now that we WILL FIGHT THEM IN OUR CREEKS, RIVERS, SWAMPS, VILLAGES TOWNS, FISHING PORTS, MANGROVE FORESTS, BUSHES, AND RIVER BANKS. In fact, we should tell them that the day we'll take up our arms the Nigerian adventurers would drown in our crude oil and the Nigerian nation itself drown in red ink. And neither they nor anyone with a functional brain would blame us.

I must advise these warriors not to accept any invitation for talks with the Nigerian authorities with out the presence of third parties such as representatives of the governments of the various oil companies in the region. You must also demand a written and signed guarantee for your safety and immunity to later prosecution. Any such meeting must be held in a neutral country; preferably South Africa

Folks, our future as a nation is at stake and we must all join to combat this threat.

Long Live Ijawnation.

Honest Akama,

Dear Izon Nation 

Kemsese, Ah-dooooh!

I see Neo-Realism at work in the Nigeria/Niger-Delta situation. In my international relations class, I brought up the discussion with my instructor when we were being taught about Liberalism, Neo-Liberalism, Constructivism, Neo-Realism, and Realism. The Neo-Realists value security/national security over individual liberty, unlike the liberals. This, she said, is the predominant position of the United States Government. The same U.S govt. says it is a 'close' ally with the Nigerian government, if my interpretation of their statement is correct. Close friends look out for each other. A close friend who sees his friend blindly walking into the lion's den should alert his friend's attention to the impending doom ahead of him if he keeps going in that direction.

This is true friendship.

The Neo-Realists don't care much about the everyday people on the ground. They are the ones who the ordinary people find it hard to relate to, because their thought patterns encompass dimensions that everyday people might consider inimical to national security and survival. This means if you are a Neo-Realist in the Nigerian situation, you would only be concerned about Nigeria's military might, the militaries of Nigeria's allies, and violence to ensure smooth crude oil production. You would actually believe, or might, if you are a neo-realist, that Nigeria's violent response of visiting our communities with destruction and genocide will quell the situation. If you are a neo-realist, you will think shedding Ijaw blood is the right way to go in your efforts to maintain a stronghold on the Ijaw oil and gas wealth/sector, an impossible task. You will live with the false impression that you can militarily conquer Ijaw people and cow them into allowing the oppression to go on. Impossible.

The term neo-realism is oxymoronic to the whole situation. Why? It appears to me that neo-realists have a distorted perception of reality. They should see the reality in the situation but they don't. How can you be a neorealist and not realize the reality of the security situation on ground? If you are so concerned about military might, why ignore the Ijaw ethnic military machine? Why put more lives in jeopardy over your political ideologies and ignore the will of millions of people? How unreal can your thought process get?

Human services reference: I will make a quick reference to the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. This is how human services breaks down the hierarchy of human needs. It is a framework with which we can objectively look at the whole situation and see if Nigeria is going in the right direction as regards its dealings with the Ijaw Ethnic Nation.


1. PHYSIOLOGICAL NEEDS: Homeostasis; specific hungers; food, water, air, shelter, and general survival.

2. SAFETY NEEDS: Security, stability, freedom from anxiety and chaos; need for structure and order

3. BELONGINGNESS AND LOVE NEEDS: Love, affection, belongingness; need for family and friends.

4. ESTEEM NEEDS: Self esteem, esteem of others, achievement, recognition, dignity

5. NEED FOR SELF ACTUALIZATION: Ability to direct one's own life, a sense of meaning and fulfillment.

The aforementioned 5-point scale can be used to help us better understand the gradual and at times, radical transformation of Ijaw social society. We have needs as humans. If need one is not met, it will be difficult or probably impossible for us to go to need two and the rest of them. We have to follow an orderly pattern of organization. I am not saying that the Maslow's Hierarchy perfectly explains our situation, though. I think if we all look closely, we will find out that the neo-realist elements in our society don't understand what they are dealing with. They can't eradicate our needs from our midst. We have been living with these wants and needs for decades. In these days and times, knowledge has gone back and forth and mankind is illuminated. It will be impossible to defeat Ijawland as a nation. Let us sit down and jaw-jaw so we won't have to war-war. We are already in a war, I understand, but Nigeria still has a little bit of room to do what's right before the situation spirals out of control and everything falls apart.

I asked my international relations teacher about the Nigeria and Niger-Delta situation. I explained the history of the usurpations and the oil and gas dynamics to her. I drew her attention to the fact that gas prices are affected in her country and in the rest of the world as a result of our fight for justice. I told her that this was my ethnic nation we were talking about. This was me. I tried to make her understand that it was way beyond a textbook situation. We needed pragmatism at work in this, and these were the kinds of responses I got.

She said the U.S govt. was predominantly neo-realist. I asked " Every time my people get into a high-profile confrontation with the Nigeria federal government, world prices go up, why is the U.S still maintaining its position in a situation like this?" her response was unclear, so I asked, I said " If the situation gets totally anarchic and a full-blown war erupts, what do you think the U.S government will do?" She said, "pull out of the area, they won't care less" I then asked "You mean they won't care less if the land burns?” "Yes" she replied. I then asked her, "what will it take for the U.S govt. to do what is right in this situation and support true democracy and justice, especially since it is trying to spread democracy around the globe? Will it take a complete shutdown of every drop of oil Nigeria gets from Ijawland?" She couldn't respond. She looked dumbfounded. Then I asked again, I said "Why is it that the majority of the U.S population doesn't even know about my people and the problems we are facing, but every time gas prices go up as a result of conflict in my land, everybody wants to have something to say about it? Why such blindness?

She then drew our attention to a time when the U.S government has made proclamations against supporting oppressive governments and selling weapons to them.

She said some of the people of the nations of that time rose up against their leaders whom they perceived as evil, but the U.S turned around and supported these brutal governments who in turn massacred their people. This, she said, was Neo-realism at work. They put national security above the lives of the everyday people of these nations. This is the world we are living in. These are the political entities we are dealing with.

In a situation like this, let us fully educate ourselves on the intricacies of the political game on all fronts and all levels, so when true dialogues comes, we will go about it in the most intelligible and sophisticated way. We can't afford to be taken by surprise.

In my opinion, let us, Ijaws, as a nation, resolve never to be taken unawares again. Let us be like those nations who swore never to let their lands be enslaved again for all time. Life is what we make it out to be. Let us redefine our reality in non-neo-realist terms.

There are other schools of thought to talk about, but for now, I chose to focus on neo-realism because that is the school of thought which our oppressors have adopted in their relations with us. Let us know how the enemy thinks and enter his mind. That way, we are double-equipped to fight the intellectual battle and win.

Your own,

Oyinpreye D

Niger Delta and military solution

In response to the upsurge of ferment in the Niger Delta region, and the grave danger it poses to the nation’s oil-dominated economy, the Federal Government seems to have opted for full military action. In preparation for a full military operation, surveillance efforts are said to have commenced, while two warships, NNS Nwamba and NNS Obula, as well as naval platforms 217 and 219, are reported to have been deployed in the coastal areas of Bayelsa and Delta states. Scared by the increased presence of the military, ordinary residents are fleeing the riverine communities.

But the militants, who claim to have embarked on armed struggle to liberate the region from the claws of an insensitive and unjust Nigerian State, remain undaunted and undeterred. Only on Tuesday, armed youths engaged security operatives in a gun duel for several hours at the premises of Agip Oil Company in Port Harcourt, killing nine people, including seven policemen. Before the attack on Agip, about 14 people had been killed when a new militant group, which calls itself Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), raided the Shell’s Benisede flow station, burnt down some staff quarters, and destroyed oil facilities.

The skirmishes in the creeks reverberated across the globe when MEND militias, on January 11, kidnapped four expatriate workers of Tidex Drilling Limited, a corporate contractor to Shell. In panic, oil companies are winding down operations and withdrawing their staff. The spate of violence is estimated to have reduced the nation’s oil supply capacity of 2.5 million bpd by 10 per cent, feeding a sudden jump in the global price of crude to $69 per barrel. The militants say their “aim is to totally destroy the capacity of the Nigerian government to export oil.” So far, the armed youths seem to have put a sharp knife on the nation’s economic jugular, by gradually crippling the access to oil.

But despite the immediate threat which the resurgence of violence poses to the economy, it is doubtful that the use of force will permanently quell the uprising. Top military chiefs leading operations in the region have openly reiterated the futility of using force to resolve the conflict. Military action can never get to the roots of the crisis which are deep down in the flawed fiscal structure of the nation’s unjust federalism. Here is a region that has consistently supplied more than 70 per cent of the nation’s revenue, and 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings, but has never tasted political power at the centre. In plundering the oil wealth, the nation has been largely insensitive to the development needs of the region. There is high incidence of poverty and unemployment because farmlands and fishing ponds have been destroyed by pollution. The exploitation of oil in the region has, therefore, fostered a fertile environment for anger and frustration.

The Delta people had expected the return of democracy in 1999 to turn the tide in their favour. Though some palliative measures like the creation of the Niger Delta Development Commission, have been taken by this administration, such measures have barely scratched the problem. The hope that this administration would use the National Political Reform Conference to review the meagre 13 per cent derivation also failed. The 17 per cent derivation recommended by the NPRC has been ignored by the National Assembly in its 101 amendments to the Constitution. Anger is therefore boiling over because it has become obvious that this administration is only interested in retaining a revenue formula that is patently unfair to the Delta region.

The peaceful option is for the Federal Government to initiate a dialogue by reaching out to the militant youths through credible leaders of the region. The Obasanjo government must shift ground by immediately offering the 17 per cent derivation recommended by the NPRC. To enjoy international goodwill, Niger Delta youths, on their part, should release all hostages in their custody and prepare themselves for dialogue with the Federal Government.

The PUNCH, Wednesday, January 26, 2006

Dear Izon Nation,

Kemsese, Ah-dooh!  

When you look closely at what is going on in the Niger-Delta and Nigeria as regards the rising level of suicidal militance in our region, you might be able to identify an age old enemy of the people. It is pretense. The Nigerian government uses this tactic to strong-arm our people but it is too obvious for us not to notice it, identify it, put a form on it, tackle it, tell the world about it, and eradicate it forever. 

It is unfortunate that violence is the only language the Nigerian government understands. It really is unfortunate. In the past, Ijaws have made countless recommendations, declarations, suggestions, ultimatums, and every possible effort to draw the attention of our oppressors to our plight and our decision not to keep bearing such burdens. They might have seemed to have fallen on deaf ears, but they fell on oppressive ears instead. Some of our demands were ignored and some of our people were killed as a means of scare us and deter us from making such demands in the future - that the government of Nigeria considers impossible to grant us. Wrong strategy. You don't kill Ijaw people to maintain a smooth flow of oil and gas in Ijaw territory. It is like harming a young cub and then gardening in the midst of its pack! You ignore the nature of the lions and lionesses around you and act like you're on some National Geographic documentary if you want to, but a reality check or two will do. 

Nigeria's federal might never put fear into Ijawland's soul. It only made us harder, more united and ready to die for what is just and right for all mankind. This is a generation of Ijaws who were born into the suffering in the midst of immense financial booms and an increasing desire to milk us dry and destroy our environment - or not be concerned about the gradual deterioration of our ecosystem. Everybody cares about our crude oil and gas, though. World prices keep getting affected every time we confront Nigeria and try to get justice for Ijawland, but I guess a little hike here and there hasn't been adequate enough to create the awareness in the global political scene, of the Ijaw situation and the situation in the Niger-Delta as a whole. A few price hikes have not been enough to let the world know that the souls of the thousands of innocent Ijaws massacred for oil are crying out to God Almighty for justice everyday and every night!

Ijawland always considered itself a blessing to the world, even before the first drop of oil was discovered, explored, and exploited in 1957. It is evident in our tradition. We were raised to understand that God has already blessed us with immense wealth and greatness and mercies from the days of old. We were raised to understand the importance of our ethnic nationality, our ethnic identity, and the importance of the fight for our survival. We were raised to protect what is ours, to be called our brothers' keepers - even though some of us always worked against the rest of the family from within. Such elements were always dealt with at the appropriate time, and truth and justice prevailed in Ijawland from ancient days.

We are still united, regardless of the seeming disunity many people are concerned about. Ijawland is still united in thought, words, and actions. Truth is the meaning of Izon. It has been a part of our culture from the start. We can't be part of a deceptive, lying, warmonging, divisive federation. We were not raised to want to be or remain a part of a failed nation state. We were raised to be victorious! Our land has never lost a war and we never will, God being with us. 

Deception has been applied in dealing with Ijawland for so long that it has all become obsolete and irrelevant. We identify deception as fast as we identify an enemy or a stranger in our territory. We identify thirst for Ijaw blood in write-ups, proclamations, declarations, attitudes, movements, coalitions, nonchalance on the part of people who should care, intricate political dynamics, political machinations, security utterations, and everywhere our enemies lie. We hear our enemies when they speak of their so-callod will and plans for our land, ignoring ours in the process. We see these things. We know when people try to kill us and steal our oil and gas. We are fully educated on the nature of the thieves we are fighting. These are people like you and me. They love life, just like us. They bleed just like us. They feel emotions just like us. They want to live happily ever after, just like us. They don't want their villages to be destroyed, just like us. They don't want their family members to be killed, maimed, assassinated, demonized, and suppressed, just like us. They don't want occupation forces on their land, just like us. I mean, there is a long list of things these people don't want to happen to them, except they are outright stupid.

But the irony is this: If our oppressors don't want all these aforementioned woes to befall them, why visit them upon the Ijaw nation? Why attack a nation and expect to live in peace, especially when these people have access to you and all sectors of your society? Why would you dare massacre thousands of Ijaws and think no Ijaw militant groups will emerge in the future to deal with you and your cronies? Why would you deprive us of access to our own crude oil and gas since 1957 when you know you won't tolerate that kind of thing on your own land? Why do unto us what you don't want us to do to you? Why act like you have a monopoly of violence when we have hands to lift weapons, swift feet to run with, enlightened minds to think with, an age-old connection to the rest of the world - just like you, and the will to enforce what is right at all cost? Why act like you are dealing with fools until you hear the gunshots blazing? Why wait till things fall apart before you start trying to talk to the everyday people of the land? Why would you try to continue in your myopic ways when we have risen to the challenge and we want to tidy up our land? Why stay on the ship when it has another captain? Why be hurt when you didn't feel our pain?

Why go against a moving train, mortal man. Why?

The politics of pretense has only led to cold-war scenarios, where we live together, feast on the same table, marry from eachother's families, and turn around and murder eachother. There can never be love in the house when the government is deceiving us, indirectly enslaving us, provoking us, pushing us to our limits, pushing us to the wall, leading us to insanity, caring more about gas prices than our survival, playing politics with our lives, making us watch our people die of hunger and starvation in the midst of one of the world's richest nations ever known to humankind - and worse of all, acting like nothing happened. It is such acts of political blindness and outright pride that brought great empires down in the past. You must act like you are dealing with humans when you are in power. You must serve the people, in the process of governing. You cannot play with the lives of over 16 million people and think you are going to have a jolly ride with their brethren. Life is not a rollercoaster. This is reality we are dealing with. This is as real as it gets. Don't try to deceive someone who is not a fool! Don't try to hide when you are transparent. We don't only see the people who have been doing all these evil things to us and our people, we see through them!


May the God of Ijawland be with all the families of Ijawland and all our friends and allies. May our God bless our enemies and open up their eyes so that they will see the deep pit they are walking themselves into and retreat. May the God of mercy have mercy on the souls of all the culprits who ever killed an innocent Ijaw person. May God forgive and bless them. May they change their ways so that the planet would become a better place to live in. May the God of all the ancestors and unborn descendants of Izonebe intervene fully in this case and bring freedom to the hearts and minds of the Izon Nation. May we get what we deserve from life. May the God of Creation stop all our enemies in their tracks and expose all their wicked schemes. May he enter into the places of their secret meetings and frustrate the evil plans they have made against us. Our souls are in God's hands. May the God of Justice see to it that Justice is done in the four corners of Ijawland and beyond? This, I pray, In the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

God bless you all!

Your own,


Dear Izon Nation,

Kemsese, Ah-doooh!

Nigeria is responsible for aggravating the situation and causing an escalation of the militant action we are witnessing all over the Niger-Delta. Bad security decisions and myopic policies are all factors in this.

When Ijaw youths start using the most sophisticated Iraq-type weapons against the Nigerian forces, Nigeria will still be to blame. I see us using Nigeria's own weapons against them, on our soil. The country is playing the "HANGMAN" game, as I call it. They are doing anything they can to hang us. Making us fight and making us procure arms is one of their tactics they used to brand us as militants and a national threat. Deploying troops to our region to occupy our land because of oil and gas is a tactic used to spit insults at our faces and steal our food. Declaring a war of attrition on us is a tactic Nigeria has used to turn our land into a battlefield, so for the most part, all the news coming out of our homeland will be that of war and conflicts - until we undo the big mess Nigeria has burdened us with. Nigeria is an ancient evil that we must rid ourselves of, if we are to live in peace at all and have the best of what life has to offer. It is a neo-colonialist oppressive entity that has no connection to our past and our future. They are only temporarily a part of our present. When we control the situation, Nigeria will never again have power over the Ijaw people. Nigeria will never rule us again. We will rule ourselves and defend Ijawland with our own armies!

The violence directed against us is carefully orchestrated by the powers that be, but we see through their deception. The days are coming when Nigeria will not find one person to dialogue with. They will be made to dialogue with Bullets and Bombs, like they've been doing to us. That's what they want. That country really thinks it can kill Ijaws and still retain our love and loyalty and trust. They're Stupid. Taking human lives is a very serious issue. Taking hundreds and thousands of Ijaw lives is a grave situation.

Subjecting millions of Ijaws to abject poverty and economic deprivation, in my opinion, is a crime against humanity. Reddening our soils with blood in a time of peace is worse than a war crime. It will be understandable if we were in a war. Nigeria attacked us when we were at peace, and we were supposed to be part of the federation. How can our own country rise up against us and still expect us to be part of it. 

They don't care about anything but our oil and gas and they will not get it. Nigeria must be made to pay dearly for our lost ones. May the souls of the faithful Ijaws who we have lost to Nigeria rest in perfect peace. Amen.

We should not sit down and let these people get away with genocides. It's high time we focused on Abuja and the rest of Nigeria, to consciously make them sheathe their swords or face extremity. If there is no peace in Ijawland, there should be no peace in Abuja.

Obasanjo has committed a crime against an entire country by sending his boys to kill Ijaws. They asked for war, and war is exactly what they got. What they didn't understand was that the repercussions of their evils lay at their doorsteps 24/7. Attacks on Ijaw communities will make Nigeria's nemesis creep into the windows and doors of their homes and visit justice upon them. Nobody but Ijaws will get justice for what has been done to Ijaws. The world doesn't care but we do, and we are doing something about it. Nigeria is not to be trusted again, not even for a dialogue, except we are convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that something tangable will come out of the dialogue.

They used our oil and gas wealth to purchase these gun-boats. They used our oil and gas wealth to fund the propaganda war against us. They use our oil and gas money to feed their troops and clothe and house them. They use our oil money to sustain the federation, so they have committed a grave atrocity against us and our neighbors by attacking us. Nigeria has done what no nation should do. They have bitten the finger that has been feeding them since 1957. They have blindly walked into the lion's den and they will get consumed by the hungry lions, lionesses, and their cubs. "Kala-ama Opu-ama Gbeinbade-Oh!" It's kind of like David killing Goliath. We will prevail.

Pelede Egberi Fa


Oyinpreye D

Cynthia Whyte, Ekiyor, George Kerley, Asari Dokubo, Justus Wariya and all the Members of MEND, we thank you for ensuring the safe release of the four non-Nigerians to the Abuja Government. 

Despite 48 years of Corporate and State Terrorism deliberately and systematically perpetrated by the Oil Conglomerates and the Nigerian State on peace-loving Niger Deltans especially Ijaws, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of our kith and kin through environmental pollution and diseases, no foreigner has ever been killed by any Niger Deltan or in fact, any Ijaw. We commend you for your magnanimity on this release and hope the Nigerian Government will learn some lessons. 

The main lesson the Nigerian Government must learn is that Corporate and State terrorism breeds extreme violence that can turn into a full-fledged Guerrila Warfare. Nigeria neither has the capacity nor the capability to fight a sustained Guerrila Warfare in the creeks of the Niger Delta. The whole region will be in flames. Yes, the Nigerian Government can send in the army, navy and airforce to detroy Odi, Odiama and Zaki Ibiam. How in the world will the Nigerian State protect specific targets in Ogun, Osun, Kaduna and even Abuja, if these youths are determined to retaliate with vicious and explosively violent hit and run guerrilla tactics?

The second lesson Nigeria must learn is that the Niger Delta youths have graduated from the Machete to AK-47 to Rocket Grenade Launchers and now Dynamites. The Nigerian Government through its insensitivity to the plight of the Niger Deltans should not push the youths to the next level......shoulder-held missiles or stinger missiles. Then the Genie will be out of the bottle and Nigeria will know no peace for decades. 

The third lesson Nigeria must learn is that when a society values oil more than the blood of its citizens, then such a society is sick and on the way to self-destruct. 

We also sincerely hope that Shell, Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, Agip, Eni, Total and all the other Oil Conglomerates operating in the Niger Delta will understand that the environmental terrorism they have been perpetrating on the Niger Deltans for the past 48 years will no longer be tolerated. 48 years of deliberate acts of murder on innocent human beings who just happened to be sitting on large oil reserves is unacceptable in any society, no matter how backward, forward or even "sideward" such a society is. This must stop. 

Ekiyor, my only request to Ijaw-ISS and hence, the Nigerian Government at this moment is the immediate withdrawal of the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air force from the Niger Delta. Civilians and soldiers do not mix easily. Only the Nigerian police should be allowed to provide security in the Delta. The Niger Delta is not a foreign country or a conquered territory or at war with the Nigerian State to be so militarized. If I am not mistaken, it is still a part of the entity called Nigeria. If there are no troops in Ogun, Osun and Oyo, there should be no troops in Bayelsa, Rivers or Delta. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. 

Until Nigeria has a people's constitution drafted and voted for by the people on the ground, neither the Niger Delta nor any region of the envelope called Nigeria will progress. Without a solid foundation based on a living constitution of the people by the people for the people, our long-term demands will eventually come to naught. Hence, Nigeria must without fail, initiate or support a national conference of all ethnic nationalities within its boundary to decide on the way forward. 

Have a good one. 


My fellow Ijaw men and women,

It is with great pleasure that I, Ekiyor Akparede Edotimi, Director - General, Ijaw Institute of Strategic Studies hereby announce the release of the four hostages (Patrick Landry - USA, Nigel Watson-Clark - Britain, Harry Ebanks - Honduras, Pat Crawley - Bulgaria) by our Great Ijaw Patriots: The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

At our January 2006 Executive Board of Directors tele-conference spanning three continents which was chaired by our Chairman: Justus D. Wariya; we all came to the conclusion that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had achieved a great short term Strategic and National goal for our Great Ijaw Nation; and releasing the hostages now would lay the foundation and establish a long term Strategic and National Interest goal for Ijaw Nation. It is on the basis of this conviction that we all agree to open a dialogue with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) with the sole aim of freeing the hostages in the Strategic and National Interest of the Ijaw Nation. We did not expect success neither did we expect that our call would be entertained. But we were pleasantly surprised that MEND opened a tedious, hard and patriotic deliberation on all issues that affect our Ijaw Nation, including their demands which was not easy because we cannot make any promises; for the fact that we are working purely for the Strategic and National Interest of the Ijaw Nation, which are the same goal as MEND. Anyway, with the help and intervention of The President - General of the Ijaw Nation: Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari we easily came to the conclusion that it would be in the best interest for the Ijaw nation for the hostages to be freed.

Ijaw Institute of Strategic Studies is exceedingly grateful to The President - General of the Ijaw Nation, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari for putting Ijaw Strategic and National Interest first, foremost and above his personal liberty and interest. Your self-less service to Ijaw land and the Niger Delta is an established phenomenal; and we are 100% behind you and would work hard for your immediate release. Thank you. We thank Barrister Inye Dokubo-Asari; brave Ijaw nationalist and patriots of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND); Cynthia Whyte especially; Mama Luta; TTC, and a very special thank you for George Kerley and our Chairman Justus D. Wariya. You all did a wonderful job in securing the release of the hostages. George Kerley, please take time now to sleep; you must recover from three sleepless nights. Thanks.

Ijaw Institute of Strategic Studies also wish to thank all in this forum that contributed to the debate on Ijaw Nationalism and the next level of Strategies we must employ for the Emancipation of Ijaw land and the Niger Delta. We thank Sabella Abidde, Bright Harry, Roy, Glory Adowei, Benebi Benatori, Mrs/Pastor E. George, Honest Akama, Lawrence, Preye Dorgu, Blesson Oborukumo, Abis Igoni, Herman Alamene, E. D. Ogoba, Dora Etimighan, James Nengi, Beena Youdowei, Lincoln B. Snithers, Peter Edu, D. Olotu and many, many more too numerous to mention. I salute Geoffrey Okoro, Priye Torulagha, Rowland Ekperi and Titoe.


May God Almighty continue to bless our great Ijaw nation?

Ekiyor Akparede Edotimi



Justice, Liberty, Resources and the Future

We can’t talk of peace and leave out justice, Evah insists

This Injustice Will Not Stand!

The Town Crier TTC

The abysmally depressing environmental

Dear Izon Nation

Niger Delta and military solution

Dear Izon Nation

Cynthia Whyte
, Ekiyor, George Kerley, Asari Dokubo, Justus Wariya

My fellow Ijaw men and women,