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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 is not an oil-producing state.
A river delta is a landform created by deposition of sediment that is carried by a river as the flow leaves its mouth and enters slower-moving or stagnant water. This occurs where a river enters an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, or another river that cannot carry away the supplied sediment. The size and shape of a delta is controlled by the balance between watershed processes that supply sediment, and receiving basin processes that redistribute, sequester, and export that sediment. The size, geometry, and location of the receiving basin also plays an important role in delta evolution. River deltas are important in human civilization, as they are major agricultural production centers and population centers. They can provide coastline defense and can impact drinking water supply. They are also ecologically important, with different species' assemblages depending on their landscape position.
The Niger River is the principal river of West Africa, extending about 4,180 km (2,600 mi). Its drainage basin is 2,117,700 km2 (817,600 sq mi) in area. Its source is in the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea. It runs in a crescent through Mali, Niger, on the border with Benin and then through Nigeria, discharging through a massive delta, known as the Niger Delta or the Oil Rivers, into the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The Niger is the third-longest river in Africa, exceeded only by the Nile and the Congo River. Its main tributary is the Benue River.
The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian is in the gulf.
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 controversy over pollution.
Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp of the fruit of the oil palms, primarily the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis, and to a lesser extent from the American oil palm Elaeis oleifera and the maripa palm Attalea maripa.
The Niger Coast Protectorate was a British protectorate in the Oil Rivers area of present-day Nigeria, originally established as the Oil Rivers Protectorate in 1884 and confirmed at the Berlin Conference the following year. It was renamed on 12 May 1893, and merged with the chartered territories of the Royal Niger Company on 1 January 1900 to form the Southern Nigeria Protectorate.
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. Some 31 million people of more than 40 ethnic groups including the Bini, Efik, Esan, Ibibio, Igbo, Annang, Yoruba, Oron, Ijaw, Ikwerre, Abua/Odual, Itsekiri, Isoko, Urhobo, Ukwuani, Kalabari, Okrika, Ogoni and Obolo people, are among the inhabitants of the political Niger Delta, speaking about 250 different dialects.
Bayelsa is a state in southern Nigeria in the core Niger Delta region, between Delta State and Rivers State. Its capital is Yenagoa. The main language spoken is Ijaw with dialects such as Kolukuma, Mein, Bomu, Nembe, Epie-Atisa, and Ogbia. Like the rest of Nigeria, English is the official language. The state was formed in 1996 from part of Rivers State and is thus one of the newest states of the Nigerian federation.
Delta State is an oil and agricultural producing state in Nigeria. It is situated in the region known as the South-South geo-political zone with a population of 4,112,445. The capital city is Asaba, located at the northern end of the state, with an estimated area of 762 square kilometres (294 sq mi), while Warri is the economic nerve center of the state and also the most populated. It is located in the southern end of the state. The state has a total land area of 16,842 square kilometres (6,503 sq mi).
Rivers State, also known simply as Rivers, is one of the 36 states of Nigeria. According to census data released in 2006, the state has a population of 5,198,716, making it the sixth-most populous state in the country. Its capital and largest city, Port Harcourt, is economically significant as the centre of Nigeria's oil industry. Rivers State is bounded on the South by the Atlantic Ocean, to the North by Imo, Abia and Anambra States, to the East by Akwa Ibom State, and to the West by Bayelsa and Delta states. It is home to three major indegenious ethnic groups: Kalabari, Ikwerre and Ogoni. The people from Rivers State are known as "Riverians".
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.
The Bight of Benin or Bay of Benin is a bight in the Gulf of Guinea area on the western African coast.
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 and Ogoja divisions, the present-day Ogoja, 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.
Ogoja is a Local Government Area in Cross River State, Nigeria. Its headquarters is Ogoja town in the northeast of the area near the A4 highway at.
The Ibibio people are a coastal people in southern Nigeria. They are mostly found in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, and on the Eastern Part of Abia.They are related to the Anaang Igbo and Efik peoples. During the colonial period in Nigeria, the Ibibio Union asked for recognition by the British as a sovereign nation. The Annang, Efik, Ekid, Oron and Ibeno share personal names, culture, and traditions with the Ibibio, and speak closely related varieties of Ibibio-Efik which are more or less mutually intelligible.
The Oro people are comprised in five Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Akwa Ibom State, and Bakassi LGA in Cross River State. Oro is the third largest ethnic group in the state. They are related to the Efik, Ibibio, Eket, Annang and Ibeno ethnic groups. The five local Councils in Akwa Ibom are Oron, Udung-Uko, Mbo, Urue-Offong/Oruko, and Okobo. The Oro people, popularly called 'Oro Ukpabang' or 'Akpakip Oro' or`Oro Ukpabang Okpo` by its indigenes, are made up of several clans. There are nine clans called Afaha. They are namely: Afaha Okpo, Afaha Ukwong, Ebughu, Afaha Ibighi, Effiat, Afaha Ubodung, Etta, Afaha Oki-uso, and Afaha Idua (Iluhe). However, the geopolitical restructuring of the state and local government creation has seen the Oro nation being fragmented politically into two states of Nigeria, namely Cross River and Akwa Ibom state. There are five Oro Local Government Areas in Akwa Ibom State and one Local Government in Cross River State.
In 1953, the old eastern region had a major crisis due to the expulsion of professor Eyo Ita 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 (NIP) which was one of the five Nigerian political parties represented at the conferences on Nigerian Constitution and Independence.
Eyo Ita was a Nigerian educationist and politician from Ibeno, in present day Akwa Ibom, who was the leader of the Eastern Government of Nigeria in 1951. He was one of the earliest Nigerian students who studied in the United States instead of the frequent route of studying in the United Kingdom. He was a deputy national president of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
The Efik are an ethnic group located primarily in southern Nigeria, in the southern part of Cross River State. The Efik speak the Efik language which is a Benue–Congo language of the Cross River family. Efik oral histories tell of migration down the Cross River from Arochukwu to found numerous settlements in the Calabar and Creek Town area. Creek Town and its environs are often commonly referred to as Calabar, and its people as Calabar people, after the European name Calabar Kingdom given to the state [in present-day Cross River State. Calabar is not to be confused with the Kalabari Kingdom in Rivers State which is an Ijaw state to its west. Cross River State with Akwa Ibom State was formerly one of the original twelve states of Nigeria known as the Southeastern State.
Ijaw people are people in Niger Delta in Nigeria, inhabiting regions of the states of Ondo, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, and Rivers 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, though most range from 13 million to 15 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.
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 then 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.
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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, thereby preserving the sovereignty and indivisibility of the Nigerian state, which led to the loss of many souls.
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 arrest 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.
Unfortunately, the struggle got out of control, and the present phase has become militant. 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 outraged 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. 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 (NDDC), a government initiative, and the Development Initiative (DEVIN), a community development non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta. 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 Urhobo, Isoko, Itsekiri, Ijaw (or Izon) and Ukwuani groups in Delta State; the Bini, Esan,Auchi,Esako,oral,igara and Afenmai in Edo State; and the Yoruba (Ilaje) 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 and Eleme) and the Etche, Ogba, Ikwerre, Ndoni, Ekpeye and Ndoki in Rivers State.
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) a day are extracted in the Niger Delta. It is estimated that 38 billion barrels of crude oil still reside under the delta as of early 2012. 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.[ citation needed ] 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 the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (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 bopd with a target to grow gross production to 50,000 bopd 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. This is the table below.
|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 city of Warri is an oil hub in South-South Nigeria and houses an annex of the Delta State Government House. It served as the colonial capital of the then Warri Province. It shares boundaries with Ughelli/Agbarho, Sapele, Okpe, Udu and Uvwie although most of these places, notably Udu, Okpe and Uvwie, have been integrated to the larger cosmopolitan Warri. Osubi houses an airport that serves the city. Effurun serves as the gateway to and the economic nerve of the city.
The culture of Nigeria is shaped by Nigeria's multiple ethnic groups. The country has 527 languages, seven of them are extinct. Nigeria also has over 1150 dialects and ethnic groups. The six largest ethnic groups are the Hausa and Fulani in the north, the Igbo in the southeast, and the Yoruba predominate in the southwest, the Tiv people of North Central Nigeria and the Efik - Ibibio. The Edo people are most frequent in the region between Yorubaland and Igboland. Many of the Edo tend to be Christian. This group is followed by the Ibibio/Annang/Efik people of the coastal south southern Nigeria and the Ijaw of the Niger Delta.
Nigeria is the largest oil and gas producer in Africa. Crude oil from the 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.
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 their presently incarcerated charismatic leader, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, who is viewed by many Delta residents as a folk hero.
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 has continued throughout the 1990s despite the conversion to democracy and the election of the Obasanjo government in 1999. Competition 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.
Anioma people are an igbo people located primarily in Delta State, Nigeria. They are referred to as Western Igbo, being separated from the Igbo in the east by the River Niger. They make up about one-third of Delta State and, for administrative purposes, are referred to as “Delta North,” thus contrasting Delta Central and Delta South, areas densely inhabited by the Urhobo, Isoko, Ijaw, and Itsekiri, the other ethnic groups inhabiting Delta State. The Anioma region has a total population of 1,114,055, not including those Anioma communities located outside of Delta State.
There are over 500 native languages spoken in Nigeria. The official language of Nigeria is English, the former language of colonial British Nigeria. As reported in 2003, Nigerian English and Nigerian Pidgin were spoken as a second language by 60 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 colonisation.
Isoko people are an ethnolinguistic group that inhabits the Isoko region of Delta State, and Bayelsa State Nigeria. They are people of southern Nigeria, near the northwestern Niger delta. Delta State and Bayelsa State are part of the 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Isokos speak the Isoko language, which is very linguistically similar to the Urhobo language, Epie-Atissa language, Engenni language. James W. Welch asserted that Isoko language is a dialect of Urhobo language and many people hold that opinion. The Isoko culture is related to several cultures in the Niger-Delta - namedly, Urhobo, Ijaw and Anioma. Urhobo are related in language and culture, leading to the missionaries erroneously labelling the Urhobo and Isoko cultural groups as Sobo. This name was strongly rejected by both tribes.
The Warri Crisis was a series of riots and clashes between the Ijaw and the Itsekiri ethnic groups centered on the city of Warri in Delta State, Nigeria between March and May, 1997.
The Andoni people, part of the Obolo state, of Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, of Nigeria, are related to the Ijaw people of Niger Delta in Nigeria. The Andoni people refer to God as Awaji or Owaji.
The Urhobos are people located in Southern Nigeria, near the northwestern Niger Delta. The Urhobo are the major ethnic group in Delta State, one of the 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Urhobos speak the Urhobo language.
Nigerian traditional rulers often derive their titles from the rulers of independent states or communities that existed before the formation of modern Nigeria. Although they do not have formal political power, in many cases they continue to command respect from their people and have considerable influence.
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;
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