The Case for Resource
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
By Samuel Uwhejevwe-Togbolo
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Youth Actualization International (MYAI) a Non governmental organization (NGO)
Dear Bright &
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
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,
Peter and Forumites:
It appears I did not do a good job in making my
simplified analysis more comprehensible. I’ll try again.
look at the symbols one more time:
T = Total Oil Exploration Gross
E = Total Oil Exploration Expenses.
C = Environmental Cleanup
L = Loss of Livelihood.
P1 = Total profit for the Oil Companies and
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.
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
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
Now let’s take an actual example from the figures below
recently posted by Bolaji Aluko:
|For May, distributed in June 2005, we
Total revenue...............N309.958 billion
Local governments............N38.105billionÂ (20.63%of
fund*............ N23.38billionÂ Â
controlled by FGN...,N199.105 billion (64.24%of total
*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
Average nonoilproducing revenue for
Ratio of oil/nonoil averages:Â 1.31
There you have
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
I hope I have done a better job in explaining myself this
Edu <email@example.com> wrote:
Dear Bright &
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
Bright Harry <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Hello Hosiah, Peter and
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.
the Total Oil Exploration Gross Revenue (T) for both the Federal Government of
Nigeria and the Oil Companies for this fiscal year is $200.
assume that the Total Oil Exploration Expenses (E) for this fiscal year is $50.
This includes salaries, equipment costs, operational costs, insurance and
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
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
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.
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.
Environmental Cleanup Cost.
L = Loss of Livelihood.
P1 = Total profit for
the Oil Companies and the
P2 = Profit for the Oil
P3 = Profit for the Federal Government.
NPRC Stalemate - It Can’t Be Business As
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
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
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
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.
THE CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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, The
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.
THE CASE FOR NIGERIA
In his prologue,
the author summarized the subtle, but effectiveness of the U.S. empire building
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Nb: Extracted from a forthcoming book
from Sunday Punch, July 03, 2005
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?
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.
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
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
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?
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
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
Talking about the conference, do you
think that the way delegates from the South-South walked out from the conference
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
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
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
Will you really support the move from
the South-South to go on their own, if it comes to that?
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
How will you assess President
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
Punch July 3, 2005
Chaos is alternative to refuse our 25% resource
Self-determination and Nigeria’s oil
By Morenike Taire
& Bright on Bolaji Aluko's Formula
Don"t wake a sleeping
NPRC Stalemate - It Can’t
Be Business As Usual
Tyranny of the World:
THE CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC
As Posted to
Ijawnation Forum by