GUARDIAN OF THE NIGER DELTA THE BABANGIDA REGIME AND THE OIL-PRODUCING COMMUNITIES OF NIGERIA
Chizor Wisdom Dike
“The greatest task before us now is to understand, at each moment, what is happening to us in our communities.” Frantz Fanon (1925 – 1961)”.
It is interesting for Nigerians at this critical stage in our socio-political process to engage very seriously in historical analyses of events, actions and issues that shaped the lives of Nigerians. Inevitably, the hopes, aspirations and destinies of Nigerians are encapsulated in the management of state power whether under civilian or military regimes. The co-existence of great oil-wealth and horrendous poverty and deprivation in Nigeria’s oil-producing communities is a vital feature of the Nigerian society. How we have dangerously found ourselves in this situation of hopelessness is a matter of great concern to all men and women of goodwill who desire to live in a society that cherishes justice, equity, fair-play and fair-trade.
It is true that government exists for the people, but have the governments of Nigeria existed in the interest 6f the people? Since the discovery of oil in commercial quantity at Oloibiri in present day Bayelsa State in 1956, Nigerian governments have largely been sustained by oil revenue. To survive, people including governments, depend on community resources. But what was the nature of the relationship between the Babangida Administration and Oil producing Areas of Nigeria? How did the Babangida Administration respond to the growing concern for social responsibility and resource control in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria? This paper gives a critical analysis of these and other questions affecting the oil-producing communities of Nigeria during the Babangida regime (1985 – 1993).
Background to the Problem in Oil-Producing Communities of Nigeria
The search for hydrocarbons (crude oil) in Nigeria started in 1937 by Shell d’Arcy Petroleum Company of Nigeria, one of the subsidiaries of Shell Petroleum Company and British Petroleum Company ‘(Shell-BP). That search began in Ihioma, 10 miles north-east of Owerri in present day Imo State, Eastern Nigeria. This search was interrupted by the second World War in 1941. The company resumed exploration activities in 1946 and drilled the first well in 1951 at 11,228 feet, but to their chagrin no crude oil was discovered. Eight oil wells were drilled in quick succession out of which seven were dry holes while Akata – 1 (drilled in 1953 and abandoned in 1954 had small oil.
In 1954, the resilient oil men of Shell led by a Dutchman named Venemo navigated deep into the difficult terrains of the Niger Delta through arduous seismic operations and in 1956 found oil in commercial quantity in Oloibiri (Otuagbagi forest) in present day Bayelsa State. My field investigations revealed that there was great joy among the oil workers and excitement on the villagers who saw the treasure hidden deep in their soil. There was a football match between the oil workers and the villagers that day at the Oloibiri Primary School in which Oloibiri team won by 2 – to nil.
Through an oil pipeline between Oloibiri and Port Harcourt (an estimated distance of 50 kilometers traversing several communities) the first oil cargo left the shores of Nigeria in 1958 for Europe. Production capacity stood at 5,100 barrels per day, while about N50 million had been spent by the oil industry for this purpose. Nigeria’s -oil is regarded as the best in the world because of its low sulphur content later named Bonny Light. Similar oil search followed in 1957 – 59 (Ebubu and Bomu oilfields in Ogoni Land) followed by the oil well in Ughelli in the present day Delta State.
To reduce the monopoly enjoyed by Shell, other oil companies followed suit: Gulf Oil (now Chevron), Safrap (now Elf), Agip, Texaco, Mobil, etc. These companies obtained Oil Prospecting Licences (OPL) and Oil Mining Leases (OML). Oil operations went on smoothly. Government had its foreign exchange, the companies had their profits, but the communities had nothing. Even at this, there was yet no disruption of oil operations. The big disruption was caused by the Civil War in 1967 to 1970. During this period only Gulf Company operated because of its offshore production. By 1960, the oil production stood at 17,000 barrels per day (bpd) and in 1965 the crude oil production had risen to 415,000 bpd) and in 1972, 1 million bpd, 2.4 million bpd in 1979 and subsequently 2.2 million bpd.
Interestingly, by f966, crude oil had 33.1 per cent of the total export, 58.1 per cent in 1970, 87.2 per cent in 1972 and in 1984 oil gave 95.1 percent to Nigeria’s foreign earnings. The price for a barrel in 1958 was $3.56 dollars, $12 dollars in the sixties and $14.69 in 1973. During the oil boom (1981) oil price stood at $40 per barrel. As at 1984 Nigeria had earned a whopping $100 billion dollars from oil revenue. N43 billion of this amount was made between 1979 to 1983. The price of oil fell to $28 per barrel in 1985 and by March 1986 it nose – dived to $12 per barrel. At this time General Babangida had already assumed power (August 27, 1985).
In response to the challenges of the oil industry the Nigerian Government enacted the Petroleum Profit Tax Act of 1959, the Oil Pipelines Act of 1956, the Petroleum Act of 1969, the Mineral Oils/Drilling and Production) Regulations of 1969, and other laws as the case may be. In 1971, the Niger National Oil Corporation (NNOC) was created but in 1976 it was merged with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and became Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Nigeria has remained the 10th largest producer of crude oil and 5th largest producer of oil in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with four refineries: Alesa – Eleme 1 (1965) at N20 million, Warri (1978), Kaduna (1980) at 504 million and Alesa – Eleme II (1989) at combined capacities of 60,000 barrels per day, 120,000 barrels per day, 110,000 barrels per day and 150,000 barrels per day respectively.
It is instructive to note that while the Nigerian Government and the Multinational Oil Companies (MNOCs) enjoy oil wealth, the environment and vital resources of the oil-bearing communities suffered degradation and depletion. The exploration and exploitation of oil in very delicate environment (like that of the Niger Deltawetlands, freshwater swamp, lowland rainforests, coastal barrier islands and mangroves) and other areas caused serious ecological and social imbalances. It is important to note that all the oil companies operating in Nigeria started without Environmental Impact Assessment Studies (EIAS), Social Responsibility Policy (SRP) and Community Empowerment Initiatives (CEI).
Regrettably, MNOCs enjoy absolute immunity from the Nigerian Government. With increasing revenue to government followed by embezzlement of oil revenue. The misfortunes of oil communities also increased. This showed in the following indices: unemployment, environmental pollution of land and rivers, intra-and inter-communal crises, human rights violations, militarisation of oil communities, communal agitations, social neglect, youth restiveness, diminishing livelihoods and destruction of forest resources, etc.
By far, the greatest damage to oil-bearing communities are the Land Use Decree No. 6 of 1978, the Petroleum Act of 1971, Associated Gas Re-injection Act (1969), Offshore Oil Revenue Act (1971) Exclusive General Zone Act and other similar laws which hitherto denied the oil producing communities a fair share of their resources. Derivation revenue became politicized and very little was left for the states. In fact, agitations for control of community resources gather momentum as a direct response to glaring neglect of the oil communities. Today, Oloibiri is devastated, neglected and abandoned. The only relic there is the Federal Oil Museum which is not in operations.
In the Niger Delta region, the struggle was initiated and led by Chief Harold Dappa-Biriye, Isaac Adaka Boro (12-Day Revolution) and later in 1990 Ken SaroWiwa, a writer and researcher pioneered the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP). The Ogoni Bill of Rights became the greatest campaign tool for the Ogoni People. Other movements followed suit. Ijaw National Congress, led by Joshua Fumudoh, Ogba Solidarity led by late Professor Claude Ake, etc. But MOSOP was the most organised of the groups because of the total mobilization of Ogoni people anywhere in the world. It is interesting to note that the Ogoni struggle began when IBB was in power.
Ken Saro-Wiwa (of blessed memory) painted a sad picture of life in Ogoni as in any other oil community in Nigeria. His words:
“Thirty-five years of reckless oil exploration by multinational oil companies has left the Ogoni environment completely devastated. Four gas flares, burning for twenty-four hours a day over thirty-five years in very close proximity to human habitation; over one hundred oil wells in village backyards; and a Petrochemical complex, two oil refineries, a fertilizer plant and oil pipeline crisis-crossing the landscape above ground have spelt death for human beings, flora and fauna. It is unacceptable… The decision of the Ogoni people is that the environment is man’s first right and without a safe environment, man cannot exist … The powerlessness of the Ogoni people in Nigeria and the realization that Ogoni wealth was being completely dissipated by other Nigerians has created an unacceptable level of distress which may explode in popular anger if not carefully controlled and diffused.”
The Babangida administration inherited the status quo within the oil industry and the oil communities. Usually, oil revenue sustains the Nigerian Government. The IBB Government took over power when oil price had noose-dived at the international oil market, but there was still enough to service the socio-political and economic structures of the nation. There was equally enough for affirmative action in oil-producing communities. Which leads me to the next stage.
The Babangida Development Action for the Oil Producing Communities
The oil industry was 29 years old when Babangida assumed political power in Nigeria. Before the Babangida administration, information on the oil industry was treated with utmost secrecy. The management of funds from oil revenue required a deliberate, systematic planning and implementation over a long period by very serious people’ (Prof. Jubril Aminu, former Minister of Petroleum Resources in the Babangida’s administration).
But the Babangida administration became the first to make public the use of funds meant for the special development of oil-producing areas. In 1987, President Ibrahim Babangida set up a committee within the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) headed by Major-General Paul Omu to investigate the 1.5% special fund for oil-producing communities and recommend an effective method of disbursing and utilizing the fund. Major-General Omu’s committee did a brilliant job which led to the setting up of a Presidential Implementation Committee (PIC), in 1988 headed by Nura Iman, an Air Vice Marshal and Minister of Mines, Power and Steel. The Nura Iman committee swung into action and disbursed money for specific projects in oil-producing communities. His words: ‘The federal government is determined absolutely to ensure that the mineral producing areas no longer suffer.’
Projects were physically inspected and commissioned by the Imam-led Presidential Committee. In recognition of this feat, Newswatch Magazine in its cover story of July 2, 1990, titled Oil Producing Areas: Neglect, Poverty, and Controversy, noted inter alia: “It was the first time the Federal Government had publicly given details of the utilization of the fund.” In pursuing the needs of the long deprived oil communities of Nigeria, the Babangida administration was fulfilling a major duty of a leadership.
The social responsibility of government to its citizens, especially its deprived and vulnerable groups must be institutionalized to guarantee sustainable empowerment. Power goes with responsibility and privileges. Oil resources provided a lot of privileges to the government of Nigeria. The Babangida administration began a conscious, organised and systematic response to the development problem in oil-producing communities of Nigeria. In his book: Individualism and Social Responsibility (1994), Andrew R. Cecil states as follows:
Social conscience vests in the government the Responsibility to preserve the lives of the members of our communities and to protect them against physical violence, as well as against natural– agents that threaten their health, such as floods, epidemics and crippling diseases. When faced with unemployment, the proliferation of slums, and the deterioration of our cities and of the natural environment, social conscience calls for some form of government intervention. Through our government we plan for the conservation of natural resources, limit monopolies, and foster public education in spite of the fact that at the time these programs were introduced they were proclaimed to be socialistic endeavors.
Society is a product of man’s social nature. His needs and the ultimate foundation of all government authorities is to keep it in the service of humanity and to prevent it from being turned against him. The responsibilities that we have vested in government make social man a political man.
Concerned with the growing agitations in oil-producing communities, President Babangida decided to face the challenge head on as a General of the peoples’ army. He adopted a clear-cut strategy of feeling the pulse of the people and responding to their needs immediately. Thus, on May 1, 1992, President Babangida visited Rivers State for three days. Chief Rufus Ada-George, the then Governor of Rivers State along with other prominent persons raised the problem of oil bearing communities with the president. In his response, President Babangida promised to-do something urgent about the issue as soon as he gets back to Abuja.
True to his words, Babangida appointed a consultant, Chief Jasper Jumbo of Jaspic Associates to develop a blue-print for the establishment of an oil mineral commission to address the problems of oil communities. The choice of Chief Jumbo for the assignment is noteworthy. Chief Jumbo of Bonny descent in Rivers State is a champion of community rights with respect to community resources. He was also President of the frontline group, the National Association for Mineral Producing Areas Development (NAMPAD). He was very conversant with the issues as a development consultant and a Niger Deltan.
Thus, on July 9, 1992, President Ibrahim Babangida promulgated the Decree No 23 of 1992 appropriately called the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC). This initiative represents the boldest move by any Nigerian Government to address the problems of oil-producing communities outside presidential- control or manipulation. On October 19, 1992, true to his words to the people of Rivers State and other oil producing states, President Babangida inaugurated OMPADEC with Chief Alber K. Horsfall, a Kalabari indigene and former Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS) as Chairman. Babangida later raised the revenue accruable to the commission from 1.5% to 3%.
OMPADEC versus The Oil Communities
The commission has 10 strategic objectives, among which are
- To receive and administer the monthly sums from the allocation of the Federation Account in accordance with confirmed ratio of oil production in each state for the rehabilitation and development of oil mineral producing areas; for tackling ecological problems that have arisen from the exploration of oil minerals.
- To determine and identify, through the commission and the respective oil mineral producing states, the actual oil mineral producing areas and embark on the development of projects properly agreed upon with the local communities of the oil mineral producing areas.
- To consult with the Federal Government through the presidency, the State, Local Governments and oil mineral producing communities regarding projects, services and all other requirements relating to the special fund.
Another important aspect of the OMPADEC enabling law is section 2(a) which resolved the issue Onshore/Offshore dichotomy in derivation revenue. It states categorically that:
The sums received by the commission under sub-section 1(a) of this section shall: (a) be used for the rehabilitation and development of the oil mineral producing areas on the basis of the ratio of the oil produced in the particular State, Local Government Area or Community and not on the basis of the dichotomy of onshore or offshore oil production.
Let me state here that the Exclusive Economic Zone Act and the Offshore Oil Revenues Act (1971) deprived the coastal oil-producing States the right to the oil resources found in their communities. It is indeed one of the issues of Nigeria as a country that for the sake of predatory accumulation of oil wealth, a law which had no basis in reality was made by the Gowon administration. But the Babangida administration allayed the fears of all coastal communities which had Offshore oil production facilities and wells.
It is to the credit of the Babangida administration that the initiative for redressing the mistake of past governments by stating categorically that the coastal communities and their resources belong to the local, state and federal governments and not the federal government alone was taken.
The Babangida administration effectively supervised the OMPADEC operations. For the first time, Presidential Guidelines and Directives (PGD) were issued to the OMPADEC management and made available to the oil producing communities and the public. In PGD Number 1 issued on November 16, 1992, and signed by President Ibrahim Babangida, the President charged the Chairman of the Commission thus:
The Commission established under Decree No. 23 and inaugurated on 19th October, 1992, should settle down and commence operation immediately. In the discharge of your functions, urgent attention should be paid to the following issues: The national office where the main Operations of the Commission will take place will be in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. In Addition, you will establish States’ representation Offices in the oil producing states to be headed by a Project Manager.
The Commission’s mission is to:
- Compensate materially the communities, Local Government areas and states which have suffered damage (ecological, environmental, etc.) or deprivation as a result of mineral oil prospection in their territory.
- Create an atmosphere of understanding and co-operation between oil companies and communities in which they operate in order to provide a secure and conducive atmosphere for oil companies operations.
- Galvanise and co-ordinate where appropriate the efforts of various authorities e.g. Federal Government, oil companies, etc. aimed at benefitting mineral oil producing communities.
- Open up the affected territories and effectively link them up socially and economically with the rest of the country by providing various forms of infrastructures and physical developments such as:
- Good water
- Health facilities
- Environmental and erosion protection
- Reclamation of land and resettlement of communities
- Land and water transportation facilities
- Education and educational facilities
- Markets and conducive business environment
- Agricultural and fisheries development
- Provide employment
- Provide investment opportunities and encourage entrepreneurship
- Put in place appropriate institutions and organs that will ensure sustained economic well-being of the communities concerned.
- Engage in other ventures or take other measures to ensure the improvement of the quality of life in oil-producing areas.
OMPADEC will not compete with governments (State and Local) in providing schools, hospitals, water etc. as such. Rather in each of these areas it will aim at providing high quality specialized services which will cater for deficiencies in existing services or where the services do not exist provide qualitative ones that will be regular, durable and provide practical results to actual needs and problems. The commission will embark on the provision of good quality roads and bridges to connect local communities with existing network of roads and bridges.
A major area of the Commission’s work will be:
Reclamation of land via sand filling in the riverine areas and forestation in the mainland areas of the territories of its operations:
- Shore protection
- Town planning
- Re-location of whole communities from ecologically devastated areas to solid areas if possible
- Erosion control
- Restoration of fertility to devastated farming and fishing areas, etc.
The PDG No. 2 dealt with the procedure for Contract Awards. I will not go into the details, but suffice it to say that there was enough guarantee for developing new local contractors, strengthening existing ones and empowering the people economically.
The OMPADEC initiative was a proactive response to the development problem in the Niger Delta and indeed all oil producing areas of Nigeria. It was greater than the Niger Delta Development Board (1962) and the Niger Delta Development Basin and Development Authority (1976).
Chief Albert K. Horsfall, the first chairman of OMPADEC, approached the job with the skill of a statesman and patriot. He grew up in Buguma and Degema and having worked directly with president Babangida, it was imperative for him to succeed by realising the strategic objectives of the commission. Chief Horsfall swung into action. I confirm that the OMPADEC initiative galvanized the feelings of the people of oil producing communities and for the first time gave them a sense of belonging in the utilization of their resources. It was a good beginning in the struggle for resource control by the oil-communities. As a journalist and development researcher, I visited most of the project sites in some of the OMPADEC States. Some of these projects were actually commissioned.
But the great question to ask is: Why did OMPADEC fail?
The answer is appropriately in the convoluting concourse of juxtaposed variegated happenings that shape the geographical expression called Nigeria.
OMPADEC did not fail when Babangida was in power. Many factors contributed to the failure of OMPADEC:
Firstly, the inability of oil-producing communities to form a vanguard of monitors on the fund as well as the activities of OMPADEC contractors are largely responsible for the failure of the Commission. Rights go with responsibilities. You must protect what is your own if it must remain to serve the people very well. Like Andrew R. Cecil said: “A government based on rights and interests requires individual responsibility, and responsibility requires that an individual exercise initiative to accomplish what must be done.”
Secondly, the OMPADEC contractors were interested in sharing the money instead of executing the projects. Thirdly, the conspiracy of a few power elites within the non-oil producing nationalities of Nigeria against the oil producing states. Fourthly, the brutal assault on OMPADEC by the Abacha government to destroy a beautiful legacy of the Babangida Administration. If OMPADEC had not been rendered ineffective the violence within the Niger Delta Area and oil producing communities of Nigeria would have been avoided or drastically mitigated.
In his book, The OMPADEC Dream, Chief Albert K. Horsfall narrated his experiences in the OMPADEC initiative and concluded thus:
Sometimes it is forgotten why OMPADEC was created. It was created to find permanent solution to the physical, environ mental, ecological and economic problems which had confronted the oil producing areas of the country.
Today, Chief A. K. Horsfall is now a community rights activist courtesy of the OMPADEC experience. He is among other things the deputy chairman of the Union of the Niger Delta (UND), an indigenous ethnic nationalities movement.
The Babangida Administration and the Ogoni Struggle
The rise of Ogoni nationalism and the struggle for ethnic Minority Rights reached its peak when Ken Saro-Wiwa consciously mobilised the Ogoni people to get fully involved in the liberation struggle. The Ogoni struggle exposed the inadequacies of Nigerian Federalism and brought international attention to the acute poverty and suffering in the Niger Delta region and other oil-producing areas of Nigeria.
On Monday, January 4, 1993, MOSOP organised the first Ogoni National Day. About 300,000 Ogonis were mobilised peacefully to protest the problems of community disempowerment and ecological devastation in Ogoniland. In the process, the Nigerian flag was publicly burnt. ‘That was the height of disapproval of government’s insensivity to the plight of the people. When the security report got to President Babangida that day he smiled as usual and directed that nobody should be arrested even though mobile policemen were drafted to the area. He invited the Ogoni leaders to Aso Rock (namely, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Dr. G. B. Leton, and Edward Kobani) to discuss the issues at stake.
It is worthy to note that Ogonis made their case during a military regime. Ken Saro-Wiwa was arrested, detained and questioned several times. That is the life of human rights activists. But the Federal Government engaged Ken Saro-Wiwa and his Ogoni compatriots in constructive dialogue rather than intimidation and brutal force. Despite the circumstances surrounding the killings in Ogoniland, it is common knowledge that the Babangida administration would not have hanged Ken Saro-Wiwa as Abacha did.
Let me mention here that in response to the severe environmental problems in oil communities and other parts of Nigeria, the Babangida administration on December 30, promulgated Decree 58 of 1988 setting up the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA). FEPA became the first organised institutional framework for checking industrial pollution and ecological protection in Nigeria. This commitment was followed by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Decree No. 86 of 1992 signed by President Babangida on December 10, 1992. The EIA Decree makes it mandatory for companies, individuals, governments and organisations initiating new projects to take precautionary measures by embarking on environmental impact assessment study. Whether the enforcement and compliance procedures of these institutional frameworks are effective and utilized by the oil communities now is another matter requiring a careful discussion.
From the foregoing, it can be rightly deduced that the Babangida approach to the development problems within the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta and Nigeria in general was highly proactive.
Strategic Analysis of the Issues at Stake
The fundamental issue involved in the problems within oil producing communities of Nigeria is basically that of survival. Oil wealth has sustained the political structures of Nigeria without a corresponding sustenance of rural livelihoods in oil producing communities. In the aggressive pursuit of the interest of the state, irresponsible conservative oligarchies within Nigeria sustained by the same political elites in the military and civilian garbs deliberately ignored the natural law that power goes with responsibility. They ignored the oil-producing communities of Nigeria thereby setting in motion a chain of actions and reactions which are equal and opposite.
The financial power relations with regard to derivation revenue before and after the Babangida Administration gives an insight into the nature and character of the struggle for resource control in Nigeria. The following figures are relevant:
Derivation and Deprivation Ratio
Year Regions/States Federal Government
(Phillipson Commission) 50% 50%
Hicks-Phillipson 50% 15%
Commission 1951 35%
Chicks 1953 100%
Raisman 1958 50% 20%
Binn 1964 50% 50%
Yakubu Gowon 1970 45% 55%
Obasanjo 25% 75%
(Aboyade Committee) 1977
Shagari 1981 5% 95%
Buhari (1984) 1.5% 98.5%
Babangida (1992) 3% 97%
Abubakar recommendation 13% 87%
In 1999 Constitution
Obasanjo 2000 13% 87%
But paid (Onshore only 8%) – 92%
The struggle for resource control in Nigeria is not confined to oil mineral resources alone. Solid minerals are vital resources largely exploited by individuals and some companies but with little attention from the Federal Government. In the 1980s, the Oyo State Government devised this formula on the control of the Igbeti Marble resource:
Oyo State Government – 30%
Federal Government – 20%
Igbeti Community – 15%
Local Government Area – 10%n
Igbeti Marble Company – 25%
This is an equitable formula for resource control. The idea of giving a whopping 60% oil revenue to the Federal Government does not convince the oil communities of Nigeria. This anomaly is backed up by the subsidiaries of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with their big employment figures. How many of the staff of these subsidiaries come from oil producing communities?
Forty-four years of active oil production have produced infrastructural development in other parts of Nigeria, but decay and under-development in Nigeria’s oil producing communities. There are three basic characteristics of the oil industry in Nigeria which are important for an understanding of the relation between the state and oil mineral producing communities:
- The struggle for political power at the centre is the struggle for the control of oil mineral resources,
- The exploration for and the production of oil in Nigeria is a huge industry of corruption, double-standards and reckless environmental practices,
- Those who host oil resources and oil companies are regarded as troubleholders instead of stakeholders.
The oil-communities of Nigeria have been disempowered. Comparatively, the Babangida administration re-focused government response to the concerns of oil communities through vital institutional frameworks. Historical evidence attests to this.
Some Basic Theses
There are two fundamental theses which are critical to the study of the Babangida administration and oil-producing communities of Nigeria:
- Governments at all levels depend on resources available in their territories for survival, so do communities. We must, therefore, distinguish between a situation of a natural poverty and induced poverty. Only a value-driven government can inspire confidence in the political economy of its citizens.
- To succeed and stabilize every community needs the guidance of enlightened leadership whose legacies stand the test of time.
Was the Babangida Administration a Guardian of the Niger Delta?
Given the institutional framework available during the IBB regime for the redress of injustices within oil communities, the Babangida Administration was a Guardian of the Niger Delta. In spite of some mistakes made in this critical sector its social action in the oil communities cannot be compared to any military, regime in Nigeria’s history.
In order to guarantee the continuous co-existence of the Federal government and oil communities of Nigeria it is important that we learn from the events of the past as a basis for future action. I shall end this presentation with two quotations; one from late Professor Claude Ake: ‘When the politics is right the appropriate development strategy will emerge, for it is inherent in the politics.’ The other from Articles 20 (I) of The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ratified by Nigeria, July 22, 1983).
Peoples shall have the right to existence. They shall have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination. They shall freely determine their political status and shall pursue their economic and social development according to the policy they have freely chosen. All peoples shall freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources. This right shall be exercised in the exclusive interest of the people. In no case shall a people be deprived of it.
Oremade, Tunde, (1986) Petroleum Operations in Nigeria, Lagos, West African Book Publishers Limited
Akinrinade, Soji, et al (October 15, 1990), ‘Killing the Geese,’ Lagos, Newswatch Magazine.
Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, (MOSOP). (1990), ‘Ogoni Bill of Rights,’ Port Harcourt, Saros International Publishers.
Anim, Etim, et al (July 2, 1990), ‘Sticky, Oily Problem,’ Newswatch Magazine, July 2, 1990
Cecil, Andrew R (Ed) (1994), Individualism and Social Responsibility, Austin, The University of Texas Press.
Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission, OMPADEC (1992), Decree No. 23, Abuja
OMPADEC (1992) Presidential Guidelines and Directives Nos. 1 & 2, Abuja
Horsfall, A. K. (1999), ‘The OMPADEC Dream,’ West Sussex, Imprint Publications
Saro-Wiwa, Ken (1994), ‘Ogoni Moment of Truth,’ Port Harcourt, Saros International Publishers
Atuluku, Nuhu (January 25, 1993) Cover story photograph, Lagos, Newswatch Magazine.
African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights