United Ijaw * Welcome to United Ijaw on the web. Our preference is national self determination, the independence of Ijawnation as a Sovereign State. A state that promotes sustainable economic and social development, democratic principles, liberty, free enterprise, equal rights and justice. This is our story, this is our struggle. **** On Kaiama Declaration We Stand **** United Nations Under Secretary-General, Dr. Antonio Maria Costa, in Abuja condemned the theft of Nigeria's assets by past corrupt leaders. He said that kleptomaniac leaders stole more than 400 billion dollars from the Nigerian treasury between 1960 and 1999. **** IJAWNATION THINK! THINK. **** Almost $170 billion of the country’s wealth disappeared and ended in the private accounts of individuals between 1999 and 2003 alone... Priye Torulagha ****Nigeria has failed Niger Delta – Nnamani **** Resource Control: Niger-Delta governors are traitors – Evah **** Only the fear of a volcanic social eruption from below can stop barbaric behaviour by holders of political power – Gani Fawehinmi ***** “ if the Confab and Nigerians are not willing to heed to Resource Control, they will take it by force” - Oronto Douglas We Dare To Be Different.
Population: 14,833,421
Priye S. Torulagha (Ph.D., MHR)

 The Niger Delta: Strategic Factors and Options
Ijaws in particular and the peoples of the Niger Delta in general, should pay serious attention to what is going on around them in Nigeria and all over the world. The events seem unconnected and yet are highly connected. They should realize that as far as oil is a crucial international commodity, their lives would never fully be in their control.  They must be very vigilant and proactive politically.

 In Nigeria, for instance, President Olusegun Obasanjo seems to be dancing around in circles concerning the issue of oil control, particularly, the off-shore/onshore oil dichotomy bill.  It is not surprising that the president has not signed the bill.  More than any other Nigerian leader, President Obasanjo has been particularly responsible for nationalizing both the ownership of the oil and the revenue accruing from it.  He has also been responsible for depriving the peoples of the Niger Delta the benefit of using the revenue accruing from oil to develop their territories.   He authored the Land Use Decrees which took away the right of derivation from the oil producing communities.  He hesitated to restore the 13% derivation to the states, even after the 1999 constitution had legally authorized payments.  He vetoed the bill that established the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and had to be overridden by the National assembly (Abugu, 2002, December 4). He sent the military to destroy Odi and other Ijaw towns and villages.  He rushed to the Supreme Court to file and seek a ruling concerning the ownership of offshore oil revenue.  He went to Odi and insulted them.  He recently went to Uyo to insult the Peoples of the Oil Producing Areas.  Since the beginning of his presidency, he has focused entirely on building, rebuilding , and dualizing major highways in other parts of the country while totally ignoring the Niger Delta, particularly the East/West artery that connects the oil producing states.  No wonder, “The poverty level in the Niger Delta is the worst anywhere in the continent of Africa” (Ibid.  Quoting from Heiner Woller). 

Why does the President blatantly seem to ignore the Niger Delta?

 1.  He is able to ignore and to treat the indigenes of the Niger Delta disrespectfully because they are mostly minority ethnic groups.  He probably might have rationalized that the political impact of the Niger Delta minorities on the national political landscape is very minimal.   He strongly believes that the three major ethnic groups constitute Nigeria while the minority groups are a mere political nuisance.  He can afford to play politics with the minority groups as far as he is able to muster the support of the three major groups.  The fact that the three major ethnic groups are not sufficiently pressuring him to resolve the oil dichotomy issue raises the suspicion that the big three might have quietly signed a diplomatic deal to put the minority groups in the Niger Delta in their place.  Recently, the Oduua Peoples Congress, the Igbo People’s Congress, and the Arewa Youth Consultation Forum pledged to “shun ethnic conflicts and work for unity.  At a joint conference in Lagos, the three groups vowed to stop violence and rely on dialogue in resolving conflicts”(Allafrica.com, 2003, February21).   Ordinarily, the compact signed by the three groups to stop violence is a very positive step in the democratization of the country.  However, the fact that the negotiation and agreement was reached only by the three groups which represent the three largest ethnic groups can be worrisome to minorities.  It really would have been more promising and delightful if the three groups had invited and included minority movements in the negotiation.  The agreement was very Wazobian in nature.

 2.  The president came to power through internal and external support.  Both groups of  supporters have a confluence of interest to control the oil.  They want an undisturbed flow of oil from the Niger Delta.  The internal elements (Nigerian leaders, high government officials and business people) get most of the revenue while the external supporters get the oil to fuel their economies.  It is the responsibility of the president to ensure that his internal and external supporters are rewarded for their support.  Mr. Binaebi Benatari (2003, February 25) provided an extensive information on President Obasanjo’s relationship with the external elements in an article titled “Obasanjo from the past.”  This is why the oil companies are working with Nigeria’s security forces to contain any threat to the flow of oil.    The president does not seem to consider the citizens of the Niger Delta as important Nigerian constituents since they are not part of the critical elements that exercise power in the country. 

 3.  The support, especially from the outside oil interests, has made it possible for the president to continue to rule without critical commentary about his human rights record.  It is not an understatement to say that more Nigerians have died under this regime than under any other regime after the civil war.   The political killings that have taken place under this regime have surpassed those of Gens. Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha put together.   Yet, the outside oil interests remain very quiet about the killings.   The most plausible explanation for the quietness is that they consider the current president to be their man.   The late Gen. Abacha was not considered their man, hence, the strident attacks against him when he was in power.    

4.  The above statement is not farfetched.  All over the world, countries which possess critical minerals are always led by leaders who got into power through the support of outside interests.  The outside interests often connive with the local power-wielding plutocrats to put a controllable leader in power.  It happened in Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria etc.  It is happening in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Nigeria, DMC, etc.   On the other hand, when a leader becomes too smart and refuses to play along, efforts are made to remove him or her from power--  Patrice Lumumba in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, President Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana, Gen. Murtalla Mohammed in Nigeria, Dr. Salvador Allende in Chile, President Mossadegh in Iran and the ongoing struggle against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuala etc.   When President Saddam Hussein was a good friend of the major oil interests, his use of biochemical weapons in the 1980s was not considered dangerous but now that he no longer plays along, he is about to be kicked out of power.  He will be replaced by  another controllable leader,  just as some of the leaders in the oil-producing Middle Eastern countries.

 5.  Leaders who cooperate with the international players are protected even when their human right records are actually worse than those who are considered to be the worst offenders.  Turkish policy towards the Kurds are as vicious as Iraqi’s policy toward the Kurds, yet, Turkish transgressions are treated as acceptable behavior while Iraqi behavior is considered unacceptable.  Human rights violations, assassinations, embezzlement, and corruption continue undisturbed in Nigeria, yet, the international actors remain very quiet.  There is not a single international oil actor who has spoken openly about the situation in the Niger Delta.  The Niger Delta is off the news and is kept as a hidden fact.  It does not even appear on the evening news in any of the major oil-consuming capitals of the world.  The only time news about the Niger Delta is reported internationally is when an oil company worker is kidnapped or when an oil flow station is blockaded by youth groups.  

 Likewise, all over the world, indigenes of regions with critical mineral resources are always the poorest and the most marginalized even though their territories produced the wealth of the nations.   The Kurds and the Shiites in Iraq, the Shiites in Saudi Arabia, the Karangs in Myanmar, the Native Americans in the Andean and Amazonian regions of Latin America, the Cabinda region of Angola, the indigenes of the Niger Delta, the Congolese, the Southern Sudanese etc. are typical examples of the marginalized groups whose territories provide the economic bounties of various governments in the world.   This is done to render them powerless so that mineral resources can be exploited without challenge.  The Niger Delta is subjected to pauperization and marginalization so that oil can be exploited without much resistance.  The international oil actors prefer to do business this way in order to control cost and increase their operational profits. The above statement has been stated before in previous articles.  It is restated here to emphasize the inequality of power.

 6.  The Oil dichotomy fiasco was intentionally created as a political ploy to divide the country into two:  between the Oil Producing States and the Non-oil Producing States.  The goal is to ensure that the Non-oil Producing states vote for President Obasanjo during the 2003 presidential elections.  The president and his advisers know that there are more Non-oil Producing States than the Oil-Producing States.  Thus, in an election, he believes that he can win the majority votes from the Non-Oil Producing regions of the country to overwhelm the protest votes of the Oil Producing States.  The president is sending a message to the Non-oil Producing States that he is putting the Oil Producing States in their place and that they should vote for him.

7.  As a result of this strategy, the president has been waging a psychological war against the indigenes of the Niger Delta.   He talks to the people of the region as if they are children.  In his recent visit to Uyo, he referred to the citizens of the region as being lazy for demanding a higher revenue share from oil that is pumped from their territory. (Reuters, 2003, March 11).  Well, if the citizens of the Niger Delta are lazy, what about other Nigerians?  Nigeria has depended solely on oil as a major source of revenue for over 30 years.    If Nigerian leaders and high government officials were not “lazy”, using the president’s terminology, Nigeria would have diversified economically and become highly prosperous.   For more than thirty years, wealth has primarily been accumulated through looting of the public treasury and inflated contracts.  President Obasanjo has had an opportunity to rule Nigeria twice.   He has not diversified the economy even though diversification serves the national interest.   He has relied exclusively on oil to fuel his regimes.  The failure on his part to diversify constitutes “LAZINESS.”  Moreover, since May 29, 1999, the president has been very ineffective in solving any of the major political problems in the country:  Warri, Benue, Sharia, Ife-Modakeke, Ilorin, Jos, religious, political killings etc.  The failure on the part of the president to solve any of the political conflicts constitutes laziness, if name calling has become a way of solving problems. 

 8.  Increasingly, the State Security Service and the police forces are being used to harass the indigenes of the Niger Delta.  Chief E. K. Clark and six members of the South/South Peoples Conference were queried in early January (Adebayo, 2003,January 3).  Mr. Festus Keyamo was detained in December 2002 without trial.  The detention sparked a counter legal action when Mr. Keyamo filed a suit at the Lagos High Court to challenge his detention (Anaba, 2003,January 8).  Chief Gani Fawehinmi even threatened to take the president  to the United Nations Human Rights Commssion if Mr. Keyamo were not released (Ozoemena, 2003, January 23).   The leader of the Central Zone of the Ijaw Youth Council , was summarily executed in Port Harcourt by the police.  The Odi Boys are still waiting the final resolution of their case.  They have been held since November 1999.  Mr. Nnengi James was rushed to Abuja to answer questions.   The police in the Rivers State spends more time harassing members of the opposition while allowing government officials to run wild.  The Late Dr. Marshall Harry described how the police tried to arrest members of the opposition when he sent a letter to the police authorities.  The Information Officer of MOSOP, Mr. Bari-ara Kpalap  corroborated Dr. Harry’s concerns when he said “The police must show they are capable of operating without political interference or favour and that protection in Rivers State is not just for those in government…We look for an immediate and concrete response which recognizes that there are numerous people of good character who have been threatened and attacked in Rivers State in recent months” (MOSOP Press Statement, 2003, March 22). 

 It is very strange, in a democracy, for the police to constantly harass, arrest and detain citizens.  It should be recalled that after President Obasanjo was released from detention, he promised never to detain any Nigerian without trial if he becomes the president.  Well, Chief Obasanjo is now the president and Nigerians are still being threatened, harassed, detained and killed.   The president either is not aware that Nigerians are being harassed for expressing certain opinions or he is fully aware of the situation.   Gen. Abacha too either did not know that state security agencies were harassing, detaining, and killing Nigerians or he was fully aware of the situation.  The similarity of purpose, operational style, and objectives between the military dictatorship of Gen. Abacha and the democratic regime of President Obasanjo are incredulous, yet, true.  Strong-arm political tactic is the primary means of communication by this regime, instead of reasoned persuasion.

 9.  It is not a coincident that the Warri political situation remains unresolved.  It appears that Warri is intentionally being used to divide the three ethnic groups (Ijaw, Itsekiri, and Urhobo) and prevent them from ever uniting to confront the oil issue.   If the federal government were seriously committed to peace and stability, the president would have been more involved in finding a lasting solution to the matter. The Warri crises began in 1998, yet, the federal government still does not have a decisive plan to quench the conflict.   Therefore, it is inferable that Warri is strategically being set ablaze since it is the weakest link in the Niger Delta effort to establish a political bloc.  For instance, someone attempted to rig the election in Warri South-West Council during the voter registration exercise in September 2002.  It is alleged by the residents of the area that men of the Police Fire for Fire squad removed registration materials from the Ogbe-Ijoh headquarters of the Warri South-West Council on that day and took the materials to Okpe Local Government Area.   Efforts by the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC) to resolve the voter registration issue by appealing to the authorities have met with unresponsiveness(Federated Niger-Delta Ijaw Communities. (2003, March 15).  Why was the registration process interfered with?  Who ordered the police to divert the registration materials?  Who wanted to interfere with the democratic process in Warri?   The lack of political action compelled the president of the Ijaw Students Association, Mr. Clarkson Aribogha to say that peace will never return to Warri until all the recommendations that have been made by various judicial committees and elders’ council are implemented (Amaize, 2003, February).

 10.  Instead of finding an acceptable political solution, the federal government sent jetfighters to fly over the city following the clash between the Itsekiris and the Urhobos in which fifteen people died (Nzeshi, 2003, February 1).  Three weeks after the Itsekiri and Urhobo clash,  the Ijaws and the Itsekiris clashed over the registration material diversion and the military blockafe of the waterways. Already, over fifteen  people are reported to have died, including military personnel (Omonobi, Ughegbe & Ogwuda, 2003, March21). 

 The media have not been very helpful in clarifying the situation. One version of the story seems to imply that Ijaw youths are reacting militantly to enforce a blockade of the Warri/Escravos River after a seven-day ultimatum given to the federal government to ameliorate the voter registration materials issue in Warri South-West Council had expired.   In an attempt to enforce the embargo, a shoot-out ensued resulting in the death of some youths and soldiers and the kidnapping of some policemen.  Feeling that the military and the police were aligning with the itsekiris, the armed Ijaw youths are also reported to have attacked Itsekiri communities in the troubled WSWC (Okafor & Shadare, 2003, March 19).  Overall, about ten or more Itsekiri towns and villages including Ajudaibo, Egbo Egungun, Eghor, Jakpa, Oghere, Ogidigben etc. are reported to have been attacked.  The Nigerain army and navy launched attacks against Ijaw towns and villages, including Okerenkoko, Seitoruzobor, and Oburukinan in Gbaramatu Clan of Warri South-West Local Government Area (Adebayo, 2003, March 24).  Both Ijaw and Itsekiri indigenes are fleeing their communities.   Ijaw community leaders, including Hon. Bello Oboko, Hon. George Timinimi, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro, Mr. Dan Ekpebide, and Chief Government Ekpemupolo view this version of the story as being fallacious and entirely misleading.  According to them, the Ijaw youths did not block any waterway as was reported by the press.  Instead, it was the military which did so and thereby prevented the flow of traffic.   The ijaw youths reacted to the military attack on their communities (Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communties, 2004, March 19).  The other version of the story is that Ijaw youths who worked for an oil bunkering tycoon attacked members of the security forces, killing more than four security personnel and kidnapping three police officers in the process.  (Nzeshi, 2003, March 17).  This version seems like a set up since the attackers were believed to have worn new Mobile Police uniforms.  No body is really sure who the attackers were.

The oil bunkering episode is a criminal enterprise and should be stopped.   Those involved in the killing of the security personnel while being involved in the bunkering activity should be prosecuted.  On the other hand, the Ijaw youths who are reacting over the Warri South-West Council voter registration fraud should be released.  Likewise, the voter registration fraud should be investigated.  Federal and Delta State officials should not take sides or try to make one of the ethnic groups the most predominant political force in Warri.   The Ijaw and the Urhobo have persistently complained about political marginalization and government authorities have tended to ignore or take sides.  For example, if the Ijaws had not reacted militantly, the removal of the Warri South-West Local Council’s headquarter from Ogbe-Ijoh to Ogidigben would have remained permanent two years ago.   When Delta State officials realized that the Ijaws would not take the removal of the headquarter from Ogbe-Ijoh to Ogidigben lying down, the governor transferred the local government capital back to Ogbe-Ijoh.   Warri politics is like politics in Rwanda where the minority (Tutsi) is trying to impose its authority over the majority (Hutu).  The Ijaws and the Urhobos are reacting furiously to the Rwandanization of Warri, just like the Hutus are reacting to the Tutsi effort to dominate them.

 11.  Generally, when the Ijaws complain, the complaint is never ever taken seriously, both by the government and the media.  When the Ijaws react militantly to express their frustrations and anger, the government and the media would immediately paint the reaction as “troublemaking.”   For example, the Ijaws of the Warri South-West Council area started complaining about the police involvement in the removal of the registration materials during the voter registration exercise, neither the Delta State nor the federal government responded to the Ijaw allegations or concerns.   The authorities did not even make any effort to investigate whether the police were involved or not.  The media slept and pretended not to hear about the alleged voter fraud.  Now that the Ijaws are reacting, the media are coming up with stories that are very contradictory and inciteful to military action against the Ijaws while ignoring the political problem that is the cause of Ijaw and Urhobo anger over political power distribution in Warri.   The president, the chiefs of  various services, the governor of Delta State, and the Inspector General of Police are pretending not to know that the distribution of political power is a major problem in Warri.   They assume that they can use the armed forces and the police to wish away the issue.

 12.  Nigeria’s military and police establishments continue to make the same kinds of mistakes that their predecessors made.  It should be recalled that Maj. Chukwuma K. Nzeogwu and his colleagues staged the first coup in January 1966 because the higher echelons of the military and the police did not do anything to stop the politicians from tearing down the country.  It is obvious that the higher echelons of the military and the police authorities continue to remain quiet and allow the politicians to tear down the country today.   It is the responsibility of the higher ups in the military and the police to properly advise the political leadership about the political and security situations in the country.  Therefore, the Chiefs of the Services, the Inspector General of the Police, the Commander of the NNS Umalokun, and the Commissioner of Police in Delta State need to tell the president that the ward situation in Warri is a source of perpetual conflict if it is not corrected.  So far, these officers are allowing themselves to be used as pawns to further destabilize the country by taking sides.   If the Ijaws feel that the armed forces and the police are being used to destroy them, they would not hesitate to literally put an end to oil activities in their territory, regardless of military occupation.

13.  President Obasanjo can afford to treat the minorities in Nigeria as if they are a third class citizens.  He does not hesitate to send the military to teach minorities a lesson but he has never sent the military to teach members of the majority groups a lesson when they misbehave.  There have been more killings in the Islamic North than in the Niger Delta.  Yet, the military is often ordered to shoot in the Niger Delta while the military is told to maintain peace and order in the majority areas of the North and the West.  The president understands that his internal and external supporters want him to control the Niger Delta so that oil production is not impeded by the indigenes of the region.   The Ijaws are particularly considered to be a threat to the flow of oil, hence, the directed attacks against them.

 Steps Needed to Change the Situation Around

 1.  The Ijaws should watch the situation very carefully, especially the manner in which the media report the issues.  It should be recalled that the media have persistently attempted to paint the Ijaws as “troublemakers,” in an attempt to encourage the federal government to send the military to attack the Ijaws.  It should be recalled that the media failed to report the full story about what led to the attack on the police officers around Odi.   The media actually incited a violent anti-Ijaw reaction when they listed the ethnic groups from which the police victims came from.   One could also recalled that the Ogonis even wanted to send a fighting team to avenge the death of an Ogoni policeman. Luckily, there was a change of mind.   However, it should not be surprising to the Ijaws that the lawyer who was defending the Odi youths was killed sometime last year.   The media, in a previous Ijaw/Itsekiri confrontation, reported the crisis in a manner as to create the impression that the Ijaws needed to be dealt with militarily.  The Vanguard seems to be the most subjective instigator of governmental action against the Ijaws..  Its headlines are always designed to incite the fear of the Ijaws.  Nationally, the media have never taken the time to report all the facts about the Warri situation.   One could also recalled that the media helped to instigate the Nigerian Civil War in 1967.

 2.  The Ijaws  can reverse the journalistic imbalance by sponsoring Ijaw media outlets. In other words, the Ijaws, including the government of Bayelsa State, should assist financially and materially existing media organs so that an Ijaw newpaper or a magazine can assume national and international prominence.  Currently, there is not a single Ijaw newspaper that has an extensive national and international impact.  Consequently, news coverage of the ethnic group tends to be manipulated to create a negative impression of the political efforts of the group members. 

  3.  The Warri crisis is no longer a localized issue.  Therefore, it is now time for the national leadership of Ijawland to become proactively involved in pressuring the federal government to settle the conflict.  The Ijaws, Itsekiris, and the Urhobos can only have peace if the situation is resolved equitably.   If the Delta State and the federal government remain passive or take sides, they are only going to prolong the agony of Warri for every Nigerian resident of that city.  As the citizens of these ethnic groups become even more angry and frustrated due to lack of a solution, they can physically prevent  the flow of oil from their territories.   No amount of troop deployment would be able to secure the Niger Delta for the oil companies to operate unhindered.     

 4.  The Ijaws also need  to pressure the federal government to create another Ijaw state.   Thus, the territorial boundaries of Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, and Rivers State can be adjusted for that purpose.  It is very critical to have another Ijaw state in order to reduce the pressure on Bayelsa State.  

 5.  The indigenes of the Niger Delta must be very vigilant.  The recent killing of Dr.  Marshall Harry is not merely due to electoral politics.  It is also connected to the control  of Rivers State and the Niger Delta.  Thus, the late Harry is simply an addition to the list of murdered Niger Delta leaders:  Isaac Boro, Dr. Obi Wali, Prof.  Claude Ake, Chief  Ken Saro Wiwa, Pa Rewane etc. Chief Alex Ibru narrowly escaped death.  Dr. Ledum Mitee escaped death because he was outside Nigeria. The assassins attacked his residence in a manner very reminiscent of the attack on Dr. Marshall Harry.  There must be a reason why genuine Rivers State leaders are being targeted for assassination.   Therefore, all Niger Delta leaders must now be protected by their own trusted citizens.  Every patriotic Ijaw leader must be guarded by Ijaw patriots.   It is not a coincident that whenever a Niger Delta indigene becomes a major national figure, something always happens.  It is a way to ensure that the region does not produce highly respectable leaders who can single-handedly publicize the plight of the region and or compete nationally to change existing policies.

 6.  Likewise, as part of the protective security system, Niger Delta groups should develop intelligence gathering capabilities.   This is to ensure their security since Nigeria cannot guarantee their safety.  The Ogoni people were brutalized in the early 1990s by state sponsored killer squads.  Culturally, it is not common for the Niger Delta groups to engage in assassinations, so, there is a hidden agenda.  The desire to control the oil revenue is a great motivational force for all kinds of evil machinations.

 7. The leaders and indigenes of the Niger Delta must always think fast and deep in order to avoid political traps intentionally set to derail their efforts to control the oil.   The youths should work with the elders to ensure a commonality of purpose and to avoid militarization of the region.  Remember, the battle is arduous, and tricky.     The region is taking on major national and international players whose financial wherewithal is intrinsically linked with the flow of oil from the Niger Delta.  It should also be advised that the region is taking on the most industrialized nation-states of the world.  These countries consider oil to be a critical part of their national security system.  In deed, among the myriad theories and ideas about international political relations, is a growing dogmatic belief by some realists from the industrialized countries that the major powers have a preemptive right, if necessary, to use force in order to secure oil to maintain their economies.   Dr. Henry Kissinger, the former U.S Secretary of State, is an exponent of this view.  Consequently, the Iraqi situation appears to be a dramatic activation of the theory of preemption to secure oil fields.   If the Middle East becomes highly unstable, the major international and national players could use the right of preemption to encourage Nigeria’s security forces to forcefully occupy the Niger Delta.

 8.  Recently, the House of Representatives ordered the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to pay the sum of $1.5 billion to the Ijaws of Bayelsa.  There is no doubt that the SPDC would work behind the limelight to persuade Nigeria’s power-wielders to change their minds over the payment scheme.  The payment issue could turn out to be like the offshore/onshore dichotomy bill when the powerful SPDC goes with bagful of money to advise some members of the National Assembly and policymakers about the implication of paying the Ijaws that kind of money. The SPDC could say, “Look, if we pay the Ijaws of Bayelsa $1.5 billion, the Eastern and Western Ijaws would most probably demand their own shares.  Then, the Edos, Ibibios, some Igbos, Isokos, Itsekiris, Ogonis, Urhobos, some Yorubas etc. would eventually demand their own shares.   This would cause irreparable financial damage, including the possible collapse of the oil companies.  If the oil companies were to collapse, then Nigeria too could suffer severe economic problems.”  With that kind of argument coming from the oil companies, some influential members of the National Assembly could change their minds.  The offshore/onshore dichotomy bill went through a path similar to the described scenario.  

 Whether payment is made or not, the Ijaws and the other Niger Delta groups should continue to use political and legal means to press on the struggle.  Such means are very constitutional, justifiable, and internationally acceptable.  Militancy in an era of antiterrorism war could be misconstrued as terrorism.  The Nigerian government and the international oil interests would be too eager to paint all resistant efforts as terrorism.

To avoid disinformation and misinformation, the Ijaws should assist the Ijaw elders in the Warri area to find out the true story of the oil bunkering incident and the alleged Ijaw youths who were involved.  It is also important to find out the source of “new Mobile Police uniforms” as well as the voter registration scandal. 

 9. Some Ijaws have commented on the lack of serious reaction by Ijaw establishment political representatives in Abuja.  The passivity should be put in perspective.  The current political system is very corrupt.  It is designed to marginalize minorities, especially those from the oil producing communities.  Consequently, the Ijaw representatives are on a tight political rope.  If they overreact, they could be easily branded as antiNigerian and the political bridges being built to change the oil situation could be destroyed.  Thus, the minority representatives, particularly from Ijawland, have to walk a fine political line as far as they are in Abuja.   Moreover, they are part of a political party machine which does not encourage members who were sponsored by the big players to speak their minds.  This being the case, it is much preferable for the Ijaw representatives to work diplomatically to reduce tension.  On the other hand, it is tactically better for those outside the political system to react more vigorously.  In other words, it works better tactically to have a two-pronged approach, using people inside and outside to achieve certain objectives.

 10.  The Ijaws should not hesitate to go to the African Union and the United Nations to seek protection as a “Special Territory or Zone” if the federal government of Nigeria cannot guarantee them safety in their territory.  The Ijaws are being treated like the Iraqi Kurds and Shiites.  Meanwhile, petition drives should be directed at countries with oil companies operating in Ijawland.  Likewise, articles and SOS messages should be sent to major international media outlets like the CNN, CBC, BBC, FOX, WorldLink etc. in an effort to publicize the plight of the people. It is an encouraging  development to here that a French journalist (Laurent Correau) is interested in doing a material on Ijaw leaders.  However, for security sake, such journalists must be thoroughly checked out before patriotic Ijaw leaders are exposed to unknown foreign figures who might have other motives.  It should be recalled that one of the greatest Afghan military generals (Gen. Massud) during the anti-Soviet war was killed by an alleged Al Qaeda agent who posed as a photojournalist a week before September 11, 2001.

 11.  Bayelsa State should set up an emergency relief program.  The program should have both financial and relief material components.  In the event of a crisis anywhere in Ijawland, the program would be able to provide relief materials to the victims.  There is no doubt that the resource control struggle would lead to frequent confrontations between the Ijaws and the security forces. 

 13.  The Ijaws and the other ethnic groups in the Oil Producing Areas should put pressure on the federal government to invest more on other sectors of the economy, in an effort to reduce reliance on oil.   This is achievable by lobbying the president and members of the National Assembly to increase the budget for agriculture, industrialization, and trade.   If possible, encourage the federal government to continue to explore for oil and other minerals in other parts of the country.  This is necessary in order to reduce the pressure on the Niger Delta and save its environment and the people from total destruction.  


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 Adebayo, S. (2003, January 3).  SSS quizzes Clark, 6 others on Oil Dichotomy Bill.Vanguard,  online.  http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/202/cover/1203012003.html.   1/3/03.

 _______, ( 2003, March 24).  Warri war:  Ijaws accuse soldiers of razing their villages- Army confirms 6 soldiers killed.  Vanguard.  Online:  http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/cover/1424052003/html.  3.24.03

 Akpan, C.  (2002, December 19).  Keyamolaunches his Niger Delta Republic. Allafrica.com  online.  http://allafrica.com/stories/200212190632.htlm.  12.20/02.

AllAfrica.com. ( 2003, February 21).  OPC, IPC, Arewa Youth pledge to shun conflicts.

Online:  http://allafrica.com/stories/200302210300.html.  2/21/03.

 Amaize, E.  ( 2003, February 20).  Ogbe-Ijaw students want solution to Warri crises.AllAfrica.com.  Online: http://allafrica.com/stories/200302210336.html.  2/21/03

 Anaba, I.  (2003, January 8).  Keyamo sues SSS.  Vanguard, online.  http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/cover/f308012003.htm.  1/8/03.

 Benatari, B.  (2003, February 25).  Obasanjo – from the past:  part five. Online:  Ijawnation@yahoogroups.com.  2/28/03

 Federated Niger-Delta Ijaw Communities.  (2003, march 15).  Save Our Souls.  A petition sent to the Federal government of Nigeria.  Online: Ijawnation@yahoogroups.com.  3/17/03

 __________, (2003, March 19).  Matters of Urgent State Attention. Ijawnation@yahoo.com. 3/26/03.

MOSOP Press Statement.  (2003, March 22).  Assassination raid on Ledum Mitees Port Harcourt home.  Online:  http://us.f105.mail.yahoo.com/ym/ShowLetter?Msgld=1991-2583070..  3/24/03.

 Nzeshi, O. (2003, February 1).  Four feared killed in fresh Warri crisis.  AllAfrica.com.  Online:  http://allafric,com/stories/200302010192.html.  2/1/03.

 ________  (2003, march 17).  Military positions for reprisal attack in Delta.  Tis day  Online: http://www.thisdayonline.com/news/20030317news12html.  3/17/03.

Okafor, C. & Shadare, W. ( 20003, March 19).  Government deploys troops to Warri, airlines suspend flights.  The Guardian.  Online:  http://www.guardianewsngr.com/news/article02/.  3/19/03. 

Ozoemena, C. (2003, January 23).  Gani threatens to drag Obasanjo to UN over Keyamo.

Online:  Ijawnation@yahoogroups.com.  1/27/03

Reuters. (2003, march 11).  Nigeria’s Obasanjo suffers poll campaign walkout.  Online: http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml:jsessionid=PANIIMEUVPPUWCRBAEKSFFA?t..   3/12/03

This Day online.  (February 2, 2003).  The charge against Tinubu.  http://www.thisdayonline.com/news/sunday/20030202cov02.htlm.  2/2/03.

 Ughegbe, L. (2003, March 12).  Reps order Shell to pay Ijaw $1.5b compensation. Ijawnation@yahoo.com.  3/12/03.

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