1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Ever since the discovery of crude oil in Oloibiri in 1956, the Niger Delta region has continued to play a vital role in the politics, economics, and security of Nigeria. The Delta of the Niger River in Nigeria is known to be a densely populated region and sometimes called the Oil Rivers, because it was once a major palm oil producing state. The area was the British Oil River Protectorate from 1885 until 1893 when it was expanded and became the Niger Coast Protectorate.The region gave a general idea about the value of oil to be 37.2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and 188 trillion standard cubic feet of natural gas as the largest hydrocarbon deposits in Africa. Oil exploitation has become primary to the state economy, and it accounts for 80 percent of government revenue, 95 percent of foreign exchange earnings, and 40 percent of gross domestic product. Aside Niger Delta’s oil wealth, their position on the Atlantic is an indispensable maritime path for Nigeria to move crude to international markets and to import theneeded goods.
Irrespective of the enormous wealth created by its petroleum, although, much of the Niger Delta region is known for widespread poverty, youth unemployment, political underrepresentation, and environmental declination. These factors summed up to contribute to an outbreak of violence between 2006 and 2009, resurgence of militancy in the region, spearheaded by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). A presidential amnesty program assisted to end the crises and also permitted oil production to bounce back to normal. Despite all these, the desire and effort to sustain security in the Niger Delta region has remained a major challenge to successive Nigerian governments.
The resurgence of militancy in Niger Delta regionresurfaced in the mid-2015 and has become a major security concern to Nigerians, the federal government, regional shipping companies, and international oil interests, etc. Intensified attacks on oil infrastructure by new and upcoming militant groups such as the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) have abridged Nigeria’s output to a 22-year low. Our President, Muhammadu Buhari has reacted by commanding the military to “crush” the NDA, leadingto heightened military presence across the Delta region. There is constant growing concern that further increase of conflict, violence could paralyze oil production, with dire, cascading economic and security consequences for the country.
The resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta region of the Nigerian state has hugely contributed to in economic setbacks and gross human rights violations in the country. The crises started as a result of unquestionable facts about the oil rich region i.e the region is of strategic importance to both national and international economies. Also, there are two main sources of violent crisis in the Niger Delta region of the Nigerian state which has tampered the security of the state. The federal government’s neglect of the development needs of the region and the extracting the bulk of Nigerian’s foreign exchange from regional and centralizing the ownership and control of oil resource which has weakened the interest of the region. Due to these unfavorable terms, youths and other militia groups have become consistently stubborn and willing to engage in anti-state and anti-social activities.
Thecrisis in the Niger Delta region of the Nigerian State has taken the place of an increasing propensity due to the resurgence of militancy. This is assumed the be so because of the growing security challenging alarm it rings in the Nigerian State and the Niger Delta in particular. Militancy is a direct answer to the human rights law-breaking and the perceived neglect, and marginalization of the region by the Nigerian state and environmental and human hazards inflicted on the local Niger Delta communities and inhabitants caused by exploration and exploitation by oil multinational oil companies. The fact that the rate of militancy in the Niger Delta region of the Nigerian state has made the Nigerian oil fields among the most dangerous in the world and has also become a biggish threat to Nigeria’s primary source of revenue cannot be declined. The federal government has therefore lost billions of dollars in oil revenue through activities of these militia groups (Ekpo 2007). In the same manner, the criminal activities of militancy in the Niger Delta have created a state of insecurity and the deformation, misshaping of values of the region. The main director in the crisis, the federal government, it agencies and partners on one hand, and the ethnic militias, have made their position stable in other to secure their somewhat different interests. A state – centric conception is held by the state and the multinational oil corporation, while the human-centric conception is held by the declined people of the Niger Delta and express through the actions of militia groups. The federal government is therefore trying to address the conflict in the region and have continually seen the activities of militia groups as criminal and a threat to national security and have as a result declared war against the groups and the communities where they are located to secure the region and the Nigerian state. The militarization and militarist actions have worsened dangerous conflict in the region. It is in the light of the foregoing that the paper will attempt to examine the formation of militia groups in the Niger Delta,examine the resurgence of militancy in the region, pointing its implications for Nigeria.
1.2. Statement of the general problem
No society is void of conflicts but when not properly managed could result to unexpected negative consequences.The resurgence of Niger delta militancy as a result of poor management of conflict has led to the wanton destruction of lives and properties. This has negatively affected the economy of Nigeria as it is no longer a secret that more than 90 percent of the nation’s income happens to come from this region. A lot has been attributed to the resurgence of militancy in the Niger delta. The Niger delta militancy may have contributed to the current challenge of economic recession as millions of barrels of Nigeria’s crude are being lost on a daily basis which doesn’t augur economically well for a mono economic country like Nigeria.
1.3. Aims and objectives of the study
The major aim of the study is to assess conflict management and the resurgence of militancy in the Niger delta region. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1. To investigate other reasons for the resurgence of Niger delta militancy in Nigeria.
2. To examine the effect of militancy on the economy of Nigeria.
3. To examine the effect of militancy on the security situation in Nigeria.
4. To determine the benefits of effective conflict management in Nigeria.
5. To determine the relationship between adequate conflict management and economic development in the Niger delta region.
6. To recommend ways of effective conflict resolution in the Niger delta.
1.4. Research Questions
1. What are the reasons for the resurgence of Niger delta militancy in Nigeria?
2. What are the effects of militancy on the economy of Nigeria?
3. What are the effects of militancy on the security situation in Nigeria?
4. What are the benefits of effective conflict management in Nigeria?
5. What is the relationship between adequate conflict management and economic development in the Niger delta region?
6. What are the ways of effective conflict resolution in the Niger delta?
1.5. Research Hypotheses
H0:There is no relationship between effective conflict management and the resurgence of Niger delta militancy in the Niger delta.
H1:There is a significant relationship between effective conflict management and the resurgence of Niger delta militancy in the Niger delta.
H0:Niger delta militancy does not have an impact on the economy of Nigeria.
H1:Niger delta militancy has significant impact on the economy of Nigeria.
1.6. Significance of the study
The study would be immense importance to government at all levels and Niger delta stakeholders as it would unveil the effect of adequate conflict management strategies on Niger delta militancy. The study would also proffer solutions to the resurgence of the Niger delta militancy. The study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on Niger delta militancy.
1.7. Scope of the study
The study is restricted to the assessment of conflict management and the resurgence of militancy in the Niger delta region.
1.8. Limitation of the study
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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