THE NIGER DELTA CRISIS: ITS IMPACT ON NIGERIA’S NATIONAL SECURITY
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In 2002, an international observation proclaimed the Niger Delta as one of the most volatile regions of the world. This observation came on the heels of incessant crisis which the region have been witnessing for decades but which took alarming dimension in losing years of the 1990’s and the opening years of the new millennium. The region from one decade to another has witnessed unprecedented crisis which revolve round political and most importantly economic factors. Also from one decade to another the nature and dynamics of crisis in the region have changed, the transformations which the crisis took from the one period to another have paved way for its institutionalization in the history of the region and Nigeria in general.1 If the institutionalization in the history of the Niger Delta crisis in the politics and economy of the country is something to discuss, the threat which it has been posing and still posing to domestic and international security of the Nigerian nation state is an aspect which requires critical academic enquiry.
A systematic analysis of the crisis is informed by my intention to identify the changing dynamics of what constitutes national security over the years and how the nation state of Nigeria have been contending with the threat which the Niger Delta crisis is posing to the so called national security. National security questions is a complex of political, legal, social, economic, ideological and military problems that arises in the course of a people struggling for political and economic independence and for the establishment of equal and friendly relations with other people in the bilateral and international affairs.
It is imperative to see how regional based crisis affect the survival of the entire country and how the political entity called Nigeria have been dealing with the changing dynamics of the crisis, the current study therefore understands that the concept of national security is fluid and dynamic. All nations of the world contend and will continue to contend with the challenges arising from the national security. To Nigeria, the complicated nature of the Niger Delta crisis poses serious and enduring threat to the fragile nature of Nigerian democracy and the ever volatile national security.
What this work explores is the complexity involved in the maintenance of national security which arose as a result of the crisis in the Niger Delta. For the purpose of this research, the concept of National Security questions and the contributions of Niger Delta crisis are both international and domestic in nature.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
In this work, I attempt to answer the entire questions of the place of crude oil in the escalation and the reduction of the Niger Delta crisis. The significance of the other exigencies or factors in the crisis? The contributions of the Multinational Corporation and different political ferments in the region? The Niger Delta crisis cannot be understood without a critical understanding of the relationship between individual communities on the one hand and with the federal government on the other hand which revolve round the control of resources and retarded infrastructural, economic and social development in the region.
To what extents have the crisis constitutes threats to national security? Put differently, what is the threat which the crisis is posing to the Nigeria’s nascent democracy? How crisis have metamorphosed in the all-embracing concept of national security is also analyzed and the entire attempts made by the federal government to preserve legitimacy in the name of the fundamental national security are not left undiscussed.
Niger Delta crisis at every point in time have threatened the primacy responsibility of the government in terms of security of lives and properties and the preservation of oneness of Nigeria as a single political entity.2 National security transcends the primary role of the government in the protection of lives and properties. It also involves the international security and sovereignty. The gagging question is: is the Niger Delta crisis posing any threat to the international security and sovereignty of the Nigerian nation?
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
National security questions and the role played by the Niger Delta crisis is theme which requires adequate scholarly attention.
The objective of this study therefore are
1. To look at how the Niger Delta crisis affects Nigerian national security.
2. To locate the impact of the Niger Delta crisis within the framework of its implication of national security.
3. To see how regional based crisis affect the survival of the entire country.
4. To identify the changing dynamics and what constitutes nationals security over the years and how the nation state of Nigeria has been contending with the crisis.
5. The place of rude oil in the escalation and in the reduction of the Niger Delta crisis.
6. The significance of the other exigencies or factors in the crisis.
7. The contribution of the multination corporation and different political ferments in the regions.
The justification for this work can best be appreciated from two major perspectives namely, the need to carry out a critical academic analysis of he origin of the Nigeria Delta Crisis and an appraisal of the impact of the Niger Delta Crisis on national security, hence the changing dynamics of the crisis and the high degree of internationalization which its taken in recent years. The internationalization of the Niger Delta Crisis is as old as the history of the crisis itself; however, in recent years the concern of the international community is getting higher and higher.