1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
One of the fundamental responsibilities of the state is to ensure the security of the life and property of its citizens. Others include the protection of its territoriality and sovereignty and the guarantee of its socio-economic and political stability. Security as an essential concept is commonly associated with the alleviation of threats to cherished values, especially the survival of individuals, groups or objects in the near future. Thus, security as the name implies, involves the ability to pursue cherished political and social ambitions (Williams, 2008:6). According to Palme (1992:9), ―there is a correlation between security and survival‖. Whereas survival is an essential condition, security is viewed as safety, confidence, free from danger, fear, doubt, among others. Therefore, security is ‗survival-plus‘ and the word ‘plus’ could be understood from the standpoint of being able to enjoy some freedom from life-determining threats and some life choices (Booth, 2007: 15). However, the concept – security, is meaningless without a critical discourse of something pertinent to secure. Indeed, security could best be understood when situated within the context, of a referent object. In the long sweep of human history, the central focus of security has been people (Rothschild, 1995:68). Contrarily, some scholars especially those in international politics have argued that when thinking about security, states should be the most important referents. On the other hand, some analysts have challenged this position by arguing that any intellectual discourse on security should accord priority to human beings since without reference to individual humans, security makes no sense (McSweeney, 1999:127). Notwithstanding these controversial dabates, the focus of this investigation is on micro security. However, micro security deals with the internal security of which Nigeria is currently mired in a state of obfuscation. Similarly, the security situation in Nigeria obviously took different dimensions. This period, however, witnessed a consistent pressure on the government by Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MOSSOB), increasing spate of kidnapping in the South – East geo – political zone, incessant bombings in the northern parts of Nigeria by Boko Haran group, Mehem by the Islamic assailants in Jos crisis, politically motivated killings by unscrupulous groups, among others (Ameh, 2008:9).
Before the advent of commercial oil production in the Niger Delta about fifty years ago (in1958), the region was essentially a pristine environment which supported substantial subsistence resources for the mostly sedentary populations. These included among other things, medicinal herbs and barks, fish and shrimp, crabs and clams, wood for energy and shelter, as well as a stable soil for farming and habitat for exotic wildlife. There was the Delta elephant, the white crested monkey, the river hippopotamus, as well as a colorful array of exotic birds, crocodiles, turtles and alligators. The region also accounted for a large percentage of Nigeria‘s commercial fisheries industry. Oil prospecting activities however are associated with the destruction of vegetation, farmlands and human settlements to allow for seismic cutting lines. Severe environmental hazards associated with this activity include destruction of fish and some other forms of aquatic life, both marine and freshwater around the prospecting sites. Noise pollution and vibration from seismographic blasting also affects buildings, fence walls, wooden bridges and access roads. When the impact occurs, as has become routine in the Niger Delta, there is usually no attempt to rectify the damages done to the environment, health and social well-being of the people and ecosystem. No compensation whatsoever is considered (Eyinla and Ukpo, 2006). Oil drilling operations further pollute the underground water. Through a variety of unethical practices in drilling, more fish and fauna are destroyed, farming and fishing grounds polluted by toxic waste materials. Also in the,…
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The Niger Delta region harbours one of the world‘s biggest oil reserves of some 34 billion barrels of crude oil (Robinson, 2006:18-24). At some point, the resources of the Niger Delta region made Nigeria the largest oil producer in Africa and the sixth largest in the world (Ajanaku, 2008). With all these attributes, it was expected that oil exploration would bring economic prosperity to the region but has turned out instead to be a curse to the people of the region (Ajanaku, 2008; Davis, 2009; Roberts, 2005) who, until recently, have been neglected by successive governments (Roberts, 2005; Osuntokun, 1999; Oviasuyi & Uwadiae, 2010:110). Rather than transform the area into one of the most developed spaces in the world, oil presence, exploration and exploitation deepened poverty and undermined development in the region. Activities around exploitation of crude oil and natural gas in the Niger Delta region have caused irredeemable ecological devastation to the Niger Delta land over the years (Inokoba & Imbua, 2010). Some of these problems include water and land pollution as a result of oil exploration activities, destruction of natural vegetation, deforestation, destruction of arable farm lands and human settlements, loss of bio-diversity such as flora and fauna habitats, air pollution, acid rain, gas flaring, and so on while economic activities such as fishing, farming and hunting which has been the mainstay of the people and local economy can no longer be practiced profitably. In addition, a range of harsh socio-economic conditions
such as poverty and underdevelopment, unemployment, high cost of living, diseases and strange health conditions, unemployment, social disintegration and restiveness, infrastructural decay, intra and inter-communal clashes, and general insecurity has gripped the region intermittently.
Though the government offered amnesty to the militants for a very short period that, but a few militants responded. Oil production continues to be seriously reduced by the militants‘ attacks and by the stealing of oil (termed ―bunkering‖) by militants and others which have continued to threaten national security and peace.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. Assess the security situation in the Niger Delta region.
2. Examine the actions taken towards abating the Niger Delta Crisis.
3. Examine the impact of the Niger Delta crisis on Nigeria‘s National Security.
4. Suggest ways to proffer solutions to the Niger Delta Crisis.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the security situation in the Niger Delta region?
2. What are the actions taken towards abating the Niger Delta Crisis?
3. What is the impact of the Niger Delta Crisis on Nigeria‘s National Security?
4. How can the Niger Delta Crisis be curbed?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
1. Ho: The security situation in the Niger Delta region is not significant
H1: The security situation in the Niger Delta region is significant
2. Ho: No action has been taken towards abating the Niger Delta Crisis
H1: Actions have been taken towards abating the Niger Delta Crisis
3. Ho: The Niger Delta Crisis has no impact on Nigeria‘s National Security