The Niger Delta is the delta of the Niger River sitting directly on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria.It is typically considered to be located within nine coastal southern Nigerian states, which include: all six states from the South South geopolitical zone, one state (Ondo) from South West geopolitical zone and two states (Abia and Imo) from South East geopolitical zone. Of all the states that the region covers, only Cross River State is not an oil-producing state.
The Niger Delta is a very densely populated region sometimes called the Oil Rivers because it was once a major producer of palm oil. The area was the British Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 until 1893, when it was expanded and became the Niger Coast Protectorate. The delta is a petroleum-rich region and has been the center of international concern over pollution that has resulted principally from major oil spills of multinational corporations of the petroleum industry.
The Niger Delta, as now defined officially by the Nigerian government, extends over about 70,000 km2 (27,000 sq mi) and makes up 7.5% of Nigeria's land mass. Historically and cartographically, it consists of present-day Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers States. In 2000, however, Obasanjo's regime included Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River State, Edo, Imo and Ondo States in the region.
The Niger Delta and the South South geopolitical zone (which contains six of the states in Niger Delta) are two different entities. The Niger Delta separates the Bight of Benin from the Bight of Bonny within the larger Gulf of Guinea.
Some 31 million peopleof more than 40 ethnic groups including the Bini, Ohaji/Egbema, Itsekiri, Efik, Esan, Ibibio, Annang, Oron, Ijaw, Igbo, Isoko, Urhobo, Kalabari, Yoruba, Okrika, Ogoni, Ogba–Egbema–Ndoni, Epie-Atissa people and Obolo people, are among the inhabitants of the political Niger Delta, speaking about 250 different dialects. Language groups spoken in the Niger Delta include the Ijaw languages, Itsekiri language, Central Delta languages, Edoid languages, Yoruboid Languages, and Igboid languages.
The area was the British Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 until 1893, when it was expanded and became the Niger Coast Protectorate. The core Niger Delta later became a part of the eastern region of Nigeria, which came into being in 1951 (one of the three regions, and later one of the four regions). The majority of the people were those from the colonial Calabar, Itsekiri and Ogoja divisions, the present-day Ogoja, Itsekiri, Annang, Ibibio, Oron, Efik, Ijaw and Ogoni peoples. The National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) was the ruling political party of the region. The NCNC later became the National Convention of Nigerian Citizens, after western Cameroon decided to separate from Nigeria. The ruling party of eastern Nigeria did not seek to preclude the separation and even encouraged it. The then Eastern Region had the third, fourth and fifth largest indigenous ethnic groups in the country including Igbo, Efik-Ibibio and Ijaw.
In 1953, the old eastern region had a major crisis when professor Eyo Ita was expelled from office by the majority Igbo tribe of the old eastern region. Ita, an Efik man from Calabar, was one of the pioneer nationalists for Nigerian independence. The minorities in the region, the Ibibio, Annang, Efik, Ijaw and Ogoja, were situated along the southeastern coast and in the delta region and demanded a state of their own, the Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers (COR) state. The struggle for the creation of the COR state continued and was a major issue concerning the status of minorities in Nigeria during debates in Europe on Nigerian independence. As a result of this crisis, Professor Eyo Ita left the NCNC to form a new political party called the National Independence Party which was one of the five Nigerian political parties represented at the conferences on Nigerian Constitution and Independence.
In 1961, another major crisis occurred when the then eastern region of Nigeria allowed present-day southwestern Cameroon to separate from Nigeria (from the region of what is now Akwa Ibom and Cross River states) through a plebiscite while the leadership of the Northern Region took the necessary steps to keep northwestern Cameroon in Nigeria, in present-day Adamawa and Taraba states. The aftermath of the 1961 plebiscite has led to a dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria over the small territory of Bakassi.
A new phase of the struggle saw the declaration of an Independent Niger Delta Republic by Isaac Adaka Boro during Nigerian president Ironsi's administration, just before the Nigerian Civil War. Also just before the Nigerian civil war, Southeastern State of Nigeria was created (also known as Southeastern Nigeria or Coastal Southeastern Nigeria), which had the colonial Calabar division, and colonial Ogoja division. Rivers State was also created. Southeastern State and River State became two states for the minorities of the old eastern region, and the majority Igbo of the old eastern region had a state called East Central state. Southeastern State was renamed Cross River State and was later split into Cross River State and Akwa Ibom State. Rivers State was later divided into Rivers State and Bayelsa State.
The people of the eastern region suffered heavily and sustained many deaths during 1967–1970 Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War, in which the eastern region declared an independent state named Biafra that was eventually defeated.
During the next phase of resistance in the Niger Delta, local communities demanded environmental and social justice from the federal government, with Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni tribe as the lead figures for this phase of the struggle. Cohesive oil protests became most pronounced in 1990 with the publication of the Ogoni Bill of Rights. The indigents protested against the lack of economic development, e.g. schools, good roads, and hospitals, in the region, despite all the oil wealth created. They also complained about environmental pollution and destruction of their land and rivers by foreign oil companies. Ken Saro Wiwa and nine other oil activists from Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) were arrested and killed under Sani Abacha in 1995. Although protests have never been as strong as they were under Saro-Wiwa, there is still an oil reform movement based on peaceful protests today as the Ogoni struggle served as a modern-day eye opener to the peoples of the region.
When long-held concerns about loss of control over resources to the oil companies were voiced by the Ijaw people in the Kaiama Declaration in 1998, the Nigerian government sent troops to occupy the Bayelsa and Delta states. Soldiers opened fire with rifles, machine guns, and tear gas, killing at least three protesters and arresting twenty-five more.Since then, local indigenous activity against commercial oil refineries and pipelines in the region have increased in frequency and militancy. Recently foreign employees of Shell, the primary corporation operating in the region, were taken hostage by local people. Such activities have also resulted in greater governmental intervention in the area and the mobilization of the Nigerian Army and State Security Service into the region, resulting in violence and human rights abuses. In April 2006, a bomb exploded near an oil refinery in the Niger Delta region, a warning against Chinese expansion in the region. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) stated: "We wish to warn the Chinese government and its oil companies to steer well clear of the Niger Delta. The Chinese government, by investing in stolen crude, places its citizens in our line of fire."
Government and private initiatives to develop the Niger Delta region have been introduced recently. These include the Niger Delta Development Commission, a government initiative, and the Development Initiative, a community development non-governmental organization based in Port Harcourt. Uz and Uz Transnational, a company with a strong commitment to the Niger Delta, has introduced ways of developing the poor in the Niger Delta, especially in Rivers State. In September 2008, MEND released a statement proclaiming that their militants had launched an "oil war" throughout the Niger Delta against both, pipelines and oil-production facilities, and the Nigerian soldiers that protect them. Both MEND and the Nigerian Government claim to have inflicted heavy casualties on one another.In August 2009, the Nigerian government granted amnesty to the militants; many militants subsequently surrendered their weapons in exchange for a presidential pardon, rehabilitation programme, and education.
Western Niger Delta consists of the western section of coastal South-South Nigeria which includes Delta, and the southernmost parts of Edo, and Ondo States. The western (or Northern) Niger Delta is an heterogeneous society with several ethnic groups including the Itsekiri, Urhobo, Isoko, Ijaw (or Izon) and Ukwuani; the Bini, Esan, Auchi, Esako, oral, igara and Afenmai in Edo State; and the Ilaje Yoruba in Ondo State. Their livelihoods are primarily based on fishing and farming. History has it that the Western Niger was controlled by chiefs of the four primary ethnic groups the Itsekiri, Isoko, Ijaw, and Urhobo with whom the British government had to sign separate "Treaties of Protection" in their formation of "Protectorates" that later became southern Nigeria.
Central Niger Delta consists of the central section of coastal South-South Nigeria which includes Bayelsa, Rivers, Abia and Imo States. The Central Niger Delta region has the Ijaw (including the Nembe-Brass, Ogbia, Kalabari people, Ibani of Opobo & Bonny, Abua, Okrika, Engenni and Andoni clans), the Ogoni people (Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme), the Etche, Egbema, Omuma, Ogba, Ikwerre, Ndoni, Ekpeye and Ndoki in Rivers State, Abia State and Imo State, who are considered as a sub-group of the Igbo ethnic group.
Eastern Niger Delta consists of Cross River State and Akwa Ibom State.
Nigeria has become West Africa's biggest producer of petroleum. Some 2 million barrels (320,000 m3) per day are extracted in the Niger Delta, with an estimated 38 billion barrels of reserves. The first oil operations in the region began in the 1950s and were undertaken by multinational corporations, which provided Nigeria with necessary technological and financial resources to extract oil. Since 1975, the region has accounted for more than 75% of Nigeria's export earnings. Together oil and natural gas extraction comprise "97 per cent of Nigeria's foreign exchange revenues". Much of the natural gas extracted in oil wells in the delta is immediately burned, or flared, into the air at a rate of approximately 70 million m³per day. This is equivalent to 41% of African natural gas consumption and forms the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.[ citation needed ] In 2003, about 99% of excess gas was flared in the Niger Delta, although this value has fallen to 11% in 2010. (See also gas flaring volumes). The biggest gas flaring company is the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd, a joint venture that is majority owned by the Nigerian government. In Nigeria, "...despite regulations introduced 20 years ago to outlaw the practice, most associated gas is flared, causing local pollution and contributing to climate change." The environmental devastation associated with the industry and the lack of distribution of oil wealth have been the source and/or key aggravating factors of numerous environmental movements and inter-ethnic conflicts in the region, including recent guerrilla activity by MEND.
In September 2012 Eland Oil & Gas purchased a 45% interest in OML 40, with its partner Starcrest Energy Nigeria Limited, from the Shell Group. They intend to recommission the existing infrastructure and restart existing wells to re-commence production at an initial gross rate of 2,500 barrels (400 m3) of oil per day with a target to grow gross production to 50,000 barrels (7,900 m3) of oil per day within four years.
Oil revenue allocation has been the subject of much contention well before Nigeria gained its independence. Allocations have varied from as much as 50%, owing to the First Republic's high degree of regional autonomy, and as low as 10% during the military dictatorships.
|Year||Federal||State*||Local||Special Projects||Derivation Formula**|
* State allocations are based on 5 criteria: equality (equal shares per state), population, social development, land mass, and revenue generation.
**The derivation formula refers to the percentage of the revenue oil-producing states retain from taxes on oil and other natural resources produced in the state. World Bank Report
The documentary film Sweet Crude , which premiered April 2009 at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, tells the story of Nigeria's Niger Delta.
The effects of oil in the fragile Niger Delta communities and environment have been enormous. Local indigenous people have seen little if any improvement in their standard of living while suffering serious damage to their natural environment. According to Nigerian federal government figures, there were more than 7,000 oil spills between 1970 and 2000.It has been estimated that a clean-up of the region, including full restoration of swamps, creeks, fishing grounds and mangroves, could take 25 years.
Akwa Ibom is a state in Nigeria. It is located in the coastal southern part of the country, lying between latitudes 4°32′N and 5°33′N, and longitudes 7°25′E and 8°25′E. The state is located in the South-South geopolitical zone, and is bordered on the east by Cross River State, on the west by Rivers State and Abia State, and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean and the southernmost tip of Cross River State.
The Ibibio people are a coastal people in southern Nigeria. They are mostly found in Akwa Ibom and Cross River. They are related to the Annang, Igbo and Efik peoples. During the colonial period in Nigeria, the Ibibio Union asked for recognition by the British as a sovereign nation.
Ijaw people are people in Niger Delta in Nigeria, Predominantly found in bayelsa state. Many are found as migrant fishermen in camps as far west as Sierra Leone and as far east as Gabon. Population figures for the Ijaws vary greatly,5 million. They have long lived in locations near many sea trade routes, and they were well connected to other areas by trade as early as the 15th century.
Cross River is a state in South South Nigeria, bordering Cameroon to the east. Its capital is Calabar and its name is derived from the Cross River (Oyono), which passes through the state. English and French are the major foreign languages of the state while Bekwarra, Bette people, Ejagham and Efik are major indigenous languages of this state. Ejagham remains the largest ethnic group which stretches from the northern senatorial district to the southern senatorial district.
Efik-Ibibio is the major dialect cluster of the Cross River branch of Benue–Congo. Efik proper has national status in Nigeria and is the literary standard of the Efik languages, though Ibibio proper has more native speakers.
Bayelsa is a southern state in Nigeria, located in the core of the Niger Delta region. Bayelsa State was formed in 1996 from Rivers State, making it one of the newest states in the federation. The name of the state, Bayelsa, is a combination of the first few letters of the major local government areas within its confines: Brass LGA (BALGA), Yenagoa LGA (YELGA), and Sagbama LGA (SALGA). The state borders Rivers State, of which it was formerly part, and Delta State.
Nigeria is the largest oil and gas producer in Africa. Crude oil from the Niger delta basin comes in two types: light, and comparatively heavy – the lighter around 36 gravity and the heavier, 20–25 gravity. Both types are paraffinic and low in sulfur. Nigeria's economy and budget has been largely supported from income and revenues generated from the petroleum industry since the 1960. Statistics as of February 2021 shows that the Nigerias oil sector contributes to about to about 9% of the entire countries GDP. Nigeria as the largest oil and gas producer in Africa, is a major exporter of Crude oil and petroleum products to the United State of America. In 2010, Nigeria exported over one million barrels per day to the United States of America representing 9% of the U.S total crude oil and petroleum products imports and over 40% of Nigeria exports.
The Efik are an ethnic group located primarily in southern Nigeria, and western Cameroon. Within Nigeria, the Efik can be found in the present-day Cross River State and Akwa Ibom state. The Efik speak the Efik language which is a member of the Benue–Congo subfamily of the Niger-Congo language group. The Efik refer to themselves as Efik Eburutu, Ifa Ibom, Eburutu and Iboku. The name Efik first appears in historical literature in the nineteenth century. The most popular historical accounts of Efik migration attest a movement from Ibom in Arochukwu to Uruan and from Uruan to numerous settlements along the lower Cross river. The bulk of the Efik can be found in Calabar. Prior to 1905, Old Calabar was a term used to describe the Efik settlements of Duke Town, Creek Town, Old town, Cobham town, Henshaw town, Adiabo and Mbiabo. The Efik have also been referred to as "Calabar people" in historical literature. The term "Calabar people" was particularly popular prior to the nineteenth century and was synonymous to the Efik.
The Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force is one of the largest armed groups in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria and is composed primarily of members of the region's largest ethnic group, the Ijaw. The group was founded in 2004 in an attempt to gain more control over the region's vast petroleum resources, particularly in Delta State. The NDPVF has frequently demanded a greater share of the oil wealth from both the state and federal government and has occasionally supported independence for the Delta region. Until 2005 the group was spearheaded by Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, who is viewed by many Delta residents as a folk hero.
The Aro people or Aros are an Igbo subgroup that originated from the Arochukwu kingdom in present-day Abia state, Nigeria. The Aros can also be found in about 250 other settlements mostly in the Southeastern Nigeria and adjacent areas. The Aros today are classified as Eastern or Cross River Igbos because of their location, mixed origins, culture, and dialect. Their god, Chukwu Abiama, was a key factor in establishing the Aro Confederacy as a regional power in the Niger Delta and Southeastern Nigeria during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The current conflict in the Niger Delta first arose in the early 1990s over tensions between foreign oil corporations and a number of the Niger Delta's minority ethnic groups who feel they are being exploited, particularly the Ogoni and the Ijaw. Ethnic and political unrest continued throughout the 1990s despite the return to democracy and the election of the Obasanjo government in 1999. Struggle for oil wealth has fueled violence between ethnic groups, causing the militarization of nearly the entire region by ethnic militia groups, Nigerian military and police forces, notably the Nigerian Mobile Police. The violence has contributed to Nigeria's ongoing energy supply crisis by discouraging foreign investment in new power generation plants in the region.
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There are over 525 native languages spoken in Nigeria. The official language of Nigeria is English, the language of former colonial British Nigeria. As reported in 2003, Nigerian English and Nigerian Pidgin were spoken as a second language by 100 million people in Nigeria. Communication in the English language is much more popular in the country's urban communities than it is in the rural areas, due to globalization.
The Niger Delta Development Commission is a federal government agency established by Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo in the year 2000 with the sole mandate of developing the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. In September 2008, President Umaru Yar'Adua announced the formation of a Niger Delta Ministry, with the Niger Delta Development Commission to become a parastatal under the ministry. One of the core mandates of the Commission is to train and educate the youths of the oil rich Niger Delta regions to curb hostilities and militancy, while developing key infrastructure to promote diversification and productivity.
The Warri Crisis was a series of riots and clashes between the Itsekiri and the Ijaw ethnic groups centered on the city of Warri in Delta State, Nigeria between March and May, 1997.
The Obolo (Andoni) People, also known as Andoni tribe, is part of the proposed Obolo State. Obolo people are found in Rivers. They are part of Ijaw ethnic group, and have historical relations with Oron people, Ohafia, Ogoloma, Ido and Ibeno people of Niger Delta in Nigeria.
The Oron people or 'Oro people is a multi-ethnic tribe located primarily in southern Nigeria and Cameroon, in the riverine area of Akwa Ibom and the Cross River State. Akpakip Oro are regards as an ancient warrior clan, speaking the Oro language which is in the Cross River family of the Benue–Congo languages. They are ancestrally related to the Efik people of the Cross River State, the Ibeno and Eastern Obolo in Akwa Ibom, the Andoni people in Rivers State and the Balondo-ba-Konja in the Congo.
The Kaiama Declaration was issued by the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) of Nigeria on 11 December 1998 to attribute the political crisis in Nigeria to the struggle for the control of oil mineral resources, while asserting that the degradation of the environment of Ijawland by transnational oil companies and the Nigerian State arise mainly because Ijaw people have been robbed of their natural rights to ownership and control of their land and resources. The council was formed in the town of Kaiama after 5,000 Ijaw people representing over 40 Ijaw clans, chose to articulate their aspirations for the Ijaw people, and to demand an end to 40 years of environmental damage and underdevelopment in the region.
South South Nigeria is one of the geopolitical zones of Nigeria, consisting of the following states;
The Niger Delta Youth Association is a non-militia advocacy group dedicated to advancing the cause of human rights, accountability and development in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. It was founded around 2015. Though the group is built on a threefold purpose to relieve poverty, conserve the environment and to promote employment opportunities for people living in Niger Delta especially young people but the group has been known to peacefully campaign for such issues as youths in politics, Niger Delta clean up, peaceful cohabitation, Poverty alleviation, Development and accountability in the Niger Delta Region.
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