Niger Delta

Author: Tomas Malina

Map of the Niger Delta

Strategically located along the Gulf of Guinea and atop enormous high quality oil reserves, the three Nigerian states of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers – commonly referred to as the Niger Delta – have been plagued with armed groups and insurgents for decades. Although its tremendous resource wealth should make the Delta one of Western Africa’s most prosperous regions, decades of neglect by the Nigerian government, widespread corruption, and the environmental damage caused by the MNCs operating in the region has alienated and marginalized the local population and allowed armed groups to proliferate.1 Compensation paid out by the MNCs for appropriated and polluted land has led to inter-communal and inter-ethnic violence, most notably between the Ijaws and the Itsekiris in the Warri area of Delta State.2 Since the discovery of oil in the Delta, this type of ethnic conflict has been driven primarily by the desire to control resources along disputed community borders. Continue reading