This Week in the Niger Delta: August 16 – 22, 2010

  • Citing the connection between education and economic development in the Delta, the Nigerian Federal Government announced plans to provide professional development training to 150 teachers in the region.1
  • In an attempt to curb kidnapping and other crime, Abia State has offered repentant perpetrators an amnesty similar to the one offered by the Federal Government in 2009. Only those who step forward to be registered will be offered the amnesty deal, raising concerns that they may be arrested once they do. Governor Theodore Orji urged the security services to honor the agreement and not detain any willing participants.2
  • Royal Dutch Shell claimed to be intensifying efforts to clean up an oil spill on Bonny Island that has persisted since August 2nd. Fishing and commuter vessels have been unable to operate, dealing a crippling blow to the island’s economy and inhabitants. Although Shell claims to be working as quickly as it can, it has been sharply criticized by the community and environmental groups for the small scale and slow pace of its efforts.3
  • Effective August 16th, Royal Dutch Shell declared a force majeure on its activities in the Niger Delta. A force majeure is a contractual clause that frees parties from liability should extenuating circumstances prevent them from fulfilling their end of an agreement. Citing recent attacks on two of its oil pipelines in Rivers State, Shell announced that it was unsure of whether it could meet its target volume for August and September.4
  • 779 former militants who accepted amnesty and completed non-violence training have been posted to 18 training centers across the country to receive vocational training. The ex-militants will be trained in areas in which they expressed interest, including pipeline and underwater welding, crane operation, oil drilling and fish farming.5
  • Gospel Tanumo (alias General JP), formerly of Farah Dagogo’s Niger Delta Strike Force (NDSF) faction of MEND, called on the region’s remaining militants to give up their arms should the Federal Government give them an opportunity to do so. Tanumo is currently an instructor at the rehabilitation camp in Obubra.6
  • Mujahid Dokubo Asari, leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), came out in support of President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 elections. Asari cited the fact that no Nigerian president has ever emerged from the South-South geopolitical zone and claimed a full Jonathan term would help to address the decades of injustice and exploitation in the Delta.7
  • Asari’s enthusiasm was not shared by all across Nigeria. Archbishop Anthony Cardinal Okogie, based in Lagos, publically urged Goodluck Jonathan to abandon any plans to contest the 2011 election.8

 

  1. Emmanuel Ogiogbe, “FG Trains Niger Delta Teachers” Daily Sun, August 17, 2010. Available at: http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/features/education/2010/aug/17/education-17-08-2010-003.htm
  2. Anayo Okoli, “Abia begins registration of repentant kidnappers”, Vanguard, August 16, 2010. Available at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2010/08/16/abia-begins-registration-of-repentant-kidnappers/
  3. Chinedu Offor, “Shell Says its Cleaning Up Major Oil Spill in Nigeria’s Bonny Island” Voice of America, August 19, 2010. Available at: http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Shell-Says-its-Cleaning-up-Major-Oil-Spill-in-Nigerias-Bonny-Island-101088944.html
  4. “Shell declares force majeure in Nigeria” UPI, August 20, 2010. Available at: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2010/08/20/Shell-declares-force-majeure-in-Nigeria/UPI-50781282327126/
  5. Emma Ujah, “FG posts transformed ex-militants to training institutions”, Vanguard, August 21, 2010. Available at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2010/08/21/fg-posts-transformed-ex-militants-to-training-institutions/
  6. Ernest Chinwo, “Ex Fighter
  7. Omon-Julius Onabu, “2011: Dokubo-Asari backs Jonathan”, This Day, August 21, 2010. Available at: http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=181100
  8. Etop Ekenem, “Don’t Contest 2011 Election, Okogie advises Jonathan”, Vanguard, August 21, 2010. Available at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2010/08/21/dont-contest-2011-election-okogie-advises-jonathan/