Niger Delta and the Future of its Youths

The Niger Delta has plagued by insurgency for decades, it was formerly a region comprised of established City-states, and its citizens served as middlemen during the era of Slave Trade and the Legitimate trade that followed after the abolition of Slave Trade in 1807. The Oil Rivers Protectorate as it was moniker, was later amalgamated with the Northern Protectorate in 1900s to form what  is now know as Nigeria and the leadership of Lord Lugard. However, the region has ever since remained marginalized, the federal government since after the departure of the Colonialist sought ways to further perpetuate this marginalization. Though elites such as Chief Harold Dappa Biriye with other supporting chiefs pushed for increased political participation but this effort was only rewarded with the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Board which was poorly funded. The continued underdevelopment of the Niger Delta prompted Major Isaac Adaka Boro to declare the Niger Delta Republic, a revolution that was crushed within twelve day.Enter
….Photograph Showing Marginalized Niger Delta

The continued agitation found expression in Ken Saro Wiwa, an activist, playwright and environmentalist. He sponsored the Ogoni Bill of Rights, before been hanged in November 1995 by Gen. Sani Abacha’s regime. This brutality culminated in the expulsion of Nigeria from the Commonwealth of Nations, and still did not metamorphose into sincere effort to develop the Niger Delta region. This marginalization continued through the use of repressive means. This further spurred the youths to take up arms against the federal government. This armed uprising was evident in the destruction of crude oil facilities in the region which have ensured increasing evacuation of multinational expertriate working with the various oil exploration giants (Shell, ExxonMobil, Agip etc). It is pertinent to say that since the discovery of crude oil in 1956 the Niger Delta have paradoxically wallow in poverty even in the midst of plenty with increased youth unemployment. For most youths of the region the future remains uncertain, even after the 2009 Presidential Amnesty Program (PAP) and this has formed the premise for continued youth restiveness in the Niger Delta. As various armed groups emerged, they however posed like freedom fighters since they enjoy the sympathy of the locals in the region. Encouraging or discouraging continued armed uprising is at the disgression of the government, however the renewed agitations saw the agitators now demanding for self determination/resource control. Most Niger Delta youths are caught in a dilemma, as some are already university graduates still finding it difficult to secure a job. While those sent out for one training or the other under the PAP are back still finding it very difficult to secure a job. Most youths from the region have lost fate in the Nigerian nation whom they believe at heart have very little space for the people of the Niger Delta region yet its crude oil resources is said to have sustained Nigeria for 60years still counting. Perhaps this has formed the basis for renewed hostility in the Niger Delta region led by the Niger Delta Avengers, Niger Delta Suicide Squad and other militants groups.


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