THE PRICE OF NIGER DELTA OIL MONEY
By M. O. Ajah
The oil-rich region in Nigeria known as Niger Delta has been entangled in several crises which have consumed lives and property. The crises were directly precipitated by neglect on the part of the nation's leadership. Alongside this pilot instigator, the duo of inadequate efforts by the local leadership and perceived conspiracy by multinational oil majors added salt to the wound.
The people watched in distress their abject condition amidst affluence. Gradually, they stood up and challenged the authorities. They initially towed the part of non-violent agitation. This was the measure extensively explored by the earlier proponents of the Niger Delta struggle. When it was clear that the measure could not affect, the later strugglers took to arms. The struggle, however, is a long quest for equity in resource and power sharing. The Niger Delta people did not only feel alienated to resources from their homeland, they felt frustrated from belonging to a federation where the federating units were not equally treated in all dimensions. The book is a critical survey of the whole situation in the Niger Delta: all that the Niger Delta oil money has caused Nigeria in particular and the world at large; how the Niger Delta people, Nigerians and the international community viewed it; what the people said about it; and what could be done to develop the region and thus return it to the hub of oil and gas businesses in Africa.
Nigeria lost heavily to the crises and therefore had to pay heavily for developing the region. The Niger Delta people had suffered. Many of them surrendered their lives and properties for their posterity to rejoice for their God-given oil money. Apart from infrastructural development, Nigeria had to pay even more to revamp the people. Despite the fact that the federal and state governments as well as the oil majors made efforts to develop the region, the efforts were regarded insufficient and ineffective, hence the continued agitation and aggression. Militancy, kidnapping, armed robbery, and some of the vices associated with the Niger Delta struggle were believed to be natural products of lack and complexities in the management or mismanagement of the oil money. These products would go when the region and the people are given larger share from the oil money.