United Ijaw
"How many of us will want our own heritage, in our own area to be devastated, exploited and expended for the common good with the result that we will be the people who suffer as a consequence?"....Chief Gilbert Akinyede, CON
We Dare To Be Different

“ if the Confab and Nigerians are not willing to heed to Resource Control, they will take it by force”....
Oronto Douglas

The Case for Resource Control


By Priye S. Torulagha

Following the impasse at the National Political Reform Conference between delegates from the South-South and the North, political nerves have been frayed.  In particular, political battle lines have been drawn between Nigerians from the oil-producing states and those from the non-oil producing states.  The unexpected development has led to a tumultuous debate between Nigerians who want a change in the status quo and those who want things to remain the way they are in the management of the oil business in Nigeria. The debate is straining the country, just like the debate over Aburi Conference strained and eventually led to the bloody civil war.


By carefully analyzing the arguments coming from both sides, it appears that communication is not taking place as both sides religiously claim the rightness of their positions.  Another interesting development coming from the debate is that there are numerous misrepresentations and misinterpretations.  Writers are literally searching all over the globe to find evidence or mathematical equations, or theories to back their positions, regardless of the inappropriateness of the evidence or equations or theories to the Nigerian situation.  Some have resorted to alarmist tactics in order to spur action on the part of certain people.  


The issue of resource control has so much to do with the failure of leadership in the country.  Successive Nigerian leaders ignored or failed to resolve substantive national issues.  Each time they were confronted with a serious political issue, they would push it aside or threaten to use force to stop the matter from being discussed or resolved amicably.    In fact, the current National Political Reform Conference is actually a staged substitute for a Sovereign National Conference because the president and the power-wielders did not want to confront the issues that have prevented or thwarted  unity and progress.  The failure to deal with critical national matters, since independence, led to the demand for creation of states, the Tiv riots, the civil war, the religious riots, Bakassi imbroglio, and resource control. For now, resource control is the hottest topic in town.  So, what is the issue about resource control?


Basically, the oil-producing states are demanding a greater input in the control and management of oil business in the country. They want the following changes so that equity can take place in the allocation of revenue and the use of oil revenue for the development of the country:  (1) The restoration of the principle of derivation as the impetus for the allocation of oil revenue.  (2)  A demand for increase in oil revenue allocation from the current 13% to 25 or 50%.   (3) The elimination of the Petroleum Act, the Land Use Decrees, the National Waterways Decree, and any other law or decree which concentrates too much power in the hands of the national government and contributes to the unequal distribution of oil revenue. (4) The management of the oil business by the states and not by the Federal Government. (5)  A true national development plan that is reflective of the national character and not selective development.


Reasons for demanding a Greater Control of the Oil Business


1.  Principle of Derivation:  When groundnut cocoa, palm oil etc. were the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, the principle of derivation based on 50/50% was the basis for allocating revenue.  The regions were able to use the money accruing from these resources to develop their infrastructure.  There was no argument about groundnut, cocoa, palm oil etc being the properties of all Nigerians.  The COCOA HOUSE in Ibadan is a product of derivation.  The regions that did not produce these agricultural products did not make it a do or die national issue.


The citizens of the Niger Delta cannot understand why oil is not allowed to operate under the same principle of derivation. They believe that the same standard should apply across the board, regardless of the product or the region.  They are convinced that the derivation formula was changed in order to transfer wealth from the oil-producing region to the non-oil producing regions since Nigerian leaders have generally originated from the non-oil producing regions.


2.   Increase in Oil Revenue Allocation:  Based upon the principle of derivation, they want an increase in oil revenue allocation.  Currently, the Federal Government determines what the states get.   Generally, the rate of allocation is done arbitrarily, based upon political calculations of who is in power and which region is the most dominant force in the country.   The oil-producing communities abhor the arbitrariness of the allocation process.  Since oil became a mainstay of the national economy, the rates accruing to the oil-producing states have been variously set at 13%, 2%, 1%, and 13%.  


3.  The Undemocratic and Arbitrary Laws:  The oil producing states believe that the Petroleum Act, the Land Use decrees and other laws instituted by the Federal Government are innately unjust and should be repealed.   Most of these laws were passed during military dictatorships. 


a.  They believe that the laws are unjust, undemocratic and a violation of their natural rights because they cannot even make decisions concerning the use of their own lands.   They feel constantly violated that the Federal Government would grant permission to foreign oil companies to come into their territories and violate their rights at will.   The oil companies have for more than forty years inflicted massive environmental destruction on their lands and waters, thereby, destroying their traditional means of economic livelihood, such as farming and fishing. 


b.  They want the laws to be abrogated because under the Petroleum Act and the Land Use decrees, the Federal Government has failed woefully to be a good caretaker of their lands. When a caretaker fails to properly discharge his/her responsibilities, the person is terminated for failure. The Federal Government has been an ineffective  caretaker.


C.  They want to take proper care of their lands because the Federal Government does not even have an environmental program to clean the environment after the oil companies have polluted it. The federal government keeps setting up timetables for stopping gas flaring and then changing them whenever the oil companies demand postponement.  This shows that the Federal Government cared more about oil and less about the people who own the lands. In some places, both the humans and the animals can barely differentiate night from day, due to constant gas flaring.  Nigeria is considered to be the world’s greatest offender in gas flaring.


d.  Due to the failure of the Federal Government to effectively manage the land, the Niger Delta people are suffering from poverty, malnutrition, and incurable diseases emanating from the chemicals that seep into the water and pollute the air. It is even predicted that the oil-producing areas could suffer from earthquakes in the future due to oil exploration.


e.  They believe that the Federal Government is trying to annihilate them incrementally through biochemical poisoning and they feel that they have no other option but to act now or perish. They believe that they have sacrificed disproportionally toward the economic sustenance of the country.


f.  They believe that the Land Use Decrees are not applied equally to other minerals in the country.  In areas inwhich gold, tin, limestone, bitumen, columbite, kaolin, coal, diamond, bauxite, gypsum, byrite, zinc, aluminium, salt, tantalite, and other critical minerals are found, the land use standard is applied differently to those communities.  They wonder why Nigerians are not willing to debate strenuously or threaten to go to war over aforementioned minerals.  They wonder why there is no national debate over the management of gold or tin or any other mineral.   They wonder why the Federal Government does not put sufficient effort to cultivate these minerals.  They wonder why is the debate only over oil.  By the way, with the exception of oil, private individual initiatives are encouraged in the exploration of above minerals.


g.  The current land use laws treat the communities in the Niger Delta has colonial possessions of Nigeria, rather than parts of Nigeria. When they protest, security forces are sent to teach them a lesson by destroying their communities and killing them. Nigerian government officials have tended to support the positions of the oil companies rather than the people of the Niger Delta. This creates the impression that Nigeria is a neocolonial state.


3.  State Management of Oil Operations. The oil-producing states want national decentralization of authority over oil management so that the states can manage the process. They believe that since they live in the oil belt, they are keenly aware of the fragility of the environment and would do a better job policing the oil business.  In return for managing the oil business, just as the Western Region managed the cocoa business, the Eastern Region managed the palm oil business and the North managed the groundnut and cotton businesses during the 1960s, they will pay taxes or comply with whatever financial arrangement that both sides agree upon. Thus, denationalization of the oil sector is the most compatible means of federalizing and democratizing the nation’s economic system. Currently, Nigeria operates as a federal system in theory and as a unitary system in practice, thereby, resulting in structural incongruity.


5.  National Development:  As the minorities predicted before independence, minority areas of the country have suffered due to neglect. In particular, contrary to the recommendations of the Willink Commission, the Federal Government of Nigeria has totally neglected and abandoned the Niger Delta.  Successive regimes ignored the region in their national budgets and development plans, thereby, depriving the region of opportunity for growth.


The neglect and abandonment continued even after the region became the fufuplate of the country for almost four decades. Prime Minister Abubakar Tafewa Balewa instituted the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) without funding it sufficiently to make a difference. The military abolished the NDDB by starving it of funds. Among Nigeria’s heads of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon was the fist to create states and construct the East/West road.  Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, President Shehu Shagari, Lt. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, President Ernest Shonekan, Gen. Sani Abacha, and Lt. Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, totally ignored and neglected the Niger Delta. The only thing they cared about was the flow of oil revenue from the region.  These Nigerian leaders engaged in purposeful transfer of wealth from the Niger Delta to other parts of the country. Even the Petroleum Trust Fund was designed to transfer wealth from the region, hence, most of the projects carried out by the PTF funds were centered in other regions of the country.


Even employment in the oil companies seem to be reserved mostly for Nigerians from the non-oil producing states.  The indigenes of the Niger Delta cannot even gain employment in the oil companies that operate in their backyards.  Most of the contracts relating to oil operations are given to contractors from the non-oil producing regions. Most oil blocks are given or awarded to Nigerians from the non-oil producing states, depending on their connections to the power-wielders. It is abundantly clear that the neglect and abandonment of the Niger Delta is total. 

Reasons for opposing changes to the current formula over revenue allocation:

Nigerians who opposed changes to the current formula are generally from the non-oil producing regions.  They justify their opposition based on the following arguments:

1.  Some argue that oil exploration was funded by money accruing from groundnut, cocoa, palm oil, cotton, and other agricultural products.  Consequently, oil revenue belongs to all Nigerians and not just the oil producing states.  These Nigerians want total federal control and management of the oil sector.

2.  Some in the North believe that the oil-producing states want hundred percent control of oil revenue in order to prevent the North from sharing it, hence, they insist that revenue allocation to the oil producing states should not go beyond 17% from the current level of 13%.  They are afraid that 25% or 50% would deprive other parts of the country much needed funds for development and sustenance.

3.  Some argue that the governors of the oil-producing states have not been accountable over the use of money allocated to them under the 13% formula for the development of the Niger Delta, therefore, they do not deserve revenue increase. 

4.  Some have argued that the Federal Government has a right to own all the revenue accruing from oil since it won the civil war.  This argument is derived from the perspective generally known as “to the conqueror belongs the spoils of war.”

 5.  Some have argued that it is the greedy elites of the Niger Delta that are clamoring for resource control so that they can loot more and enrich themselves. 


Analysis of the two Positions

By critically examining both sides of the oil question, it is obvious that those who oppose changing the current arrangement do not have solid foundations upon which to stand on..  


a.  The current arrangement has been in existence for more than thirty years.  Instead of making life better for Nigerians, it has actually made the situation worse.  In the Niger Delta, life is very bleak, due to total governmental neglect.


b.  The funding of oil exploration began during the colonial period.  The British government made it possible for Shell British Petroleum to have an overwhelming edge against other oil companies.  Therefore, it is not proper to say that oil exploration depended on revenue from agricultural products at the time.   Generally, the oil companies have their own budgets for explorative purposes. Nigeria only became an active partner in sponsoring oil exploration later as the economy shifted toward dependence on oil.


c.  When groundnut, cotton, cocoa, palm oil etc. were the main sources of the economy, the Niger Delta gained very little because derivation made it possible for the regional leaders to utilize the revenue from those products to develop their own areas without sharing them nationally.Nigeria operated like a confederacy at the time. Can anyone point out what benefits did the Niger Delta gained from those agricultural products?  The region has always been neglected and abandoned by both regional and national power-wielders.


d.  The oil-producing states simply want a fair share in the distribution of oil revenue and the management of oil operations. Their lands and waters are being polluted and destroyed on daily basis. They are primarily bearing the brunt of gas flaring. Yet, the reward from the oil bounty goes to others.  They are the only Nigerians who cannot make decisions over the use of their own lands. Nigerians from the non-oil producing regions dictate the management of land in the Niger Delta. The oil companies ignored them after making secret deals with the powerwielders in Lagos and Abuja


e.  There is no doubt that many public officials in the oil-producing states are corrupt, just like public officials in other states of the nation.  In short, the entire nation is corrupt, therefore, a different standard should not apply to public officials in the oil-producing states. Between 1999 and 2003, $170 billion was embezzled in Nigeria.  Financial accountability and transparency are much desired nationally so that development can take place, not only in the Niger Delta but throughout the entire country.


However, this argument is hypocritical since efforts have always been made by the national power-wielders to install political leaders in the Niger Delta who are controllable from Lagos or Abuja. It is hypocritical to shed crocodile tears for non-performance by the political executives of the oil-producing states after actually helping to put them in power in an effort to make them answerable to corrupt national power-wielders rather than to the people of the region.  It should be noted that patriotic sons of the region have systematically been eliminated or prevented from ruling because they were not controllable or answerable to Lagos or Abuja.  Those eliminated include Isaac Boro, Dr. Obi Walli, Pa Rewane, Chief Ken Saro Wiwa, Chief Marshall Harry, Chief Dikibo etc. Chief Ibru narrowly escaped death.


In addition, it is inappropriate to point fingers at public officials in the Niger Delta for non-performance when governors in other regions too have failed to use their portions of the revenue to diversify their own economies.  It would have made more sense if those raising accusing fingers were able to use their own portions of the oil revenue to build their state economies so that they do not have to depend solely on oil.  The fact that they are almost totally depended on oil to operate their own state governments show that they too have not been performing. 


Therefore, the recent US effort to revoke visas of Nigeria’s corrupt public officials is commendable.  In fact, the US should make it an official policy not to grant visas to any corrupt Nigerian, whether public official or not. Britain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Spain, and other countries should join the US to institute measures to stop or prevent corrupt public officials from the developing countries from gaining entry into their countries.


f.  The concept of  “ to the conqueror belongs the spoils of war’ does not make any sense. Nigeria fought a civil war, not a transnational or an international war to keep the country one. Nigeria promised “No Victor No Vanquished” at the end of the war.  The Niger Delta is part of Nigeria. Consequently, to say that the Federal Government won the war against Biafra, therefore, it has an inalienable right to loot the wealth of the Niger Delta is to imply that the Niger Delta is not part of Nigeria.  More over, such attitude can only engender perpetual instability due to the fact that the people of the Niger Delta would resist such a naked violation of their rights, just as the people of the Ace Region in Indonesia, the Native Americans in Peru and Ecuador, the Cabinda people in Angola, various groups in the Republic of the Congo, and Southern Sudan are resisting exploitation and marginalization. Additionally, if the Niger Delta is treated as a captured territory and not as part of Nigeria, then those who have this theoretical orientation are actually laying the foundation for the people of the Niger Delta to go to the United Nations to ask for a trusteeship status.  In fact, the citizens of the region have been very patient and tolerant, if not, they should have gone to the United Nations by now to seek protection since Nigeria is unable to offer them protection, apart from exploiting and exposing them to environment hazards. Likewise, if the citizens of the Niger Delta were not patriotic Nigerians, they would have sued the Federal Government, claiming damages and interest, for the expropriation of revenue accruing from the resources of their lands, for using the expropriated funds for massive development and modernization of Lagos and Abuja, for  transfer of the wealth to other parts of the country, and for allowing uninhibited embezzlement of the oil revenue


g.  Similarly, the view that other Nigerians invested and fought to liberate the Niger Delta from Biafran control is a contradiction of freedom.  If you fight to free someone, why then simultaneously enslave the person by perpetually subjugating and exploiting him/her?  In other words, it is absurd to supposedly free a person in one hand and then enslave the person on the other hand through a form of economic colonialism.  Why liberate someone from a bad situation and then put the person in a situation far worse than the bad situation?  It is more than thirty years since the civil war ended.


The “we fought the war to liberate you” is not a sufficient excuse to continue to exploit and persecute the people of the Niger Delta.  After all, the region contributed money and personnel toward the war. Most of the arms used to fight the war came from the oil revenue that the region supplied.  In fact, without the active participation of the Ijaws, Ibibios, Efiks, Edos, Itsekiris, Ishans, Ilajes, Ogojas, Urhobos, Isokos, the outcome of the civil war would have been very different. It is a distortion of the facts to infer that the region was liberated without active contribution by the indigenes of the region.


Those who maintain this indefensible position are actually setting the stage for another confrontation by constantly referring to the civil war.  If that is the case, then why blame the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) for continuing to revive the Biafran movement. It is a dangerous political game to say that the war is over and then continue to use it as an excuse to exploit the Niger Delta and sow discord between the Niger Delta and the South East.  Similarly, since there was “No Victor No Vanquished,” why continue to punish military and police officers who served in Biafra by denying them their pensions?  These tactics are a violation of the national security of the country and tend to revive old wounds.


6.  Some believe that the status quo should remain because the citizens of the Niger Delta do not have the technical manpower, management experience, and the resources to operate the oil industry. This is an irrelevant excuse for wanting to maintain the status quo. Nigeria has been in the oil business for more than forty years, yet, it still depends on multinational oil companies to do the actual exploration. Nigeria, with all its brains, technical manpower and management experience, has been managing the oil business woefully. Well, even today, Nigerian leaders and officials really do not know how much quantity of oil is being produced daily. Nigerian leaders rely on the oil companies to inform them of the production figures. Nigeria cannot even guarantee a steady supply of petroleum in the country. Nigeria occasionally imports oil from other countries.  Nigeria has not been able to utilize the oil revenue to develop the country to the betterment of the citizenry. Nigerians are actually getting poorer today than in the heydays of agriculture. There is a general infrastructural decay. The educational sector is in shambles. Therefore, where is the expertise? What is wrong if the citizens of the Niger Delta decide to sign contract with the oil companies to operate the oil business? Almost every developing country depends one way or another on multinational oil companies to assist them in managing oil operations.


7.  Some Nigerians even justify the need not to develop the Niger Delta, arguing that the region is a wasteland and too expensive to do so.   To that view, one could recall that in the 1970s and 1980s, Nigeria invested billions of dollars to develop Lagos which is located on a topography similar to the Niger Delta.  Moreover, there was no argument when billions of dollars from the Niger Delta were used to develop rocky Abuja. If billions of dollars from the Niger Delta could be used to develop Lagos and Abuja, why is it so difficult to use some of the billions from the Niger Delta to develop the Niger Delta? 


It is indeed shameful that failure of leadership, the need to get rich very quickly through looting of public funds, tribalism, regionalism, and greed have resulted in a scramble to grab ownership of natural resources by any means possible.


After more than four decades of exploitation, it is time for Nigeria to resolve the Niger Delta question, once and for all.  The reasons put forward to oppose changing the status quo in the management of the oil business are not sufficient to justify a circumstance in which the richest part of the country is the poorest.  In fact, the Niger Delta is considered to be one of the most underdeveloped regions of Africa. 


Self-determination and Nigeria’s oil

Vanguard Tuesday, June 28, 2005

If people get mad because questions are asked, are we then to stop asking questions? That is the question you are tempted to ask with the walkout of South-South Delegates to the Abuja confab, when the question of resource control became too hot.

It would not be pessimistic or simplistic to surmise that the answer to that question might never be found, not in that congregation. The problem is not with the many questions that the delegates have been able to raise, and successfully thrash in the meeting. If the Abuja confab had merely been a community relations meeting with interested parties coming together to untie a few difficult knots, it might have been a different matter altogether. Alas, this is a confab which is hoped by its conveners to address very volatile issues involving more than a hundred individuals, two hundred and fifty ethnic nationalities and dozens of different religions, including atheism. It’s success would therefore be a miracle, in spite of the participation of many brilliant, very experienced and fiercely patriotic minds.

Eggs put in a refrigerator will simply not hatch. The medium is totally wrong. The right medium would be, of course, one which has been empowered by, and is thus truly representative of the people whose fates are being decided. Still, the fact must be respected, that a set of people have decided to come together on the one common ground and taken hold of the one chance they have, no matter how illegal, to continue to ask the same questions which have been asked even before Ken Saro-Wiwa got religious and took up the Ogoni struggle. This is certain to have a particular effect.

As far as timing, space and opportunity go, the conduct of South-South governors gives you the impression that what they are protesting in reality is not the percentage of oil revenues that are given to their states, but the ridiculous structure of a polity which denies a people of the right to self determination. With nations such as Angola making huge investments in both the drilling and refining of petroleum, those such as Nigeria have learnt the very hard way, that our oil has been our curse, and that the development of the human resource is of far greater importance than that of natural resources. Unfortunately, our knowledge has not translated into action — not anywhere in Nigeria, definitely not in the South-South.

It was the economist Alexander Boyo who has argued that Nigeria’s net imports, excessive as they might seem, do not outdo the exports. The question he had raised then was one challenging the consistent unpward movement of the value of the naira in spite of this assertion. Analysts have tried to hinge this anomaly, if correctly diagnosed in the first place, on massive forex flight and corruption associated with the operations of the Nigerian oil industry as it exists today and has been for a long time. Since most of our export revenues derive from petroleum resources, it stands to reason that the domestic economy would not benefit from them if much is repatriated overseas on a consistent basis. It would be another matter altogether if the people of the Niger Delta had the technical wherewithal to get their own oil out of the ground. Even then, there are issues far bigger to the Nigerian geographical and economic expressions: the right to self determination for instance.

Terrorism and us

To say that Nigeria was shaken with the closure of the US, Italian, German and British embassies in Lagos would be an understatement. This is particularly so as the closures were attributed to security scares. It was as though we have cause to be very worried of some guys when the world’s superpowers are! But reactions from our side have been of a mixed grill type. While hundreds of security duties have been discharged into the streets of Lagos since then in an admirable development, the reaction of government by speech, leaves much to be desired. The speech of the president’s spokesman was not only unconvincing, it sounded not very serious — like the speech of a man who understands the seriousness of the situation.

A security matter has been misconstrued for a diplomatic and political one. Seemingly more fearful groups have spent the better part of the following weekend in meetings, and the opening of the American embassy has lifted much of the anxiety in the air. Allegations of terrorism threats have been undermined, particularly since they have not been experienced. All in all, Nigeria seems to be as far from a terrorism experience as the earth is to the moon, and the fact that it has happened in East Africa seems to have been forgotten. While our security intelligence unit is working on it, we must realize that Nigeria, while getting absorbed in a globalized world, has absorbed all the liabilities of such a world. These liabilities include the threat of terrorism on her grounds, and it is important that we make our official stand on the evil open and clear.

Resource Control

By Samuel Uwhejevwe-Togbolo

Email: mfyai@yahoo.com



A contentious issue needs to be resolved with a good frame of mind. With the present debate in the plenary session of the National Political Reform Conference as against Resource Control is born out of shallow minds that are not ready to listen to the plight of the minority. As it is, one would be tempted to say that the unity of the country is been threatened as a result of sycophants roaring like wooded lion. The work out of South South delegates from the conference on Tuesday June 14 2005 is an indication of seriousness committed to correct the ill treatment metted on the people. If I may quote a word from the holy Bible “ Right from the time of John the Baptist the Kingdom of God suffereth violence and violence takes it by force” to buttress it all, in the words of Barr. Oronto Douglas a representative of the South South from Bayelsa state once said “ if the Confab and Nigerians are not willing to heed to Resource Control, they will take it by force”. With claims and counter claims from delegates of the different regions on the saga of resource control could be a beginning of a turbulent period in a once militarized country ruined by the Juntas counting its losses and trying to recoup.


The people of the South South are nursing the mind of a betrayed region within the confines of Nigeria, where they suppose to be a part. South South region has seen themselves as second class citizens who take order from the first class citizens. They not only feel cheated but also felt dejected, doomed, as there is know remorse feelings by their fellow Nigerians from other parts of the country. They have (First Class Citizens) come to conclusion that the people who produce the wealth of the nation should die amidst their natural endowment, while their counterparts live in luxury.


The National Political Reform Conference was constituted to proffer solution to problems and agitations from every part, of the country. The conference seems to have been hijacked by some monsters with self-agenda ready to cause problems rather than solve problems. These are the same crop of people who have been bastardizing the nation right from the time of military rule, which led to the annulment of June 12 that election which cumulated in the death of Chief M.K.O. Abiola the acclaimed winner of the presidential election in 1993. The same set of people are out to perpetuate their destructive act, they are agent of devil who did not mean well for the country.


CONFAB delegates need to put the interest of the country above individual interest and work for the betterment of our democracy; their duty is to formulate policy that will liberate us from the shackle of darkness to an enviable height, a policy that the youths, Nigerians and our children yet unborn will tap from which will be a testimony of the past. They should not be bias in their debate; there should be fair play, justice and equity. The sentiment of who benefits from the reform policy should be discarded; position should be made as to how other regions that have fewer resources will be taking care of in the formulation of such policies.


The parochial view of most Nigerians is that they have nothing to do with another regions problem no matter the pains and agony the people are passing through. We need to have a re-orientation of our past feelings concerning our fellow compatriot, hence we acclaim in the pledge obeying Nigeria and upholding it’s unity; with disregard and dishonesty there will be no unity. However the unity of our beloved country cannot be compromise for anything else. The problem, travail of a region should be seen as a collective problem in that way we will be able to find lasting solution to our inherent and unforeseen circumstances.   We are all Nigerians, therefore human rights as enshrine in the 1999 constitution should take its precedence in all we do and say.


In the light of the forgoing, the Delegates from the Northern Axis need to thread with caution; usually contentious issue like resource control needs not be treated as a riddles as in the past, it should be given a reasonable evaluation and critically analyzed before position are made to such effect.


The parochial thinking of Nigerians of yesterday should not be employed in today’s Nigerian state; as the world is growing digital so also Nigerians are becoming conscious of their rights growing momentum to correct their mistakes of the past. This implies; give what belong to Caesar to Caesar and that of God to God, if applied to our present day Nigeria “ give what is due to the people of the South South and that which is due to the North vis a vis” Perhaps the North want to dominate the South South people for all they care, they need to exhibit the spirit of sportsmanship with some level of fairness and tranquility then and only then there will be a compromise on this Resource Control rather than treat it with arrogancy born sheer of wickedness, hatred and hostility. 


 What is the argument of the North and South South Delegates in the National Political Reform Conference? The South South delegates are professing Resource Control base on their Natural endowment cumulated with neglect and dejection by the Federal Government melted on the people; they complained of environmental degradation as a result of oil exploration and exploitation. Their farmlands no longer have good produce; the rivers are polluted as a result of oil spillage thereby forcing fishes to deep sea. The area of youth restiveness is another set back due to inability by the oil companies to keep their promise. Unemployment is on the increase at a time of economic hardship where common man cannot buy the cheapest commodity (GARRI AND SOME MAJOR FOOD STUFFS), which is mostly consumed by the poor.  These are some of the injustice the people are experiencing with the introduction of the land use Decree promulgated by Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo in 1979when he was the military head of state. If the South South people must be considered the salient issue which gave birth to Resource Control be considered in the ongoing National Political Reform Conference. Thus, the only way to positioning the injustice meted on the people.


The Northern delegates are laying siege to the clamour for Resource Control base on selfish interest as a majority. They usually base their argument on 13% derivations currently giving to the oil producing state; it is left for the people to acclaim to the fact if the resources are not properly used to fund their projects. It is also on record that the states in the South South region spend more money on the payment of salaries than that of their northern counterparts. The terrestrial tarring in the South South region cannot be compare to that of the north either; in as much the 13% derivation is not effectively used according to spectators, it has touched the life of the people in its own small way. It is a fact, which must be accepted. Perhaps the delegates from the north do not want to appreciate the purpose, for which the CONFAB stands to correct, castigating the position of the South South in the CONFAB will not augur well in our nascent democracy. As Nigerians, we will not want to be dragged to the mud, perhaps the Northerners have seen themselves as the Royal House of Nigeria as in England, to crown it all as the Alfa and Omega. If we must move forward, the Confab delegates should listen and attend to the plight of all regions as it affects their mutual co-existence within the confines of the Nigeria states.


According to Northerners Democratic Coalition group, through their spokes person Rabiu Khalid, he requested for a review of the 17% derivation proposed by the delegate’s base on the environmental degradation and other vices experienced by the people of the South South. In the same vain, Abdullahi a member of the group also supported the 17% upward review.  Commenting on the issue, a presidential spokes person Remi Oyo also unveil the plains by President Olusengu Obasanjo to discuss with the south south delegate based on the current position of the region. This is the right way to handle issues, which may cause a friction in the country. There should be a round table discussion instead of underestimating any group be it minority or majority. However the South South are not advocating total Control of Resource deposited in their region, they are considerate enough to think of the plight of other regions. They are asking for 50% derivation as it was in 1963 and 1966 in the era of cocoa. With series of debate and counter debates in the CONFAB they settled for 25% with upward review of 5% annually until it gets to 50%. Giving the little analysis, it could be said that the South South are patriotic to the plight of other regions. Resource Control will not only benefit the oil producing states, it will also encourage other states to improve on their mineral deposits. This will encourage Agricultural produce mostly in the North.


Resource Control is a right in a true federal system of Government; it is the liberalization of all state within the confines of Nigeria as a country. The struggle for justice and equity may take longer than expected but the end will justify the means.


Movement for Youth Actualization International (MYAI) a Non governmental organization (NGO) in Nigeria



Dear Bright & All


I understand that C is what you are opposing. You do not want C to be part of an operational cost or expense, but you want the oil producing states or communities to take that responsibility. To me this approach is not wise because the variable C will still end up as an expense. Thus, it is not money that we can use for development or infrastructure development.

Remember that mitigation of the environment is the responsibility of the oil companies doing exploitation or production. Thus, you do not want to absolve these companies by taking their responsibility of environmental cleanup. If you give them that option they would even do worst than what it is today by using cheap equipments that do not meet environmental control standards. It all comes down to strictly enforcing our environmental laws, yes, all tiers of government should be involved in establishing the environmental laws and enforcement, including the local communities. Penalties in case the oil companies fail to meet their commitments should be paid into an escrow account for transparency. However, that should not absolve them (oil companies) from cleaning up. This is the practice in the US, Canada and other advanced countries. Also remember it is the same US and European oil companies that operate in the Niger Delta. If they can adhere to the environmental laws in their countries they can adhere to ours if enforced.


We all know that the only reason why our environment is so degraded is because the federal government that has eminent domain by unconstitutional means (through military incursion) has always collaborated with the oil companies not to enforce her existing environmental laws. This would be different if both the producing states and local communities are involved in enforcement, including the ability of stopping non-complying companies from further production and etc. There is already precedence; the Ogonis were able to achieve that, stopping Shell from exploitation of their land. For instance here in California and other US states, as you well know the states are empowered to enforce their environmental laws due to their true federal system. That is all we are asking FG to empower our states to strictly enforce these laws. I strongly believe that when power is decentralized, the people nearest to the areas of exploration and production will change the status quo. Thus, the mantra is enforcement, enforcement!!




Bright Harry <bharry88@yahoo.com> wrote:

Dear Peter and Forumites:

It appears I did not do a good job in making my simplified analysis more comprehensible. I’ll try again.

First, let’s look at the symbols one more time:

T = Total Oil Exploration Gross Revenue.
E = Total Oil Exploration Expenses.
C = Environmental Cleanup Cost.
L = Loss of Livelihood.
P1 = Total profit for the Oil Companies and theFederal Government.
P2 = Profit for the Oil Companies.
P3 = Profit for the Federal Government.

The variable C is a fraction of T. This T is the Gross Revenue generated by the Oil Companies. It is not Net Revenue or Net Income. In short, T is the Total Income generated by the Oil Companies in say, this fiscal year. No expenses are deducted at all in T. Note that the Federal Government does not generate any Oil Revenue. They receive part of the Gross Oil Revenue, T as P3.

The Oil Companies, the Federal Government and the Oil Producing Communities should be responsible for the environmental clean up. Hence, C should be placed in an escrow Account and must be transparent. The physical clean up can be done by the Oil Companies or a Third party. The point is the Ijaw Communities should not entrust control of the clean up to the Oil Companies alone. They are business entities and will cut corners at our expense. So would the Federal Government. It has been happening since 1958.

C is for current and future cost of environmental clean up. It is different from reparation, which encompasses environmental clean up cost since 1958 and loss of income of the Ijaws (fishing, farming, ill-health, etc) as a result of previous Oil and gas pollution.

L which is actually loss of income of the Ijaws as a result of the environmental pollution is also current and for the future. Until the environment is cleaned up and our fish stock and ground water are back to normal, the Oil Companies and the Federal Government must compensate the Ijaws. This is what L stands for.

The simplified and modified equations will look like this:

P1 = P2 + P3
P1 = T- E – C – L

The South-South delegates should fight to control C and L. The bigger they are, the more money they get for environmental clean up and development. L will be used for development.

Now let’s take an actual example from the figures below recently posted by Bolaji Aluko:

For May, distributed in June 2005, we have:

Total revenue...............N309.958 billion
Federation Account..........N208.3billion
Difference..................N101.658 billion

Federation Account:
Federal Government...........N97.447billion  (52.65%of subtotal)
States...............................N49.426billion  (26.72%of subtotal)
Local governments............N38.105billion  (20.63%of subtotal)
Derivation fund*............ N23.38billion Â

Amount controlled by FGN...,N199.105 billion (64.24%of total revenue)

*Equal to 13%; hence 100% is N179.85 billion, or 58%of total revenue Ratio of oil revenue to nonoil revenue = 58/42 = 1.38

Average oilproducing revenue for state/LG......2.40
Average nonoilproducing revenue for state/LG...1.83
Ratio of oil/nonoil averages:  1.31

There you have it.

Bolaji Aluko

The above Total Revenue of N309.958 billion is P3 and not T.  Let’s assume the Total Oil Exploration Gross Revenue, T is 3 x N309.958 billion or N929.874 billion.  Let’s also assume that P2 = P3 = N309.958 billion. Hence, E = N309.958 billion. This so because C = 0 and L = 0 in the present distribution scheme. C is probably absorbed as part of the operational expenses.

This is what I am proposing. Let C = 5% of T or 5% of N929.874 billion = N46.494 billion. This amount is taken upfront and put in an escrow account belonging to the Oil Producing Communities for environmental clean up. Let’s forget L for now and assume it to be zero. P2 is still N309.958 billion and hence P3 = P1 – P2 = (T – E – C – L) – P2 or (N929.874 - N309.958 - N46.494 – 0) - N309.958 = N263.464 billion. This P3 (N263.464 billion) is the amount the Federal Government gets for distribution instead of the above N309.958 billion. The Oil Producing States are better off with C and L as part of the derivation fund instead of 90% of who knows what of derivation.

I hope I have done a better job in explaining myself this time.

Best wishes.

Peter Edu <peteoedu@yahoo.com> wrote:

Dear Bright & All:

Thanks for your simplified analysis, and bringing us back to basic economics. However, I have a comment on your variable (C, representing environmental cleanup). Don't you think the oil companies should be responsible for the cost of environmental cleanup, and as such variable C becomes part of their operational cost? We do not want them to further plunge our environment in ruins, if we take the responsibility of cleanup. Rather your variable C should represent reparation for the prior many years of environmental damage with the percent graduated over the years, and also include penalty (in terms of punitive damages) when the oil companies fail to meet their responsibility as regards environmental cleanup.
Bright Harry <bharry88@yahoo.com> wrote:

Hello Hosiah, Peter and Everyone:

I think you guys have been suckered into Bolaji Aluko’s academic exercise which is useless in the Real World of Business. Having run an engineering company for more than 10 years, I can assure you that the convoluted and confabulated mathematical equation of Bolji Aluko is useless in the business world. Oil exploration is a business and not an academic exercise. If Bolaji Aluko is serious, he should explain his mathematical formulation in a language that even a high school kid can understand. Now, this is how our folks or delegates should approach the Revenue Distribution issue.

Let’s assume the Total Oil Exploration Gross Revenue (T) for both the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Oil Companies for this fiscal year is $200.

Let’s also assume that the Total Oil Exploration Expenses (E) for this fiscal year is $50. This includes salaries, equipment costs, operational costs, insurance and etc.

For the same fiscal year, the Environmental Cleanup Cost (C) for the areas of operation, namely the Niger Delta is between 5% and 10% of T. This cost (C) must be taken out of T before any profit is shared by the Oil companies and the Federal Government. It must be taken upfront as the cost of doing business and paid directly to the affected communities for environmental clean up. This is the norm in the business world. Taking the lower C, 5% of T gives $10. The non-oil producing states including Ekiti do not have oil pollution and hence are not entitled to C.

Now, let’s see what is left for profit (P1) to be shared by the Federal Government and the Oil Companies. P1 = T – E – C = $200 - $50 - $10 = $140. To make this calculation simpler, we will say P2 is the profit of the Oil Companies and P3 is the profit of the Federal Government. Thus, P1 = P2 + P3.  Let P2 be $40 for the Oil Companies. Then P3 for the Federal Government is $100.

P3 = $100 is the money that will be shared by the Federal Government and all the States including Abuja. If they so choose, they can now apply Bolaji Aluko’sconvoluted equations for the revenue sharing. If the rest of Nigeria excluding the South-South States wants to pay 17% or 20% instead of the requested 25% derivation fund, then we increase the environmental cleanup cost (C) from 5% to 10% or $20. As such, P1 becomes $130 or $200 - $50 - $20. In California, C maybe as high as 30% of T and hence this is a bargain.

Assuming P2 is still $40, the Federal Government now has $90 to share with all 36 States and Abuja. You can still use Bolaji Aluko’s equation here, if you so choose.

The South-South delegates should emphasize C, the environmental cleanup cost. If the other delegates are still not satisfied, then we should add loss of our livelihood [fishing, farming, etc] (L) at a cost of at least 10% of T or $20. Environmental clean up cost has nothing to do with the loss of our livelihood resulting from the deliberate destruction of the Niger Delta environment by the Oil companies and the Nigerian State. In short the South-South delegates should increase C + L, whenever the Non-oil producing states attempt to reduce the derivation fund for the Oil producing states. C + L will always bring more money.

The non-oil sector is miniscule and should not have been included with the oil sector revenue. They should be calculated and shared separately. Bolaji Aluko put that in to create more confusion. Furthermore, as Peter stated, Bolaji Aluko’s assumptions are wrong.

Finally our delegates should remind the non-oil producing states that the people of the Niger Delta are not ready to die so that states like Ekiti can live. If states like Ekiti did not give a damn whether the South-South people survived or not for the past 40 years, why should the people of the Niger Delta care if the non-oil producing states like Ekiti starve to death. They should have learned to fend for themselves for the past 40 years.

I hope this is useful for you to add to your own write-up. It is not too late to send more materials to the NPRC or our delegates.


T = Total Oil Exploration Gross Revenue.
E = Total Oil Exploration Expenses.
C = Environmental Cleanup Cost.
L = Loss of Livelihood.
P1 = Total profit for the Oil Companies and the
Federal Government.
P2 = Profit for the Oil Companies.
P3 = Profit for the Federal Government.

NPRC Stalemate - It Can’t Be Business As Usual

Whatever the ultimate outcome of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s now stalemated National Political Reform Conference, one thing is certain, it can never be business as usual for Nigeria. The firmaments are totally and completely aligned and the forces of change have been unleashed. The genie is, indeed, out of the bottle and the country has come full stop at the crossroads. It is entirely up to the national political leadership to seize this moment and positively restructure, strengthen and give Nigeria a fresh start on the path to attaining its full potential. The alternative would be to allow the centrifugal and destructive tendencies within the polity to drive the country onto the path of civil unrest, political chaos, an eventual collapse of the present democratic governance followed by a very bloody military takeover and even worse. I can see it so clearly and wonder who doesn’t.

I have thought that the NPRC was the minimum that must be done to stave off the evil day. If delegates had gone there with open minds, a willingness to put themselves in other peoples’ shoes and, most importantly, a commitment to uphold and entrench equity, fairness and justice for all Nigerians. Instead what we have seen is, at best, a very dangerous political grandstanding. We have been treated to so much duplicitous doublespeak, hypocrisy, insincerity and above all, a wicked attempt to continue to subjugate and oppress large sections of the Nigerian populace. Those who think that by engendering a return to military dictatorship they may recapture power that they believe they are losing under the present democratic governance must think hard again.

The president in his inaugural address had said: "The purpose of this conference is to discuss and reach consensus on any aspect of governance arrangement for re-enforcing the unity, cohesion, stability, security, progress, development and performance of the Nigerian Federation." He further stated: "Finally, Fellow Compatriots, I believe that certain issues must by now be accepted as minimum issues that must be regarded as given. These are issues that have resulted from decades of political engagements and contestations, dialogues, conflict and negotiation, networking, and confrontation with the stark realities that unite us as a people. These are issues that are central to the oneness of Nigeria and that are core to our stability, security, peace, growth and developmental processes. They include: the oneness of Nigeria; federalism and federal system of government; presidentialism, multi-religiosity; federal character; popular participation; the fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy; and Separation of Powers. The Conference is free to strengthen, update, and refine these in their recommendations; nothing should be done to undermine our national integrity and sovereignty or weaken our national cohesion. These areas constitute the bedrock of our unity, identity and political praxis."

Clearly, therefore, the federal structure of Nigeria’s governance arrangement is a settled issue and the principal task before the conference is to reform the existing imperfect structure and bring it closer to true Federalism. The preoccupation of political theorists ought to have been to determine, define and streamline true Federalism, the end goal, so that delegates would have a common understanding of the task before them. Instead what we have observed is that many delegates appear not to have understood or totally ignored the very essence of what they are supposed to dialog, negotiate, compromise and build consensus on. In the process they have succeeded in reducing the conference to a competition to "bring home" what they think their sections of the country want or need. This, then, is the reason for the present logjam.

Nevertheless, the central planks of Federalism are the allocation of sovereignty and the collection and distribution of revenues between the center and federating units. In fact, the real political dilemma of a federal system of government is the fair and amicable resolution of the need for unity among the federating units with their desire for autonomy. Fiscal Federalism is a prerequisite for true Federalism. You can not have true Federalism without fiscal Federalism which according to one source "has to do with how states with more than one order of government organize themselves for the purposes of collecting revenues and financing expenditures". Today, it is being popularly referred to as resource control.

The above issues had been settled by the peoples of Nigeria in the 1960 Independence and 1963 Republican constitutions. It was the law of Nigeria before and after independence that the federating units – the regions – controlled their economic activities and finances keeping 50% of all revenues and contributing 50% to the Federation account out of which another 30% was shared among the regions leaving 20 % to the federal government. The law was changed beginning in 1969 by the General Gowon government under advisement from the Federal Finance Minister and Vice Chairman of the Federal Executive Council, Chief Awolowo, as it became apparent that crude oil from the Niger Delta was increasingly becoming the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. It was done without consultations with or mandate from the Nigerian peoples.

As I peruse the public positions of the various geopolitical zones, I wonder how many of the delegates recognize and accept the fundamental premise of fiscal federalism. Clearly, the South South delegates are simply asking for a return to the status quo ante after thirty-five years. In fact the zone has shown an understanding and political maturity by agreeing to a graduated increase from a base of 25% over a five year period to 50% thereby allowing some time for other regions to wean themselves of the oil addiction. A return to resource control is the much-needed panacea to Nigeria’s present state of arrested development that would at the same time offer relief to the impoverished and degraded peoples of the oil producing communities.

While it appears that the three geopolitical zones that make up the North, including the Middle Belt have presented a united opposition to the SS demand, it is not so clear where the South East and South West zones stand. According to press reports SE leaders at a meeting in Abakiliki on June 24, 2005 have resolved to support the SS on its demand for 25% derivation. It was likewise reported in the press that SW leaders in their Ibadan meeting on June 27, 2005 have, also, resolved to support the SS demand. The question comes to mind. Are these the official positions of the SE and SW delegates? If so, have they been formally communicated to the conference leadership? I would like to think, as it is currently being portrayed, that the battle line has been drawn between the North and the SS. But is that really the case?

Now, let me briefly examine some of the arguments against the SS demand, particularly, from Northern delegates.

The argument that oil and gas are not like cocoa and groundnuts is moribund and does not hold water. Firstly, as cocoa and groundnuts do not grow in the swamps of the Niger Delta so are oil and gas not found under the arid lands of Kano and Sokoto. You simply use what the good Lord has endowed you with. Secondly, it is a well-known fact that the Nigerian government contributes absolutely nothing toward oil exploration and exploitation. All the means of producing oil and gas, the capital and technology, including equipment and expertise are brought in by foreign oil companies. All the government has done is to sign profit-sharing agreements with the multinational oil companies. So, has the Nigerian government labored to sow or harvest the oil and gas? Isn’t what is good for the goose equally good for the gander?

It is most ridiculous to argue that since the SS governors have not used the proceeds of 13% derivation judiciously, they should not be given more. First of all, since when did state governors hold their colleagues to account? What has the Nigerian government, controlled by Northerners for the past thirty-five out of forty-five years, got to show for 500 billion US dollars of oil money? Isn’t corruption a national malaise? People must not play god by thinking that they will take away what belongs to others because in their warped minds such people have not used it to their own satisfaction.

There is, also, the argument that if you give more to the SS there would be less for other zones. The corollary to this argument is that the oil producing communities should continue to be impoverished and vanquished because other zones need their wealth. Are South Southerners being asked to sacrifice their lives so that Northerners may live? What about going back to agriculture, fishery, coal, tin and other minerals? What about mastering and exporting information and computer technology, electronics, automobile, nuclear and space technology, etc.? Don’t countries without oil and gas develop and thrive? See Japan, India, Singapore and South Korea. Are Nigerians so pampered and spoilt that we can only sit around waiting for oil windfall?

Frankly, it appears to me that the North has allowed discredited politicians desperate to redeem their tattered image and become relevant in the present dispensation to hijack their delegations. Only in Nigeria would people like Alhaji Umaru Dikko qualify as the best minds to chart a new future for the country. If he was such a Nigerian patriot why did the General Buhari government took the unprecedented step to kidnap and attempt to crate him back from London? What did Umaru Dikko achieve for Northerners as Transport Minister and Chairman of NPN twenty years ago? Was it not Prof. Auwalu Yadudu that advised late General Abacha to transform himself into a civilian president at the expense of the unity, even survival of Nigeria? Has the man transformed himself in just a few years to become the proponent of national unity, progress and development? Have we forgotten how Prof. Ango Abdulahi became the vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University? Who instigated the 1979 student riots and violence that drove out the Federal government’s appointee to replace Prof. Iya Abubabar, the eminent doctor and administrator Prof. O.O. Akinkugbe? Ango Abdulahi started the northernization of the ABU faculty that drove away many academics of southern origins. His tenure marked the decline of ABU as a premier university. Could these people, then, become the champions of Nigerian unity, security, development and progress?

Finally, let me return to the stalemated NPRC. I am sure that government security, intelligence and strategy experts have been playing out scenarios for all the possible outcomes. For my purpose, confining myself to the derivation issue, I have identified the three most likely outcomes as follows: First, the North gives in to the SS demand, accepts 25% derivation, the conference reconvenes on July 11, 2005 to wrap up its job. Second, the North remains united in their opposition to the SS demand. The SW and SE zones side with the SS; the conference could not reconvene and delegates go home. Third, the North through the effort of the Middle Belt and the North East offers 20% derivation, the SW and SE side with the North’s new position; the SS accepts the offer and the conference reconvenes to wrap up its job.

You can come up with as many scenarios as you wish. However, the most desirable resolution for Nigeria is the first since it contains the ingredients necessary to launch the country on a new path and in so doing correct the anomalies of the past as well. Whatever scenario plays out, it can not be business as usual for Nigeria. That much is manifestly evident.


Sepribo Lawson-Jack

Texas, USA




John Perkins

Berret-Koehler Publications. San Francisco, 2004




     It was a couple of months ago on the Ijaw Nation that that I read the Democracy Now interview with John Perkins, the author and self-confessed Economic Hit Man (here on referred to as EHM/s). If you did not read the posting, please, as an Ijaw person, a Nigerian, an African, or a Third World national, you owe the posterity of the aforementioned groups of human beings the duty to read this book. My innocent curiosity about the posting quickly turned into a sense of let down and betrayal. I wanted to know more, so I bought the book and read it. On completing the book, my sense of let down and betrayal lapsed into deep philosophizing, encouraged by patriotism. Though the revelations of deception in the book are by no means totally strange in any casual thinkers reasoning, it is the dept of the deception and atrocities perpetrated on developing nations that are: the double standards of the so-called world powers. By extension, I began to question the place of morality in global politics and economics. No, I’m not talking about morally acceptable strategies to gain competitive advantage for dominance in those arenas. It is something deeper. It is sinister. It is the façade of helping hand for Third World nations undercoated with structured economic and political subservience as the end result. Strictly, the motives are greed from all perspectives with complicity of host nationals who sometimes know better.



     It is the basic nature of human beings to over come obstacles in their existence. That simple trait transcends socio-economic, psychological, and environmental obstacles.  So Third World nations, who have some resources to narrow the gap between them and the Western nations, do so through projects most times pushed by the West. Simple as this arrangement may sound, there in lies the beginning of deception. You will find that the plan to cheat nations out of trillions of dollars is a clandestine one. And that the strategies employed to make this happen match the clever intricacies of a spy organization is no coincidence. Enter MAIN, a front organization that worked in collusion with United States government agencies and world organizations to bankrupt developing nations. As part of the intricate plot, the NSA (National Security Administration scouts for and recommends) EHMs for MAIN but without any official ties to MAIN for plausible denial. Suffice to say the NSA is a larger security organization than the CIA, except the former works on internal security issues of the U.S.  According to John Perkins, the two main objectives of his job were:


First…to justify huge international loans that would funnel money

back to Main and other U.S companies (such as Bechtel, Halliburton,

Stone & Webster, and Brown & Root) through massive engineering

and construction projects. Second, I would work to bankrupt the

countries that received those loans (after they had paid MAIN and the

other U.S. contractors, of course) so that they would be forever beholden

to their creditors, and so they would present easy targets when we needed

favors, including military bases, UN votes, or access to oil and other

natural resources. P.15


MAIN is now a defunct company, assimilated and metamorphosed into like clandestine companies.


     The author chronicled his activities in mainly six countries: Indonesia, Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. In all six countries the formula for initiating traitor nationals were the same. The formula was founded on the principles of human psychology: that people in power are corruptible. For the most part, the men in power were truly corruptible. So they capitulate and play the foreign aid game to benefit them selves while shackling their nations in bondage. In cases where the leaders were not corruptible, they were either coerced into capitulation, overthrown, assassinated or the country invaded.



      Indonesia was a land rich with natural resource since the time of Christopher Columbus in the 1400s. Then it was called the Spice Islands. That wealth of natural resources includes crude oil of which it is the 23rd supplier to the U.S. today.  However, in the 60s, when the world was a turf for ideological dominance between the U.S. and the Soviet bloc, Indonesia was a priced arena for ideological warfare. Indonesia’s then president, Sukarno had declared himself president-for-life, aligned himself with the Soviet bloc, and invaded Malaysia in an attempt to spread communism to its neighbors in Southeast Asia. He was overthrown and replaced by General Suharto. At the same time, the Nixon administration was seeing its military intervention in Vietnam ending in defeat. Fearing a domino effect of communist regimes in the region, the U.S. focused on Indonesia to stem the feared tide of communism.

     Indonesia has many parallels to Nigeria except for its make up of over 17000 islands. The country is a crock of discordant tribes of divers languages and a mainly Moslem population. The U.S. wanted to step in and stem this feared incursion of communism. The strategy: to partner with Suharto, as with the Shah of Iran, and make a model Islamic country for other countries in the Islamic World, and in particular the troublesome Middle East. The partnership carrot was an electrification project as part of a twenty-five year development plan for Indonesia. But the secret plan was to contractually tether Indonesia to the U.S and corporate interests that the country could not wiggle out of. Enter the EHM, John Perkins (economic adviser.) In his projected economic benefits from the electrification plan, John Perkins presented unimaginable growth in the twenty-five year period to justify a World Bank Loan. Coincidentally at the time, positive seismology reports for crude oil presented an irresistible scenario the U.S could not resist. And so in the electrification contract, the economic advisers wrote in all sorts of U.S companies that would benefit from the project. Effectively, putting the money back in the U.S economy and indebting Indonesia in billions of dollars since the forecasted economic growth did not materialize. It was a farce.



      The October 1973 war between Israel and its Moslem neighbors, Egypt and Syria elicited a lot of animosity toward the United States because the U.S had sided with Israel and provided intelligence. As retaliation for that support, Egypt urged Saudi Arabia to play the oil card. In response, Iran and Saudi Arabia and other oil producing Arab states announced a 70 percent increase on oil prices. Iraq was more vindictive in its intentions. Iraq wanted total oil embargo on the U.S. In addition, Iraq wanted a nationalization of all U.S. businesses in all Arab states and a withdrawal of all Arab funds, which were substantial, from U.S. banks. The consensus reached was a 5 percent reduction in oil production followed by subsequent 5 percent monthly reduction in oil production until their political objectives were met. Two days later, President Nixon asked the U.S. Congress for a $2.2 billion, p.83, aid to Israel. The Arab states responded by imposing a total embargo on the U.S. on October 20, 1973. The embargo was short lived but its impact severe. Hard lessons were learned and so the U.S. was poised to take control of its energy needs by implementing policy changes.

     The partners in world domination: the government, big corporations, and international banks, united to never let this happen again. Recognizing Saudi Arabia as a force in its economy, America targeted the country. Unlike other countries that were indebted, Saudi Arabia had loads of money from oil revenues but lacked the administrative and institutional wherewithal to manage its wealth. America enticed the country with promises to bring its infrastructure to the modern age, including military assistance. In exchange, America would get paid plus assurance that there would never be another oil embargo against them. To envision the modern Saudi Arabia that would be after the planned development, the united three brought out the henchman. Enter the EHM (John Perkins). He planned for Saudi Arabia’s development project from garbage collection to road construction, to industrial complexes, airports, the military, etc. Then he layered the contracts with more contracts on service and management to ensure that U.S. companies, MAIN, Bechtel, Halliburton, Brown & Root, Stone & Webster, and many more to ensure American companies would profit for decades. In addition, the Saudis would deposit their petrodollars with the U.S. Treasury. This clause in the contract allowed the U.S. to use the  interest earned from the money to bring the Saudis out of the medieval age. Finally, the Saudis would ensure they pump more oil to cover any shortfalls resulting from errant oil producing nations.

     America also figured that Saudi Arabia being what it is, a fundamentalist Islamic state, would face opposition from certain sectors wanting to topple the House of Saud. And that the opposition would emerge from sectors uncomfortable with the social changes resulting from the development. In return, the U.S. promised unflinching protection for the House of Saud, guaranteeing their rule.  The entire Saudi Arabian deal was so profitable, the EHMs and the U.S Treasury staff secretly called it, SAMA, the Saudi Arabian Money Laundering Affair.




     Wherever a significant natural resource is being exploited by big corporations, a pattern of bizarre, greed-induced activities emerge. When oil exploration was in full swing in this country in the 1960s, a pattern developed where large parcels of the nation’s land, was bought by the ruling class. The situation here was similar to Guatamala where 3 percent of the population owned 70 percent of the land. The beneficiary of this arrangement was United Fruit, a Latin American regional agricultural powerhouse with Zapata Oil as the parent company owned by George H. W. Bush, then U.S. ambassador to the UN. United Fruit exploited slave-like labor in Guatamala. Then in the 1950s, reform candidate, Jacobo Arbenz, was elected President of Guatalama under a hugely popular democratic election. He initiated land reforms to help the poor. United fruit objected and ran a successful PR campaign in the U.S. labeling the Arbenz government as communist satellite of the Soviet Union. In 1954, the CIA worked out a coup in which the capital city of Guatamala was bombed by U.S. pilots and Arbenz was overthrown and assassinated. The new puppet government reinstated the rights of United Fruit, doing their dirty work suppressing and persecuting any opposition to United Fruit and or its interests.

     In Ecuador, the fight was against an evangelical group from the U.S. and the big oil companies. The evangelical group was the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). SIL enters countries “under the pretext of studying, recording, and translating indigenous languages.” P. 142. SIL colluded with the oil companies in stealing land from native peoples for the oil companies. When an area was found a potential for oil deposits, SIL would persuade the natives to leave the land to live in reservations they had set up. The natives would be fed by SIL, in exchange the natives were asked to deed their land to SIL. SIL would also supply food laced with laxative. They would turn around and cure them of the diarrhea and at the same time ask the natives to abandon their land and come live in the reservations. They would also supply food in false bottom baskets in which were hidden sophisticated tiny radio transmitters.  Highly sophisticated receivers stations manned by U.S. Army personnel at Shell stations would listen in on these transmitters. Any incidence of serious illness or venomous snakebite would be reported to SIL. SIL staff would come to the aid of the Indians as angels of mercy transported by oil company helicopters. The natives later discovered the deception and killed five SIL missionaries.  Rachel Saint, p.143, the sister of one of the victims launched a successful public relations campaign in support of SIL in the U.S.  She claimed SIL and the oil companies were helping the, quote, “savages” to get civilized. Rachel succeeded in getting funding for SIL from the Rockefeller foundation. Coincidentally, Exxon, Chevron, and Mobil divested from Standard Oil, a former John D. Rockefeller company. 

     The then and new elected President of Ecuador, Jaime Roldos, entrenched himself in reforming his country to benefit the masses. He accused SIL of the atrocities mentioned above and threw them out of the country. The predicable happened. Roldos blew up in a fiery helicopter explosion from a bomb planted by the CIA in 1981. Not to mention, the assassination happened under the Reagan administration, a rightwinger and strong advocate of global expansion.  The Third World is rife with similar stories of heroic leaders fighting and dying to free their countries from the economic enslavement by the developed nations and their big companies. The same tragic deception, exploitation, and assassination was forecasted for Venezuela. The country had been fighting the same battles against oil companies and was in the throw of a failed overthrow of the government. However, the hand of faith tempered the U.S. involvement with events in Iraq. 




       Panama used to be part of Colombia. In 1881, p. 58, the French took on the project of building the Panama Canal. The project was so accident-prone the French abandoned it as it ended in a financial disaster. President Theodore Roosevelt of the United States had an idea about the canal and demanded that Colombia sign a treaty to turn the Panama territory to a North American business group. Colombia refused and in 1903, President Roosevelt sent in the U.S. military and seized control of Panama, killed the local ruling military commander, and declared Panama an independent nation. The U.S. installed a puppet government and drafted the Canal Treaty that was not signed by a single Panamanian. This document gave the U.S. legalized military intervention and control over the independent nation. For over fifty years, Panama was ruled by right wing, wealthy families who did Washington and American companies’ bidding. That included helping the CIA and NSA in controlling communist influence in the region.

     The two influential corporate concerns in Panama were Rockefeller’s Standard Oil and George H .W. Bush’s United Fruit Company. The U.S.  and Panamanian governments involved were only interested in improving the lot of America and its corporate interest in Panama, not that of the desperate poor who slaved for the American companies. The ruling families gained tremendously in this arrangement. Up till 1968, the U.S military on several occasions quelled opposition that rose against this economic oppression. That same year, a coup toppled the Panama oligarchy, in which Omar Torrijos came out as the leader. Torrijos set out to right the wrongs done by the American government and their big businesses. Besides, wanted a truly independent Panama. He also made his country a refuge for fallen political dignitaries of opposing ideologies including the socialist and warring parties from neighboring countries. This did not sit well with Washington and its corporate partners.

     The impetus behind the U.S. government’s actions towards the American Indians, and by extension, Latin America, Panama, and the world today stems from the Monroe Doctrine, p. 61. In essence, it states that the discovery and conquer of America and the resulting plight of the Indians, exploitation of natural resources and labor is ordained by God. And today, the Monroe Doctrine is perpetrated by successive Republican administrations under the sentiment that the world is the U.S. oyster to harvest. 


Torrijos was seen as an obstacle to the working of this doctrine. His intentions, if successful, would  encourage other leaders in the hemisphere to defy the U.S.  So the usual trap was sprung to indebt this underdeveloped nation of two million people in billions of dollars they cannot repay.  Enter the EHM, John Perkins and MAIN.  They plan massive development projects in the billions of dollars that would justify World Bank, USAID, and Inter-American Development Bank investments in energy, agriculture, and transportation.  Torrijos would not accept the deal as it was written. He wanted it designed to help the common man and his country and not just himself and a privileged few.  On top of that, Torrijos wanted control of the Panama Canal returned to Panama.

     Diversionary Deception - as the chief economic adviser in all these bogus development projects, the EHM meets several times with the leader of the victim country. In Panama’s case, John Perkins, in a clever move, writes an article published in a major U.S. newspaper, siding with Panama over the canal issue.  In doing so, he gained Torrijos trust and gains a competitive advantage over MAIN’s fellow clandestine competitors who get kicked out of the country for supporting the U.S. Competitors in this case means other foreign covert operators. However, Torrijos would not be coerced into accepting the deal in United States’ terms.  Trorrijos got his way on the development plans along with the Panama Canal during the Carter’s administration. So he had to go. A bomb was planted in his airplane where he perished, complements of the CIA during the Reagan -Bush administration. When coercion fails, the jackals come in and finish the job.

     Upon Torrijos’s death, Manuel Noriega took over as President. Noriega was no Torrijos. He became corrupt and turned CIA informer. However, he still tried to follow through with some of Torrijos’ plans including having the Japanese rebuild the Panama Canal. The U.S. and the big corporations would have none of it especially from a man without scruples. So in December of 1989, p. 175, the U.S. invades this tiny country of two million people under the pretext of saving the country from a dreadful leader. But it does not stop there. The U.S. overturns the Carter administrations Canal Treaty that gave control back to Panama. The air assault that toppled Noriega created lots devastation: thousands of civilians killed, houses destroyed, and lots of people maimed. The U.S. suppressed all this devastation from the world by tactically keeping away observers, the press, and Red Cross for days while the U.S. Army buried the dead and tidied the bombed out areas.  The invasion of Panama succeeded and Manuel Noriega, was carted to the U.S. and imprisoned under drug trafficking charges.

      The author surmised that, even though the Monroe Doctrine is practiced by succeeding U.S. administrations of right and left wing governments, the republicans are the major perpetrators of the doctrine. In reading the book, you will discover that the democrats intervene in foreign countries mostly to enhance U.S. security while the republicans do it mostly to enrich themselves and U.S. companies. In the case of Panama, the key government officials in play where George H W Bush, Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense, George Schultz, secretary of state, William Casey, CIA Director, and Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense under Bush senior, Robert McNamara, World Bank chief. All of who are right wing hardliners. Today, it is Paul D Wolfowitz who is World Bank President, appointed by President Bush.  There is the push to appoint John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the UN. It is predicted that Bush would use the July 4th recess of the U.S. legislative body to appoint Bolton.  Third World, watch out!



    In the 1940s and 1950s, the CIA orchestrated political events that led to change of several governments in Iran. The last installed by the U.S. being Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Pahlavi crowned himself Shah (King of Kings) of Iran.  He sold out his country for personal aggrandizements through contracting projects in infrastructure with the U.S. and U.S. corporate entities. Iran like Saudi Arabia did not need to incur debt to develop their country because it had the oil wealth. As has been demonstrated by the author in country after country, the EHMs forecasted unattainable economic growth to be supported by massive multi billion dollar electrification projects and other infrastructure. Among the projects was a plan to reclaim the desert by planting millions of trees.  The project, to many Iranians was tantamount to the destruction of their culture and so protested it. In fact, the opposition though that this desert reclamation and its effects if completed would parallel the plight and destruction of the native Indians in America in the 1800s.The Shah, also committed atrocities against his people but the U.S. looked the other way so long as their exploitation of oil resources and needs for portraying Iran as a model country to other Middle East countries were met. 

     The Shah was greatly hated in Iran and throughout the Middle East. Religious conservatives, led by the Moslem cleric, Ayatollah Khomeini, overthrew the Shah.  



     The profit the U.S. and the multinationals made in Saudi Arabia were unprecedented. And so the Reagan and Bush administrations, p. 182, were determined to replicate the same financial dealings in Iraq, hoping that Saddam Hussein would take the bait.  All Saddam had to do was look at Saudi Arabia and reap the same benefits as Saudi Arabia and the House of  Saud. If he took the bait, Saddam could write his own ticket in ruling his nation. The U.S. could turn a blind eye and forgive Saddam for certain transgressions against his countrymen or some minor violations of international law. In addition to oil, Iraq is more important strategically to the U.S than any nation in the Middle East.P.184. Iraq controlled the waterways of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; it had missile-striking distance to both Israel and the former Soviet Union; it borders most of the key nations in the Middle East; and, it also had a coastline on the Persian Gulf. In world military circles, it is a common thought that whoever controls Iraq has the potential to control the Middle East. But then, best of all, all that oil is there for exploitation. It is estimated that the oil deposits in Iraq is greater, p. 184, that those in Saudi Arabia.

     The EHMs tried to work Saddam over but he would not give an inch to them exploiting his country. Outside of this book, it is common knowledge that, Saddam at one point even threatened to have his foreign exchange paid in Euro. Saddam’s threat, if carried out, would have been an economic threat and a nuisance to the U.S. economy.  Saddam’s utterances and threats became a major embarrassment for the Bush senior administration. But then, fortune fell on Bush’s lap when Saddam invaded Kuwait. The Bush administration quickly declared Saddam’s action a violation of international law even though “Bush himself had staged the illegal and unilateral invasion of Panama.”P.184.

The U.S. succeeded in driving Saddam out of Kuwait. But this was just a partial victory for the corporate interests behind the scene. In this writer’s opinion, when Collin Powell, who is not privy to the right-wingers ambition for global empire advised stopping the war short of occupying Iraq, they were utterly disappointed. No lucrative contracts from Iraq filled the coffers of the multinationals.  So they waited for another republican administration in office to perpetrate the Monroe Doctrine since Bill Clinton would not deal. They could not be happier when George W Bush won the White House.



     John Perkins grew up in a modest economic environment. He unwittingly became an EHM through psychological brainwashing and financial inducements. Through his career as an EHM, he fought his conscience to stay on the job especially with the help of company psychologists who reinforced in him the good in evil so to speak. His conscience finally gave in and he quit as an EHM. John Perkins now runs a non profit organization helping fight this global empire, especially in South America. Visit his web site at www.johnperkins.org.



                In his prologue, the author summarized the subtle, but effectiveness of the U.S. empire building as follows:

 This modern empire building puts the Roman centurions, the

 Spanish conquistadors, and the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century

 European colonial powers to shame. We EHMs are crafty; we learned

 from history. Today we do not carry swords. We do not wear armor or

 clothes that set us apart. In countries like Ecuador, Nigeria, and Indonesia,

 we dress like local schoolteachers and shop owners. P.xx.


So what are the implications of this book for Nigeria for the past thirty-nine years to today and the future? The answer lies in the tactics used in the book.  The tactics and events in the book offer hindsight for some of Nigeria’s social, economic, and political problems and a foresight into Nigeria’s future. Having said that, common sense will tell us the British are not absolved from similar practices as the U.S. It is believed the British were equally involved with the assassination of  Murtala who overthrew their favorite son and meal ticket, Gowon. During Gowon’s rule, the British were the economic beneficiaries in Nigeria.  On the otherhand,  America took part in inducing the failed coup because of Murtala’s bold address to America over South Africa. Murtala Mohammed’s administration in Nigeria coincided with the Richard Nixon-Henry Kissinger administration in the U.S. in the 1970s. This was a time leading to the height of battle for liberation for black people in South Africa. Shortly before this time, Nigeria had just come out of a civil war that coincided with the U.S. involvement and pull out from Vietnam. The U.S. had its hands full in Vietenam and could not be heavily involved in the Nigerian civil war. So they gave a nominal support to Biafra as Nigeria went to the Soviet Union for armaments. Nigeria’s oil production escalated after the civil war. The balance of trade between Nigeria and the U.S. was deeply in Nigeria’s favour. Then the control for Nigeria started. To balance the gap, the U.S. had coerced Nigeria to buy goods from America. Remember the military green, swaying buses used during FESTAC for public transportation in Lagos? That was part of the deal. But this was not the usual EHM type deal for indebting a nation. The military leaders then were somewhat pragmatic patriots, unspoiled by power and greed,  bent on developing their nation’s infrastructure. 

     In the heat of the South Africa issue, Henry Kissinger in reaction to OAUs rhetoric on South Africa, warns African governments to back off South Africa. In response, Murtala R Mohammed replies: “America shot up”. Well, no Third World leader dared stand up to America and got away with it. Shortly after this statement, Murtala is assassinated in a failed coup attempt. The British complicity was evidenced in one of the coup accomplices seeking refuge in the British Embassy. For the U.S. the blow out from the coup revealed a Nigerian accomplice who had spied for America in the coup complicity. The successor to the coup: General Mathew Fajinmi Okikiolakan Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo. Alas, America makes an inroad into Nigeria’s leadership and governance with the installation of Obasanjo. We now have the stage set for the gradual infusion of corruption in Nigeria. 

   Inept Shagari comes along, gets involved in the thick of the South Africa issue and threatens the U.S. with the oil card and blames the spate of corruption in Nigeria on colonial rule. Buari takes over the government. He is rough around the edges, but nonetheless an upright citizen. He fights to set things right in Nigeria: instills discipline, stands up to America who colluded with other oil producing nations to undercut Nigeria. Buhari wins the battle with the U.S. even as the U.S. is believed to have bribed the UK with a billion dollars to achieve this purpose. This is a case of EHM failure. Buhari is labeled a human rights abuser and is toppled by Babangida, an Obasonjo crony. Babangida hands back the country to the desires of the EHMs and benefits his pocket like most before him. Hence the billions of loans among the leaders that has indebted us to the West, especially the US which controls the World Bank, USAID and the IMF to a large degree.

      Sani Abach was the Danjuma of coups between the fall of Shagari and Buhari administrations. It was no coincidence that he came to have an ambition of his own to rule. The brew of EHM/CIA influence and  tribal squabbles, combined with military cronyism squirts Obasonjo as the President in 2000 despite widespread election fraud. The fraudulent elections were repeated in Obasonjo’s reelection.

     That brings us to the present day.  One must wonder at the sustained political power of Obasonjo and Babangida. What holds up their breaches where many leaders have met their political or mortal demise? They must be doing some thing right by the EHMs, America and multinationals. One of the ground rules for the CIA is a symbiotic relationship with cooperating leaders. Obasonjo and cronies before him have tied knots with America, Britain and the multinational to indebt the Nigeria in exchange for a guaranteed rule and financial rewards. This is where President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Shell Oil, Halliburton, and soon John Bolton come in. As mentioned earlier in this report, the U.S. global empire building is perpetrated mostly by Republican administration to enrich a few at the top just as they do for the corrupted leaders and their friends.  The current Bush administration is a group of right wing hardliners who at one time or another represented corporate interests or served rpevios right wing governments well.  The Bush family has owned oil agricultural companies that exploited the poor in Latin America. And the Bush family wealth depends on oil. Vice President Cheney was former CEO of Halliburton, now with a two year $7 billion dollar contract to do emergency repair to Iraq’s oil infrastructure. Paul Wolfowitz, Bush’s World Bank President nominee was Deputy Secretary of Defense and key architect of the Iraq war and signatory to the PNAC document. (please, read PNAC on the web). The reshaping of the George W Bush administration with hardliners spells doom for Third World countries. The writing is on the wall. Soon after the appointment of Wolfowitz as President of the World Bank, president Obasonjo quietly visits the U.S. and leaves to announce a multibillion-dollar electrification project in Nigeria.  Who did he meet with and what contracts did he sign?  We would like to know. As you can see, the EHMs are at work. Obasonja has sold his sole and he cannot resist. Hence he cannot kick Halliburton out of Nigeria for improprieties. The economic hamstringing continues.

   The composition of the Republican administration of today is reminiscent of the same click in the Nixon, Reagan-Bush, Bush-Quail administrations that reeked havoc on the leaders and economies of Latin America. Then you had the like of George Schultz, Donald Rumsfeld, George H W Bush as CIA director, Casper Weinberger, Robert McNamara, World Bank President, just to mention a few. These hardliners recycle themselves in government to propagate the U.S global empire.

     The Live 8 concert held in five countries on July 2, 2005 to help end poverty in Africa is an interesting twist for the global empire pushers. The organizers of the event courted mainly the British and American governments to participate in the endeavor. So far, the leaders of both countries have pledged support but that remains to be seen because any participation in this endeavor would run contrary to the global empire. The implication is, the West and its multinational corporations would have to stop cold turkey the scams of destabilizing, corrupting, and bilking Third World nations out of trillions of dollars. The unflattering events in Nigeria’s political, economic, and social landscape can only point to the influence of EHMs, the CIA, oil companies and the corrupt Nigerian leadership. Besides, the events chronicled in this book mirror events in Nigeria in many respects.  Successive Nigerian governments, inept as they have been, lack the sophistication to deal with ethnic groups in Ijaw communities as they have. The tactical deployment of troops in SS states, the talked about Nigeria-U.S. joint naval exercise, the systematic suppression and denial of justice for redress against the oil companies, the execution of Ken Sarowiwa all attest to this. The fight of the Ijaws is really a fight against the U.S. and the multinationals who are controlling the hand of the corrupt leadership. This writer would not be surprised if investigations into the alleged bribe taking of Carol Simpson-Brown turned up something else. Revelations in this book make this writer to deduce the African-American senator from Illinois was getting too close to the clandestine operation undermining the government and economy of Nigeria. Some day the likes of Barrack Obama would help their kinship in Africa. Don’t set your hopes on Condoleezza Rice. She is an unctuous participant in a game she will not be made a privy to just like Collin Powel was not.   But first we must help ourselves by resisting corrupt leaders. A society that consistently produces such corrupt leaders and equally passive populace that tolerates such leaders must have something inherently wrong. Even though the West exploits our tribal chaos and disunity, the responsibility of instituting a working government is ours.

Strategic Factors and Options:  The Recovery of Expropriated Oil Revenue through the Principle of Natural Rights of Inheritance

 By Priye S. Torulagha

Now that the resource control issue has captured the center stage of national discussion, it is appropriate for the Ijaws and the people of the South-South to apply multifarious political and legal means in trying to achieve their goals.  Thus, instead of sitting down and gloating over the political coup mounted by the South-South delegates at the National Political Reform Conference, the people of the South-South should go further in their efforts. 

To go further, they must recognize that Nigeria has committed sixth major offenses against them.  First, it expropriated their petroleum resources and forced them through the barrel of a gun to accept terms that they would ordinarily not accept as a condition for allowing multinational oil companies to violate their rights over land ownership. Second, after forcing them to accept intolerable conditions, Nigeria transfers their wealth through an exploitative revenue allocation formula without making any effort to develop and rejuvenate their region.  Third, Nigeria treats the Niger Delta like a colonial possession and totally neglect the people of the region.  Fourth, Nigeria puts salt on injury when it rushed to the Supreme Court to seek a legal ruling that would justify its control of the offshore oil revenue.   Fifth, Nigeria fails to serve as an effective caretaker of the territory, thereby, allowing unrestricted pollution and degradation of the territory.  Sixth, Nigeria frequently applies excessive force in attempting to resolve conflict in the region, thereby, violating their human rights.

Based on the aforementioned offences, they should now file major class action suits claiming the right to own all the landed governmental and private properties built with forcefully expropriated oil revenues or embezzled public funds that emanated from oil-production since the enactment of the Petroleum Act.  Before this act, revenue allocation was based on 50/50% derivation between the producing states and the national government.  

1.  In claiming the right of ownership to national public properties built with oil revenue, the oil-producing states should break down the monetary figures in the following manner:

a.  Examine all the national budgets passed by various regimes since the enactment of the Petroleum Act.  In doing so, separate any revenue emanating from oil production from other revenue sources.   It is important to know how much money was generated from oil production and how much from other sources.

b.  From the portion of the national budgets originating from oil production, lay claim to 50% of the principal accounts used to build various governmental properties.  The principal accounts being the national budgets originating from oil that were allocated for such properties.

b.  Demand 50% interest on the principal accounts taken to build properties from the oil revenue.  

c.  Demand 50% interest on the national budgets used to massively built Lagos and Abuja from the oil revenue.

d.  Demand 50% interest on the budgets used to build the major highways and superstructures in the country from oil revenue.

2.  Concerning private properties built with embezzled public funds beginning from the enactment of the Petroleum Act, the following should be the criteria for claiming compensation and damages:

a.  The oil-producing states should claim 100% of the principal accounts used to put up private properties if the funds came from oil production.   This is based on the fact that funds used to build such properties were stolen from the public treasury.

b.   Demand 100% interest on the principal accounts used to build privately owned  properties (whether business or personal).

NB:  To effectuate action on private properties, private properties should be defined as any structure or investment (banks, factories, contracting firms, and savings) initiated by individuals who enriched themselves through the embezzlement of public funds.

3. The Process of Determining who has Embezzled

It is very easy to determine who has embezzled.  Generally, any current or former public or civil servant who suddenly becomes a multimillionaire or billionaire without supporting documents to show how he or she acquired the wealth. 

b.  Any current or retired military or police or customs etc. officer who becomes rich without a history of having invested in business to acquire such wealth.

c.  Any contractor who without any previous history of having engaged in major business activity suddenly becomes a multimillionaire or a billionaire.

d.   Anyone who has multimillion dollar bank accounts in a foreign bank without any previous history of business engagement that would enable the person to become rich.

e.  Anyone who builds a property or a structure or an organization worth millions of dollars without supporting documents to show how the wealth was acquired.

NB:  It should be noted that internationally, it is an accepted civil service principle that civil servants cannot engage in private business activity while they are in the services of the government.  Using this as a guide, it is very easy to flush out embezzlers who were employees of government at the time they acquired their wealth.

4.  In order to prove these cases, the following should be done to gather evidence:

a.  Starting from the period in which the Petroleum Act was passed to neutralize the principle of derivation based on 50/50% allocation, gather and analyze the national budgets of various regimes up to 2005.

b.  In analyzing the budgets, try to find out how much was spent on the oil-producing region and how much was spent on other regions of the country.

c.  Determine how many superstructures that were put in other parts of the country vis-a-vis the oil producing region.

d.  Subtract the money invested in the oil-producing region from the national budgets.

e.  Demand a return of 50% of the national budgets allocated to other parts of the country from oil revenue.

f.  Demand 50% interest on the principal accounts used to invest in other parts of the country from the oil revenue.

5.   Since the Petroleum Act and other restrictive laws and decrees were passed without the consent of the people of the oil-producing region, it means that the funds gathered through oil production were loans, to put it mildly, borrowed from the oil-producing region through threats of violence, by the federal government to invest in other parts of the country. 

In fact, one could even argue that Nigerian leaders, starting from the time the Petroleum Act was enacted, have actually committed armed robbery against the people of the oil-producing region.   They expropriated the proceeds from the oil revenue without the authorization of the owners of the lands, at gun point.  As a result, thousands of Niger Deltans have either been killed or maimed.  Properties worth billions of naira have been destroyed.

a.  To support this assertion, gather newspaper clippings of military and police incursions into the Niger Delta to suppress opposition to the intolerable oil deals which made it possible for the oil companies to exploit the people and destroy the environment.

b.  Gather news reports and pictorial evidence of atrocities committed in Ogoni, Ijaw, Ikwerre, Itsekiri, Isoko, Urhobo territories etc. by security forces.

c.  To support the fact that the region has been seriously polluted and harmed, gather newspaper and internet clippings of gas flares, oil explosions, and oil leaks.  Show that these activities have drastically affected the economic livewire of the people.  Show evidence of increasing medical problems occurring in the region.

d.  Show evidence of massive looting of the oil revenue by Nigeria’s leaders and public officials.  In fact, a British newspaper recently increased the amount of revenue stolen from Nigeria by public officials to more than two hundred billion pounds, not $170 billion as was previously reported by the World Bank.  This means that half of the total income earned through oil production ended up in private banking accounts of highly connected Nigerian officials.

6.  Claim damages based upon the exploitation, looting, pollution, extreme deprivations, suffering, psychological and medical traumas caused by expropriation, unrestrained abuse of the people and the environment, and military occupation. Put a financial figure on the damages claimed, including destruction of farmlands and fishing waters.

a.  Show evidence that Nigerian leaders have been totally irresponsible, thereby, allowing themselves, their family members, friend, and business associates to loot the oil revenue.

b.  Demonstrate clearly that Nigeria failed woefully to exercise its authority over the PRINCIPLE OF PUBLIC DOMAIN when it seized oil revenue from the indigenes of Niger Delta by arbitrarily changing the 50/50% derivation formula and not using the proceeds from the oil revenue to provide for the public interest or common good.

If the above process is too cumbersome, an alternative process involving adding up the total income that Nigeria has generated from oil production since the passage of the Petroleum Act would.  From the total national income, subtract the total amount spent on the oil-producing region by the Federal Government since the enactment of the Petroleum Act.  After having done so, demand 50% on the principal account that Nigeria has generated from oil.  Similarly, an interest on the 50% must also be demanded since Nigeria forced the oil-producing region to cede its right to determine its ownership of the oil resource.

7.  These suits should be based on the Principle of Natural Right of Ownership and Inheritance over Natural Resources.  Under this principle, it is the right of every human group to own natural resources that accrue from its lands.   Such resources are natural properties of those who own the lands.  This is necessary and proper since they must survive.  To survive, they need to explore, preserve, invest and maintain those resources that are in their lands.  Thus, it is by God or divine grace that they have such natural resources, hence, they have a right of inheritance over those resources. 


Nigeria violated this principle by forcefully taking away the right of ownership and inheritance from the people of the Niger Delta, thereby, depriving them of their natural rights.  Nigeria did so by threatening them with bodily and physical harm if they do not capitulate to its usurping powers, claiming that it had a right to change the revenue formula on the pretext of public domain.  The oil revenue had never been applied on the basis of public domain.

After more than forty years, it is now time for the people of the Niger Delta to reclaim their natural rights by using appropriate political and legal means, which are the acceptable norms internationally to fight for rights.  In return for getting back their natural rights, they should pay whatever taxation or figure agreed upon to the Nigerian government so that other Nigerian regions will not be starved of needed funds until they find other sources of revenue.

7.  As soon as these cases are filed, copies must be sent to the Economic Commission for West Africa (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Holland, the International Criminal Court etc. This is intended to publicize the legal effort so that historical distortions do not take place.  In this regard, the Ijaws of Warri should be congratulated for taking their concerns to the United Nations over the resettlement of Ijaw refugees displaced during the Warri wars.

Some Nigerians would refer to this proposal as idiotic and lazy.  Some would ridicule it through laughter and off-handed dismissal of its merits.   However, do not be disturbed by the criticism that would follow.  It is important to know that it was the Federal Government which opened a can of legal worms when it rushed to the Supreme Court in order to thwart the efforts of the oil-producing states.  Now, it is the turn of the oil-producing states to turn the table around and apply every possible legal and political means to demand resource control.

They have a natural right to do so in order to claim their divine inheritance.


Nb:  Extracted from a forthcoming book

Culled from Sunday Punch, July 03, 2005
Resource control controversy, We’ll no longer restrain our youths –David Ejoor, former Military Governor, defunct Mid-West Region

Major General David Ejoor (rtd), the former Military Governor of the defunct Mid-West Region, rarely talks, but when he does, he does so with candour. And the 74-year old General, who was the 17th Nigerian to enlist in the Nigerian Army and retired in 1975, is in his elements in this interview with GBENGA OSINAIKE and JIBOLA OYEKUNLE. The Ovwor-Olomo, Delta State born retired General speaks on the resource control agitation, which has stalemated the National Political Reform Conference (NPRC); reminisces on his days in service and how he is coping with retirement life. It’s a must-read interview.


You have retired from the military since 1975. How will you assess the polity since you left the military?
I think the state of Nigeria cannot be divorced from what is going on at the National Political Reform Conference. President Olusegun Obasanjo set up the conference so that certain grey areas in our continued existence as a nation could be addressed. But from what is going on now, it appears that the South-South is being relegated to the background. What they are trying to tell us at the conference with this derivation thing is that we are no longer relevant.

For your information, I have worked personally to save this nation from disintegrating about five times. During the first coup in 1966, those who were not supposed to be killed were killed. There were massive killings of northerners. This led to the counter coup by the northern soldiers against Late General Aguiyi Ironsi. Ironsi was killed, Col. Adekunle Fajuyi was killed and a lot of other people were killed. I could have been killed during the first coup because I never supported the coup. I never supported coups throughout my military career. Before the first coup eventually took place, I had stopped attempts by Aguiyi Ironsi and a host of other military men to overthrow the then civilian government.

But the coup happened anyway. And it happened because I was transferred out of Lagos. When the counter coup took place, somebody from the north took over. Even before that, General Muritala Mohammed sent somebody to me that the north wanted to secede. He then advised that I should organise the Supreme Military Council and hold discussion on how the unity of this country could be sustained. So, when the counter-coup succeeded, we agreed that Yakubu Gowon be allowed to head the government. Though, he was a junior officer to us, he was the most senior officer from the north. That was how I contributed to saving Nigeria from disintegrating.

If you take a look at Lagos today, all the good roads and infrastructure that you see were done by us when we were in government.

When the Biafran war started in 1967, General Odumegwu Ojukwu (as he then was) organised his men to kill me because I refused to succumb to the pressure that the Mid-West Region should support Biafra and join its forces against Nigeria. When he came to me, I told him in plain language that my region was not part of Biafra. If I had supported him, Nigeria would probably have gone.

You said you had helped to make Nigeria one. Some Nigerians believe that the military is responsible for the trouble we are going through in this country. How will you react to this?

I must also tell you this. All the coups that have taken place in this country were not initiated by the military. There was no time the military came together in a meeting to say we want to overthrow the government. The military had always been instigated by the regions. I mean the regions, as they were then, were responsible for the coups in those days.

It started with the Eastern Region. The politicians then persuaded the government so that they could control the government. The north retaliated. The politicians in the north were also responsible for this. So far, we have had the Northern Region and the Eastern Region and the Western Region initiating coups. The Mid-West Region did not initiate any coup. Though, there was injustice against us, we did not think that coup was the answer to the problem of Nigeria. That is why it will not be the best thing for us to go back to the regional system of government because that system of government was encouraging coups.

But many Nigerians believe that the regional system of government will bail us out of the mess we have found ourselves. Are you saying that the system is not good?

If you ask me, I will say yes, because the system encourages coups. It was because of the regional struggle to have power at the centre that Gowon started creating states. He did that to reduce the greed of the regions. Now, we have 36 states. So, government, in my opinion, should remain federal and the states. What we should be talking of is true federalism. The idea of the six zones that we have now is to reduce the oppression of the minorities. From what I have found out, the minorities are suffering in the hands of the majority. In the Mid-West, for example, the Edo and the Urhobo were like slaves to the Yoruba. The Ijaw and Calabar people were like slaves to the Igbo, while the Middle Belt people were just like foot soldiers to the Sokoto Caliphate. That is why I fought to divide Nigeria into six zones to give the minorities some voice.

Do you think the zones are living up to expectation?

As it is, the system is not perfect. But the fact that we now recognise six zones has given the minorities the political platform to fight for their benefits.

Now, let’s talk about the burning issue. I mean the issue of oil in the South-South. Can you give us an insight into what obtained during your time in government?

During our time, priority was not placed on oil. It was placed on agricultural produce. Then, each of the regions was surviving on its own agricultural produce. Every region had something to live on. Everybody was satisfied. Nobody was thinking of any money from oil. The agitation for oil did not come until there was oil boom. And this was towards the end of the government of Gowon and during the Muritala Mohammed regime. But the whole problem that we are experiencing now could be traced to the Land Use decree, which was promulgated by the Obasanjo regime shortly after he succeeded Muritala who was assassinated while in government.

Obasanjo had the support from the north because they all knew that with the decree, the Federal Government owned everything and by that, they could all share from the resources of the nation at the centre.

Let me draw your attention to something. The fight between Ife and Modakeke was as a result of gold that is in Modakeke. While the Ooni of Ife says the gold belonged to him, the Modakeke say they would like to share the gold. Obasanjo had to go there when he became president in 1999 to resolve the crisis. After he did that, I called Obasanjo and said: ‘You have helped to stop the crisis between Ife and Modakeke and the government has not taken over their gold the way you have taken over our oil, have you?’ He said no. There are mineral resources in Jos which are being mined illegally. Why is it that the Federal Government is paying attention only to oil in the South-South?

That is the crux of the matter. Oil has brought about a change in the kind of politics that we are practising. Everybody is now eager to get money from the oil being produced in the South-South. We no longer play politics of consensus but politics of money. And that is why people are so desperate to go to the centre. And they use money to buy votes.

Can you trace the history of the derivation formula?

During our own time, it was 50-50 and we were using the money to develop the whole country. We did not use our position to amass wealth. We did not embezzle money. I didn’t raise money to build the house that I live in now. When I got the plot after coming back from the Congo operation, I had to ask a construction company to develop the land for me and collect rent from me until I finish paying. The house was ready for me in 1976 and I was retired in 1975.

But you were the governor of a region. One will have expected that you would have left government as a rich man with lots of money in foreign account?

So, you think because you were in government, then you should enrich your pocket? I was in government to serve and help the people. I did not even tamper with the security vote, which is now the target of most governors to perpetrate fraud.

Are you saying that you did not derive any benefit from that position?

Of course, I derived some benefits. But by being in government did not mean I should take the money that belongs to the people and put it in my personal pocket. That was not our aim in government. I was comfortable in government because I was staying in the government house and I was being fed by government. And I was satisfied. But I was not interested in acquiring properties. To me, that was sickening. I call that greed. Sheer greed.

What then do you think led to this new orientation of amassing wealth?

I told you earlier that the attention of people had been drawn to the oil money. Attention is not being focused on other sectors of the economy. It is important that every state should start developing its resources so that we can go back to the 50-50 derivation formula. As it is now, if you go to some villages in the South-South, you will cry. People can no longer use the land for farming. Most of the residents in the village, had to move away and nobody compensated them. The aquatic life in the area had been destroyed.

Talking about the conference, do you think that the way delegates from the South-South walked out from the conference was justified?

We remained calm during the conference because we meant well for Nigeria. But we have realised that the system we are operating in does not seem to favour us and the deteriorating condition of our environment also goes to show that we have no basis for keeping quiet. So, we had to react, otherwise, our people will continue to suffer

But some delegates believe that since the derivation was increased from 13 to 17 percent, the conference has been generous enough, that the South-South should be able to accept that. The general belief is that this will translate to a lot of money. What do you think?

Why should they accept 17 percent? It took a great deal of understanding from the South-South to accept 25 per cent. What we are saying is that the government should allow everybody to develop their resources so that everybody can have control over their resources. That was the demand at the conference, but they rejected it because they believe that it is only a section of the country that will be developing. So, we agreed that the derivation formula should be reduced to 50 per cent instead of us having a total control over the resources. Consequently, we agreed that we should start with 25 per cent with a marginal increase of five per cent yearly until it gets to 50 per cent, so that we can help other states. By that time, the constitution would have been amended to reflect the yearnings of Nigerians. The South-South is just trying to help other parts of the country by accepting 25 per cent, in the first place.

They are just trying to impose 17 per cent on us. The South-South did not agree to that at the committee level. The committee just came out and said to the conference that it had agreed on the 17 per cent. That was why the South-South delegates walked out of the conference.

The argument is that the 17 per cent will translate to a lot of money and that that will have been enough to develop the region?

What do you mean by a lot of money? Have you been to the place to see the extent of the damage done by those who are prospecting for oil? People can no longer fish; they can no longer farm. Whether the money is much or not is nobody’s business. We own our resources. And we have even agreed to 25 per cent as a starting point if other parts of the country will not allow us to have a complete control over what we have.

But some people still believe that the people of the South-South should not be suffering if the governors in that part of the country are using the derivation fund in the right way. The monthly allocation to some of the states in the region is N9 billion?

What kind of question is that? A government is a government, whether federal or state. So, we should first ask the Federal Government what it had been doing with the huge money accruing to it and we should ask the governors in other states how they are spending their money. Those who are worried about how the South-South is spending its money should first ask the northern governors what they are doing in their states. A lot of governors are sharing money. I don’t think it is the business of anybody to start asking how money is being spent in the South-South. Let the money come and then, we will know what to do with it.

Are you saying that the governors are doing well?

The governors are there by the will of the people. So, you don’t expect them to work against the will of the people. They will definitely work for their people. But the obvious case of rigging to get to power has made them not to work for the people? I told you earlier that politics is now a game of money. So, we now know that. What should be done is to find a way to stop the trend.

How do we go about that?

We have to go back to true federalism. If that is not done, we are not going anywhere. And if the request of the South-South is not granted, what the rest of the country will be telling us is that we are not part of the entity called Nigeria; that we should go our own way. Then, we will have no option than to gain independence from Nigeria as Nigeria gained independence from Britain. Nigeria has turned the South-South to a colony. We are being colonised. If they think we are not part of the country, they should tell us to go and then we will go. We will not allow ourselves to be marginalised continually.

Will you really support the move from the South-South to go on their own, if it comes to that?

Why not? If Nigeria does not want us, then we will go. If they say we cannot enjoy our natural resources, then they should allow us to go.

As it is, there is a stalemate at the conference. Do you see the conference achieving its aim?

Well, the South-South has made its demand. What we are now waiting for is the decision of the conference. If they want a meaningful outcome, if they don’t want to render the conference useless, then, they should grant our request.

What do you foresee happening if eventually the request is not granted and the South-South people are not allowed to go on their own?

Then, they should come and kill all of us. All along, we have been checking our youths and we have been asking them not to be violent. But now that the other parts of the country don’t want to listen to their fathers, the youths can launch a revolt. We will ask them to go ahead and stop the oil companies from operating and we will not be there to stop them.

As someone who has sacrificed so much to keep Nigeria one, what do you think should be done to forestall any breakdown of law and order in this regard?

I told you earlier that the only solution is for the conference to agree to 25 per cent. No more for now and no less.

Some people believe that the youths in the South-South are lazy people who don’t want to work but just want to live on the oil money. How will you react to this?

Are they to blame? They can’t even find work to do. Those who were fishing can no longer fish; those who are farming can no longer farm. They have also found out that their fathers can no longer look after them because of what government has done to their resources and the land. The whole of the place is messed up. When we had our South-South/Middle Belt meeting in Port Harcourt, some of the people who came from Plateau State said they wanted to go round. Then, they were taken to Bayelsa State. When they got there, some of them were actually shedding tears when they saw the condition under which people were living.

Are you saying that of Bayelsa State even with what we are made to believe that the governor is doing through the media?

I can tell you that the governor has done a lot since he came. But there is a lot still to be done. There is so much oil coming from that area, but there is no NEPA there. When I was governor of the Mid-West Region, I built a power station at Ugheli and I asked the Head of State then, Aguiyi Ironsi, to come and commission it. I gave an instruction later that power should be drawn from there to other parts of the region. Initially, they said there was no money, that money was being used to develop Lagos. But I can tell you that the power station and the pipes that were subsequently laid were still being used. There has been no improvement.

How will you assess President Obasanjo’s government?

Well, no government is perfect. I cannot really judge him. But I know he has been trying to make a lot of contacts to make sure that he achieves his objective, which is to have a total control of the oil money by the Federal Government. On the other side, he has really put up a good fight against corruption. He introduced it in his first term and I don’t know why he did not follow up until the second term. May be, he is trying to score a cheap point. But all the same, one must give him the credit. Some people believe what he is trying to do is to get the applause of the people so that he can get a third term or an extension of his government. As a Nigerian, I will say Obasanjo is good. He is highly detribalised. I have worked with him closely in the army. We both built all the army barracks from Lagos to Sokoto and to Maiduguri. He was the engineer and I was the head of the army. And wherever I said there must be barrack, he built it. He obeyed me. Some of the things he is doing now, are commendable, but not all of them. The way he handled Warri crisis initially was not just. I had to take him back to the root of the crisis. While he was in the army, long ago, he bought a piece of land from an Urhobo man and later, he said the place belonged to Itsekiri, whereas he bought the land from an Urhobo man. When I made him realise that he could not carry on with his decision on Warri, he sent Lt. Gen. T.Y. Danjuma. When Danjuma came, he drove round Warri in a convoy of about 100 vehicles. He did not talk with anybody. He went back to Obasanjo and said the land belonged to Itsekiri.

So, Obasanjo was deceived into working with the submission of Danjuma. He got 10 delegates each from Urhobo, Itsekiri and Ijaw. Because he knew I would fault him, he colluded with the governors and they refused to invite me to the meeting. But I embarrassed them. The day Obasanjo arrived at the airport, I showed up at the arrival hall and the governors saw me and were jittery. I told them I had been solving Nigeria’s problems since 1960 and said, now, you are going to do this and you did not invite me?

They were surprised and they wanted to put the blame on the protocol officer who invited all the delegates for the meeting. But the man was smart. He brought out a list of those that were invited and said: “This is the list of the invited delegates; General Ejoor is not on the list.” The problem was, however, solved eventually. Obasanjo eventually listened to me and he has been implementing some of the recommendations I gave him and that is why there has been peace in that place.

But some people believe he is not a listening president?

That is not true. At least, he listened to me and he carried out some of my recommendations.

How will you react to the US intelligence report that Nigeria may break up in the near future?

Look, I don’t react to what other nations are saying about us. They have their own politics to play. There hadn’t been any tension at the conference as at the time they came out with the report. I don’t know what other information they had. They have refused to tell us how they came about that conclusion.

You left the military since 1975, how have you been sustaining yourself?

Well, I thank God that I’m still alive. I have been living on my pension, though the government has not paid our pension for the past seven months. Now, so many people have died due to non-payment of their pension.

You are 74 and you are still looking agile. What is the secret?

Well, I will say it is God. I also watch what I eat. I eat only twice in a day. I have been doing that since my days in the military. But for the last 10 years, I take only tea in the morning and lots of fruits and then have dinner in the evening. I still feel very strong within me. About four years ago, I walked about 30 kilometres. I was coming from Warri to Lagos when my car broke down on the road. The driver parked and came down to check what was happening. I came down too. Initially, we thought it was the exhaust pipe that had cut. So, I went to check, he was at the front. I was checking underneath the car when he entered, ignited the engine and drove off. The smoke from the exhaust pipe entered my eyes; I did not recover from that until about 20 minutes after.

What I’m telling you happened in the night, at about 8.30 pm just before Obusu along the Benin-Ore Express Road. My driver drove off. At first, I thought he would wait for me at the front. That didn’t happen. He drove off and I was left in the dark. At first, I waited but when I remembered what happened to a man around that area some weeks before that time, I started trekking. The story was told of how a vehicle stopped around that area and passengers were coming down to ease themselves. The driver of the vehicle had come down earlier, the passengers waiting for him. When they did not see him, they decided to look for him in the nearby bush only to find out that he had been swallowed by a snake. His body was mid way into the snake. So, when I remembered this, I had to start trekking. As I was trekking, security people in some of the luxury buses plying that road by night thought I was a thief, so they started shooting at me. I was just praying and believing that God would save me. They were shooting and the shots were just flying past me. They drove past and I was left alone. I trekked till I got to Ore at about 2 am. I looked for a place to find something to drink and relax my legs. Later, I entered a public bus at about 4 am. That was, perhaps, the first time that I would take a public bus in my life. The vehicle was filled up. But I squeezed myself into it. Some of the passengers were making fun of me and wondering why I should wear agbada and enter a public bus. Just to cut the story short, I arrived at Iddo park in Lagos and decided to trek home.

On my way, just around Falomo, some hoodlums wanted to molest me, I threatened them. They thought I was just anybody. The man that was after me came again and by that time, I had brought out my short pistol, which I managed to take from the car before I came down to check what happened on the road, I pointed the pistol at him and would have shot him dead. But a voice within me said: Don’t. I now reasoned that if I had shot the man, his colleagues would have come out en-masse and they might have killed me. I got home eventually. The soldiers at my gate were shocked to see me outside at that time. They thought I had been in a night before and went out in the morning. I came in and my wife prepared something for me to eat after I had taken my bath.

I narrated what happened to her and still had to go out that day to look for my driver. I got another driver and we drove from Lagos and we were stopping at every check point to ask the police whether they saw my car. Eventually, we got to one of the check points and we were told that they had found the car. They said they stopped the driver and asked him where he was going, that he said he was taking his boss, General Ejoor to Lagos, but that when they checked the vehicle, I was not there. They asked him about my whereabouts, he could not tell. So, he was arrested while the vehicle was impounded. I was taken to where he was and I asked him what happened. He said he thought I had disappeared. That all along, he thought I was in the vehicle that I disappeared when we got to the check point. I was shocked to hear him make those statements. I was too angry to talk. Instead of uttering any word, I just took him from there to his people back at home. I knew if I had made the mistake of talking, I would have killed him.

Did you use any spiritual ‘immunity’, a form of charm, given the fact that none of the bullets that were shot at you hit you when you were trekking from Obuse to Ore?

I never used any charm. I don’t believe in charms. I have always been a Catholic and I have always been praying to God to help me in my daily life. But as a military man, you must be very tough. Sometimes, one wonders how you cope with domestic life? I relate with my family very well. God has been good to me. The interesting thing is that I have never killed anybody in my life. Throughout my military career, I never killed anybody.

Even during war?

My boys killed but I never did. And God has always been protecting me. There was an instance during the Congo Operation that I almost killed to defend myself, but God did not allow me. There was a time bullets were fired at me during the war. I thought I was already dead. In fact, smoke was coming out of my chest. I thought that the bullets had entered my chest. I was running, trying to look for a place to stay. It was later that I discovered that it was the small Bible that I had on my breast pocket that was bringing out smoke. It was then I knew that it was the Bible that received the gunshots. So, I escaped that instance. During the Biafran war, there were several attempts to kill me.

How many of such attacks did you survive in the military?

Ordinarily, I would have been killed. I must also say I have escaped death about seven times during my career as a military man. I told you that I would have been killed during the operation in Congo.

Another instance was before the first coup. Before the coup was staged, I had been posted to Enugu. Barely two days to the coup, I was invited to Lagos for a meeting. Before I got to Lagos, a room had been booked for me in Ikoyi Hotel. It was room 17. I remember the room number because I was the 17th officer that was recruited in the Nigerian Army. But for one reason or the other, I had to change my room. That night, we had a cocktail dinner, though it turned out to be a buffet. After that, we all retired to sleep. It was around 3 am that the coup began. They came to room 17 where they thought I was sleeping and started firing shots. When they switched on the light, they found out that there was nobody there. They thought I had disappeared not knowing that I did not sleep in that room that night. That was how God saved me that night.

The other time was during the Biafran war. By the time I assumed office as the governor of Mid-West Region, there were nine officers working with me and they were all from the core east. So, I had to run the state with them. So when the agitation for Biafran Republic started and I stood my ground that the Mid-West Region was not going to support them, I became an easy target for them. So, they were after me throughout the war.

There was a particular occasion when they came to my house and were firing gun shots. At that point, I knew I was going to be killed. So I said to myself that if I didn’t surrender to them, they would kill me and still kill members of my family. So I went out to meet them. They were firing shots and none of the shots hit me. It got to a point that I was wondering whether I was still alive or not. I had to scream on top of my voice
saying: ‘I’m I still alive!’ By that time, they had run out of ammunition and they all fled. There are several other instances. The bottom line is that God has been by my side.

Sunday Punch, July 03, 2005

"Chaos is alternative to refuse our 25% resource control demand" — Oronto Douglas

Posted to the Web: Sunday Vanguard, July 10, 2005


Before he took up his present appointment as Information Commissioner in Bayelsa State, Mr. Oronto Douglas was a prominent environmental rights activist. Currently, a delegate representing Bayelsa State at the National Political Reform Conference, Mr. Douglas wrote a minority report in his confab’s committee. Last Monday, he was a guest of Vanguard Editorial meeting, where he fielded questions on a wide range of issues bordering on resource control. Excerpts:

Do you think the CONFAB should just end the way it is, or where do you think we are going?

I am convinced that the CONFAB will lead to something good for Nigeria. How it will end is difficult to predict. But a lot has been achieved already, I will rather want to look at what has been achieved now before the end of the conference than what will be achieved after the conference. What has been achieved? For Nigerians, it was an opportunity that has presented itself for us to talk frankly and bring out those issues that were very difficult to talk about, issues that were sometimes talked about only in hush tones to a national and global audience because Nigerians were actually participating in the debate, courtesy of NTA, AIT and the numerous reporters that were in the conference.

So whatever you say was almost immediately and instantaneously beamed live to all Nigerians and those that are on the cable worldwide. So we are able to present our case to the world. And I think that is an achievement that under the military regime, we were not able to do. As a Niger Delta person, I think there was a major achievement we have achieved, and that is the court presenting us an opportunity to dramatize our fate, aspiration and our hopes and also to position our vision of Nigeria before the world. I think without the CONFAB, we wouldn’t have been able to present that to the world. I think that is an achievement, it is now left to those whose responsibility it is to take the right decision for the present and for posterity to do so at the moment.

There’s a third leg of achievement that the CONFAB has presented itself for people to reassess their position and re-examine whether the Nigerian project is workable or it is working, if it is not, what should we do about it? I believe that regardless of predictions that have been made about the collapse of the country, and coming at a time when the CONFAB was on, also presented an opportunity for us to really cross check whether it is possible for Nigeria to collapse in fifteen years as predicted by the US. We now know our problems and I think we are marching towards solving it, and solving it will mean that the decision flowing from the CONFAB has been implemented positively and in the line of justice.

How do we implement this decision without going through the National Assembly, do you think the National Assembly is likely to pass into law whatever the CONFAB comes out with?

Looking at the character of the National Assembly, it is not likely that decisions flowing from the CONFAB will be passed. I say so because when the dream about this CONFAB was put together, they came out not in support of it. They did not give the Presidency supports in terms of votes, they made comments about the legitimacy of the CONFAB itself and I think that unless a lot of political horse trading is allowed to be, I don’t see the National Assembly endorsing the resolutions coming out of the conference.

There is also hope that there’s going to be some light in the dark tunnel of this indifference to the CONFAB. Remember that it was about the same period that there was an attempt to impeach the President, and that attempt seemed to have been punctured by some political moves from the Presidency.

If that is an indication of an harmonious relationship between the legislative arm of our government and the Presidency, then there is hope that the decisions, if submitted to the President and the President gives it to them in that spirit, they may want to take a step and say okay, let’s take those issues and resolve it. I think there’s a more urgent issue that will persuade the National Assembly to do something. For six years of our democracy, they’ve been trying to review the 1999 constitution. That effort has not seen the light of the day. And I think the wisdom has to be applied, they should seek present initiative and say well taken what we have done in terms of review of the 1999 constitution as a house, let us take what has also been submitted together and then pass some sort of document so that it goes into history that we did something for our country. I think that is the way to go if wisdom is to prevail. But you cannot really predict the Senate and the House of Representative in the present climate.

On alliance between South-South and North, and South-South and Middle-Belt

Let me take the first part of your question. The alliance between the South-South and the North is an alliance we were bound to make. By 1959, we read in the books that chief Okilo of the Niger Delta Congress, won an election into the then parliament and eventually emerged to be the parliamentary secretary of Tafawa Balewa, this was in the 1959 election. And I remember looking into the archives and the BBC at that time said that by virtue of that victory and alliance between the Niger Delta Congress and the Northern People Congress, the bridge has been built. That if not for that victory and alliance, what should have emerged at that election was the West voting for a different party, the East, South and North for different parties and it would have polarized the whole region. That bridge that was built from the South to the North ,was then maintained during the second republic. And the NPN then was able to create that bridge to the South once more. And I think that is what you are referring to as alliance.

I don’t know whether there was a formal alliance or an emergence of interest designed to keep this country together. And I think that togetherness has flown, once again from the South, may be because of their disadvantaged position of being the so-called minority and wanting to keep this country together to protect everyone. Maybe that vision is what pushed them. Because if you look at the statement made in the pre-independent constitutional arrangement, there were actually threats by the North to pull out at some point, the South West also threatened to pull out at some point, and then the East then practically wanted to pull out, because of injustices that were visited on people in that part of the world, the only group of people that have not accepted to pull out beyond the twelve days revolution of Isaac Adaka Boro was the South-South.

It has not been a coordinated region where political initiatives is designed to want to pull out. The South-South has always remained and still is insisting on a Nigeria based on equity, justice and fairness. So directly to your question, what has emerged is alliance of interest, wanting to keep this country together. That alliance has now been seriously tested and it’s been strained because of the way the North has presented itself as the enemy of the South-South, which is very unfortunate, they needn’t have done that. May be their political leaders are trying to protect an agenda. And I think in the next few days and weeks, it will become clear where we are heading.

The alliance between the Middle Belt and the South-South is too early for us to give a clear ideological and political interpretation, what has emerged is that if you take the Middle Belt as a whole, there are two blocks in the Middle Belt. You have the Middle Belt of Benue Plateau, populated by a lot of minorities with a Christian leaning, and the Middle Belt of the other side which is populated also by minorities but with a Mohammedan leaning. Some forces that seem to be emerging out of there is that there is a force moving towards South and another force moving towards North .

But the dominant force, the truth must be told, is the one moving towards North. That is why it has been difficult to present the Middle Belt position as one that is cohesive. So it will be difficult to say that an alliance has been merged, but you can say that a discussion towards an alliance has commenced. And because it is a political entity, and because it is risen by human beings, it will take time for that bonding to become perfected. But I think that the bonding needs to be encouraged, and encouraged beyond a Middle Belt, South-South, to South-South/North-West and a South-South North-East as Governor Alamieyeseigha will say that you cannot just align with the Middle Belt alone, you’ve got to look at the block around and align with them, I think that is the direction that we seem to be looking at.

Like you’ve just said that the conclusion of the CONFAB may not be accepted by the National Assembly, now considering the demand for 25% derivation, if the South-South is not granted, what option would you revert to?

There are clearly two options opened to us. Number one is to do nothing about it and just remain quiet. Meaning that maintain a status quo. You know the character of the Niger Delta people, that is an option they will not accept. The second option is to continue the peaceful and non-violent agitation that is anchored on intellectual resources, and on justice and equity. That I believe will continue, and it will become intensified. The danger in that second option is that once intensification starts, as human beings, we may not want to go for twenty five percent, or more still talking about the same thing.

Fringe elements may emerge to say that, this peaceful non-violent agitation is not helping us to protect our environment, it has not helped us to give free education to our people, it has not ensured that we have access to health, it has continued to allow militarization because of our continued advocacy on this issue and suppression of our people. Fringe elements may decide to go the other way, and that is dangerous, and I don’t believe the National Assembly, if they are patriotic and they have Nigeria at heart, will want to ignore the genuine agitation anchored on this non-violent agitation for justice, they will want to do something and they will do it quickly. Whether the decision they take will satisfy us is a different kettle of fish, because the agitation has an elastic band, until you take it to the very limit of justice, it will not stop. So we will continue to demand for justice until justice is done.

Now, resource control, whether you want to achieve it through legalism or legislative stamp or otherwise, i think the crucial thing is for Nigerians to understand what is resource control. There is a clear distinction between resource control and derivation. A lot of people may want to confuse the two. They are two different things entirely. I want to believe you are talking about resource control, not derivation. So I will take you on on resource control. For resource control, its about the life of the people. You see, if people depend on a thing for their lives and they have been staying there for hundreds of years, it will be wrong for any other company around to pollute it, because it will impend the lives of the people. The Ijaw, Isoko, Itsekiri, Urhobo and all the ethnic Nationalities in the Niger Delta have for five decades or more, depended on oil, which they’ve been denied. In the place of clean water and river full of fishes, we’ve had polluted waters and dead fishes. Now, you have taken away their means to survive.

They have access to those resources, but you have taken them away. You’ve not given them the resources coming from what you are taking to pollute the water, you have simply told them that they should move away and they are dying slowly. So we have to ensure that those resources be returned to them. If Nigeria wants to benefit from it, it is right to say let us go into some partnership with the community and the people, that if you belong to Nigeria and you have agreed to be part of this country, you cannot take all these oil wealth alone.

Can we go into some form of partnership. And we have opened those windows through varieties of recommendations. You can task us within for whatever value you want to task us, but it has to be within a democratic framework, you cannot plot a coup and then say I, General so and so have taken over power and therefore we are giving you 1.5% of whatever.... that will not be acceptable, we’ve had that before and for five decades or so, the decision as to who benefits from the oil was by military decree. We are saying no, you’ve got to allow us to determine and be part and parcel of the enjoyment of those resources. So it will come by way of direct participation in exploring and exploiting the resources.

Two, determining who comes to exploit the resources. Now, you can be given a license in Abuja, and that licence immediately translates to a decree that you can go and uproot houses and pollute land, and take away the oil, that’s what it amounts to. Nobody given a licence can just walk in and say can we discuss, there’s no discussion. An oil license is equal in effect to the military decree, backed by military action, to take away whatever land that you have and take the oil and return to Abuja. That is unjust, that is dispossession, that is denial, that is deprivation and it has to stop. We are saying the best way to go about it is to sit down and let us discuss. If I have a resource, can I have a percentage of it, or can I be an entire owner of that resource.

On derivation, if what comes from your land to the centre by way of tax is fifty percent, you are entitled to have a percentage of that back, that’s derivation. So the two issues are different. One has to do with survival, the other has to do with protecting the present and the future, one has to do with the dignity of the people that live there. That is on resource control. The other is purely what percentage do we get on what has been sent to the centre as a result of what comes out of my land. We are saying that the first one has nothing to do with a law. It has to do with justice and equity, is it right? If it is right, allow us to control our resources and then put the legal framework to come and take away some of those resources for the purpose of taxation and keeping the common union together.

What do you want to do to penetrate, lobby and convince members of the National Assembly on the outcome of what is happening now? Also what can you say about the Odi saga?

We don’t right now have a strategy for that, when tree falls on trees, you carry the topmost first before carrying the others But one thing I can assure you is that we will not be found wanting in taking the National Assembly up in terms of letting them do the right thing for Nigeria. Take note, what is right for Nigeria. We are saying we want to unleash the creative energies of Nigerians. So that we can create a commonwealth. So that we can ensure security for our people.

In fact, I can go on to say that the Niger Delta is very important to Nigeria, and Nigeria has been able to keep West Africa together all these decades. Whenever there is trouble in Sierra Leona or Liberia, it is the money from the Niger Delta that they use to solve the problems via ECOMOG and others peacekeeping units. So it will be very unfortunate if the National Assembly does not understand the security, economic and political situation of ignoring the crises of the Niger Delta people. I’m so confident that if the matter comes before them, they will take the right decision.

On Odi, I happen to be one of those who led the NGO there at that time. I was in the environmental movement, and we had to mobilize the international community, the national press and so on, to see what was happening. Two thousand, eight hundred and forty eight people, mostly women and children, were killed in Odi in 1999. The trauma that went with these operations, they are still suffering now. You don’t use a sledge hammer to kill a fly. In Europe and some parts of America, there are violent crimes, the US Army is not deployed to go and wipe out the community where the crime is being committed. They use a very civilized and a sensitive way to go after those recognized to be the criminals. I think the government should have employed a different method of identifying the perpetrators of the act of killing the policemen and bringing them to justice, that was not done.

Till date, nothing has been done by the federal government to dry the tears of Odi people. And it is important that justice must be done for Odi people and Bayelsa people in general. There is a case by the Odi people against the federal government that is on-going. They are demanding for fifty million Naira through the Olisa Agbakoba & co, a law firm in Lagos. We are sure that justice will be done for the Odi people, that is very important.

On true federalism

Basically, there are three issues that if resolved, every other issues will be resolved. One is the practice of true federalism of which fiscal federalism is a part. In dealing with resource control ,we are also dealing with true federalism because the success of the Niger Delta is the success of others who are also clamouring for true federalism. The second thing I think should be resolved is the issue of self determination. You put Nigeria on a map, it started with these tripod called North, East and West. If the tripod is examined, you will find that the East has never had justice done to them. Go to the number of states that came out of the then East and in the number of their aspiration for political ascendency, it took how many years for an Igbo man to become anything near the Chief of Army Staff since after the civil war? I think this matter should be looked into. We are saying that the Igbo man, Ibiobio, Ogoni and all others should have a shot at the Presidency. The reality of Nigeria is that Nigeria is not being governed on the basis of excellence. What ought to be is that no matter where your ethnic nationality, as President, you are to do justice for everybody, that is not what is happening, that is why everybody want to be there.

What are the important positions that the CONFAB has taken apart from resource control?

The conference has agreed that communities where resources are found will participate in the enjoyment of the resources. They also said that the environmental degradation, whether in the Lake Chad Basin or an erosion in the South-East and the South-South, deforestation in the West and the Middle Belt and all other sources of resources that are threatened will be protected. Nobody was opposed to the idea of creation of more states in the North and in the South, this is an indication that we are working towards equity and justice. Otherwise you will need a military coup to carve out a state from the South-East which no one will encourage now.

On return to regions Talking about the issue of zones, Nigeria has moved on. We started from zones, and if we are to go back to zones, we must have an agreement. As for the South-South, it has even surprised a lot of people that we can keep our cohesion. So it is very important that if we must go back to the zones, it must be by consensus, and the parameters must be very clear. The zonal arrangement will be very good for the South-West because they are very cohesive. The region is homogenous.

On America’s intelligence report on Nigeria.

My attitude to the American intelligence report is the same attitude of the governor of Bayelsa State. He said the report is a challenge to Nigerians and the whole of Africa because according to him, if anything goes wrong in Nigeria, it will affect the whole of Africa, and should not be taken for granted. I will however add that we must be very courteous in dismissing the report of this nature and also in examining where these reports are coming from. It is not a US government report, it is from an NGO. This is an NGO that is very influential, they have given similar intelligence reports to places just like this before, and it took place. So it is very important that we take the report serious and ensure that the predicted doom is not allowed to come to pass.

Don’t wake a sleeping dog •Egbesu leader tells anti-derivation elements
Sunday Punch, July 10, 2005

He has been a key player in the struggle for resource control in the Niger Delta. But in the recent past, he chose to be silent and was no longer in circulation. In this interview with OFONIME UMANAH, the Chairman of the Supreme Egbesu Assembly (SEA), Sergeant Werinipre Digifa, said the continued bickering over the resource control saga and the position of the North on the derivation principle has provoked a new consciousness. He warned that rough days were ahead, while also promising that the Niger Delta people would soon smile. Excerpts:

You have been underground for a very long time. What has been going on around you?
It is true that we have been underground. But in the other sense, we have not been underground because every Ijaw man is an Egbesu man. We have been working behind the scene. When you are out of circulation, it is time to think. You think of what will benefit the Ijaw man because we were at the forefront of this resource control thing before the governors who knew nothing about the struggle came to hijack it.

When you were not in circulation, Asari Dokubo took over the scene. How do you rate what he did?
Asari Dokubo is also a member of SEA. What he did was a good experiment, to tell this country that Ijaw people are not people to be arm- twisted or toyed with. For instance, during the first world war, some of the black men who struggled and fought the first and second world wars came to realize that even white men were dying. That gave them the authority to fire on. So, the Asari confrontation has made a lot of impact on the Nigerian state. Totally, every Ijaw man supported Asari. That's why he succeeded. Asari cannot just move on his own. When we asked him to move, he moved. We are behind him. We gave him words of encouragement. Asari cannot just move on his own. Asari had superior leadership. He had people he listened to. Nothing will happen to him.

Was there anytime he came to Egbesu to seek powers or protection?
Any Ijaw can go to war. Egbesu is a spirit. When you sing the song, you are protected.

Let's look at what has been going on at the national conference. The North is insisting that the South-South cannot get anything more than 17 per cent derivation. What do you think?
That is to tell you what the Nigerian state is up to. That people like Umaru Dikko could make the kind of comments we are reading on the pages of the newspapers shows you that there is a problem with this country. It is to tell you that this place called Nigeria has no direction. The people you called northerners, that was how they were sending people to NAFCON, to NNPC and the rest. They don't go to their farm, they don't want to work. God knows why he gave oil to the South-South.

What the northerners are saying is bunkum. Can those people wearing agbada pick the gun and fight? This is not the war of bows and arrows. We have been silent. Even my silence, they are supposed to know that it is a signal. We have been having sympathy for the northerners because of the assistance we got from Tafawa Belewa. But politicians in the North want to break the accord. We will help them to break it. We will go out with them and we will defend our land. So, the SEA position is that at any given time, we will protect the rights and lives of the Ijaw people. The life and property of the Ijaw people, from Ondo to Akwa Ibom where the Ijaw people are, we will defend them. All these things they are saying are mere formalities. They know what we can do. They don't have powers over us. Our right is our right and what God has given to us is our own and stands firm. Are they the owners of this country? If you see a man without a sense of brotherhood, then you should know that that person is an enemy. They have told us no at the conference, but we will tell them no in the creeks. We will make them very uncomfortable. By the time nobody pumps oil, nobody goes to work, they will tell us whether we are depending on their cows to feed.

We will engage them and tell them that we are the owners of this land. We can shut this country within a twinkling of an eye. If you go to Akwa Ibom where they pump the oil, it is an Ijaw community. If you go to Warri, where they pump the oil, it is an Ijaw community. If you go to Rivers and Bayelsa, where they pump the crude out, they are Ijaw communities. What is the population of the Ijaw people that we cannot defend our land? We know what we are doing and they are calling us fools. When you call a man a fool and you tell him to his face, he could behave like a mad man. People should not blame us if we behave like mad men because Nigerians think we are fools.

We have never believed in violence, but when somebody dares you, you could then defend. They are attacking and we will defend and I hope there will be no chaos when we begin to defend and protect our property.

But you believe in the unity of Nigeria?
Can Nigeria ever unite? I don't believe in the unity of Nigeria. When you listen to a Yoruba or Hausa man speaking, you will know who is speaking. We are not even supposed to be together. Even the togetherness, we are no more comfortable. If you look at what happened at the conference, everybody was talking about his ethnic interest. I am a believer in PRONACO. I have never believed in the conference. But luckily, from there, we have been able to know the mind of these people, what they have for us. We have heard the voice of the northerners. Now, we know our enemies. They are the northerners who say no to our income, who say no to our land. They have groundnut in their land, let them go and plant their groundnut. They have their cows, let them go and fetch water and feed their cows. We were fishing before but the multinationals have destroyed our rivers, so we cannot fish again. I don't even believe in this 25 per cent they are talking about. We should be talking about 50 per cent. The time will come that we will get 100 per cent. God said the violent will take the kingdom by force. That day will come when the people will say if we had known, we would have given these people 40 per cent. The sleeping dog, when he lies, don't wake him. They are trying to wake the sleeping dog. Why can't they face their groundnut? That percentage they are crying that they will not give, are they God? They don't have the right to talk to our people the way they are doing.

The other aspect of this matter is that some governors are being accused of wasting the money they get based on the derivation principle. How do you look at this?
The truth is that our governors did not think they would become governors. If you look at what Donald Duke of Cross River is doing, if that man has more money, you will see that this state will turn to a new world. If Duke is getting the kind of money his counterparts are getting, I believe he will do more wonders. But the other governors, the money is not even showing on their skin. There is no impact on the land. What is our monthly allocation? They don't know that when they die, they will not be buried in the sky. If they have ever been to the mortuary, they won't do what they are doing. People died because of the Niger Delta struggle. Some were thrown into the river; some were tied, because of the Kaiama Declaration on resource control. But today, the governors are shouting resource control. Peanuts have been given because of this matter and they are taking it as their personal funds, travel abroad and give to their girl friends. We are not talking about that yet. We know that one day, after eight years, they will go. You can see that all of them are now fighting to become vice president, from there, they will fight to become president, from president, some of them will fight for secretary general of the United Nations. From there those of them who are Catholics will fight to be pope. They don't have focus. I don't want to talk about them. We regret having them in this generation.

The North is still insisting they want to rule us again in 2007.
Maybe, they think it is their right. Maybe, they think we are not Nigerians. Most of those people who want to rule us are not true Nigerians, they are from neighbouring countries. They are illegal immigrants, they are not true Nigerians. When you see them, ask them where are their grandfather's houses. They can't farm again. The northerners are making noise. Obasanjo is only ruling for some years and they are crying. The man has been fair to them. I don't see why they are crying that they want to come back. The leadership of this country has no focus. If we had a civilized country, they would have listened when somebody complains. None of the systems is working. But the Ijaw people will never cry in this country again. Ijaw people will never be taken for a ride again. We are waiting for the hour. Speak less. A strong man never speaks. I don't' believe in too much talk, I believe in action. Every Ijaw man is Egbesu, we are not scared. But I know, no ethnic group in this country will take us for a ride any longer because we will resist. I promise, we will never fight our neighbours. At the same time, our neighbours should understand that it is a matter of give and take. What is my right, give it to me.

The Ijaw people will never cry again. They have cried in the wilderness and God has heard their cry and the time of sorrow is over.

Sunday Punch, July 10, 2005



The Recovery of Expropriated Oil Revenue through the Principle of Natural Rights of Inheritance

Resource control controversy, We’ll no longer restrain our youths By David Ejoor, former Military Governor
Punch July 3, 2005

Chaos is alternative to refuse our 25% resource control demand
Oronto Douglas

Self-determination and Nigeria’s oil
By Morenike Taire
(Vanguard Online)

Resource Control
By Samuel Uwhejevwe-Togbolo

Peter & Bright on Bolaji Aluko's Formula
Ijawnation Forum

Don"t wake a sleeping dog
Egbesu leader

NPRC Stalemate - It Can’t Be Business As Usual
Sepribo Lawson-Jack

As Posted to Ijawnation Forum by Doupola