“Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”
“A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory.”
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
“The people of the Niger Delta will not be silent until the battle is won. Internal colonialism will fail. How can we drop the issue of resource control? That is our life.”
Chief Edwin Clark. July 2008.
“MEND will never sell its birthright for a bowl of porridge when the impoverished masses in the region continue to live in abject poverty. We are not a part of this deal, the Chanomi Creek pipeline and other major pipelines will be destroyed within the next 30 days.”
Excerpt of press release from MEND.
“In the educated way of looking at issues, you may say that Dokubo-Asari used foul language; but in the real sense of the word that is what the North is, they are parasites. If they say they are not parasites, let them call the bluff of the South and go their own way, instead of using guns to force others to accept them,”
Bright Ezeocha, president of Igbo Youth Congress (IYC). August, 2008.
“I want to sound it clear that the people of the Niger Delta have been oppressed, depressed and frustrated in this nation. It is inhuman that the source of Nigerian wealth today is being denied social justice. There is poverty, death and sufferings in Niger Delta. The issue of the area alone could make God angry with Nigeria. Their wealth is being used against them; some leaders in the area have compromised the progress and settlement of the region due to their selfish interest. It is time we faced the reality over Niger Delta crisis. I was the leading counsel to Ken Saro Wiwa in 1995 and he told me during the trial at the Kangaroo tribunal set up to murder him that he pitied what would happen to his people and Nigeria after his death. Then he told me to walk out on the tribunal. In tears I did, but today we are all witnesses to what is happening. I urge President Yar’Adua never to return violence for violence in the crisis but rather look into the needs of the people. The Niger Delta people deserve our apology in this country. Nigeria has never been fair to them. No not at all. It is now a battle that must be committed to God in prayers,”
Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) July, 2008.
“To demonstrate our seriousness to the UK‘s support of an injustice, MEND will be calling off its unilateral cease-fire with effect from midnight, Saturday, July 12, 2008. Mr. Yar’Adua in a fraudulent appeal to the Group of Eight richest nations’ (G-8) leaders in Japan misled the international community into believing that the unrest and agitation in the region are due to oil theft which encourages ‘blood oil’. The United Kingdom is part of this problem with the politics it played pre- independence that gave leverage to some sections of the country which has helped in marginalizing and exploiting the region today. Should Gordon Brown make good his threat to support this criminality for the sake of oil, UK citizens and interests in Nigeria will suffer the consequences. Thousands of Britons work in Nigeria, many of them in the oil industry. Mr. Brown was “deceived by a clever but fraudulent presentation of the Niger Delta unrest when Yar’Adua gave world leaders at the G-8 summit the impression that the shedding of the blood of the people of the Niger Delta was caused by bunkering and not from the injustice and military brutality of over 50 years. This fraud was perfected in collaboration with the Vice President who made a remark about oil thieves. It is sad that the VP is showing all the traits of a stooge. Every part of Nigeria has its share of criminality. Let the British soldiers go to Sokoto or Katsina to keep the peace there. We are not ashamed to declare that our armed struggle will continue until we emancipate our people. MEND fighters are willing to offer their blood for oil and will do everything necessary to frustrate this dubious alliance.”
Gbomo Jomo. MEND spokesman. July 2008.
“The MEND has an advice for Yaradua, and it is to the effect that the United Kingdom army alone may not be enough to handle the Niger-Delta situation. He should as well visit the United States of America, Germany and France to seek their support and military expertise. I wish to reaffirm our stand that we are ready, and in fact, in a hurry to contain any coalition of sorts. Resolving the Niger-Delta problem is as easy as a snap of the finger. Rather the federal government has not only gambled with the situation but has displayed so much injustice and insensitivity to the Niger-Delta problem, which is the sure cause of escalation we experience today. My heart is full of pain, despite massive sufferings of my people, due to gross disrespect and neglect by the Federal Government. We still share our resources just to keep Nigeria going, and yet, you cannot find roads in the Niger-Delta, no hospitals, no schools, no electricity and in fact, nothing. We live in utter penury and squalor and experience the height of pollution. Gas is flared at close proximity to the host communities, and this has increased the level of heat in the region, which results in constant sweating and dehydration. Even the rain, which is meant to be a blessing to us, has now turned poison, as it is simply acidic due to the gas flaring, and this leaves our lands withered and parched. There is so much injustice within the Nigerian state; it is so difficult to believe that even a colonial government will be more reasonable than a so-called democratic government. If a Commission during the colonial period could appreciate the efforts of those who produce resources, and give commensurate compensations accordingly, why can’t a democratically elected government do better? The federal government is the biggest enemy of the people of the Niger-Delta. Federal Government thinks that we are afraid of th
e zombie that they call military, we can never be afraid of them. We only sympathize with them and their families. We, therefore, call on family members who have their relatives as military men in the Niger-Delta to call them back home, as the federal government is only using them to achieve their selfish aim, which is not in the best interest of Nigeria but just to protect their loots. How can a reasonable government approve N444.6 billion for security and just N69 billion for development when you have security threat as a result of lack of development, does it make sense? Have they bothered to consider how much can be done with N444.6 billion in terms of development in the Niger-Delta. In fact, they did not even consider giving part of that money to NDDC to support their activities; rather they said the NDDC money has expired. If anything happens to me, I believe somebody will take over because as I am talking to you, I have already possessed so many young boys in different types of operations. We can attack you without you seeing us, without us visiting you or anybody. We can attack you anyhow we want to attack you, inflict destruction on everything. That is the truth. So for me, I believe Nigeria is in a problem because they have not seen the real brutality of the real MEND. That is my own thinking but I believe that in a very short time, they will see it. I told you that this government is taking the Niger-Delta people as primitive people. Look, let me give you an instance. You can build a house. They will lease your house and ask you to do security in your own house and at the end of the day, your rent will be paid to another person. How will you feel? You know one thing, we need to know why they did all these things. Many of the people in the system need money so much because as I told you earlier, the government has spoiled the psyche of Niger -Delta with poverty. So as they throw this proposal, so many people will go for it. They need the money more than anything but it won’t work. The highest thing: if any militant guides pipeline, the militant won’t last. That is the truth because there is no way we can be security in our own house, where we are supposed to employ a security. We cannot be guarding our property for the people that ought to be exploiting it for our benefit, which is real foolishness. It won’t even work; it is just a stupid idea.”
MEND leader, Second in Command to Henry Okah. July, 2008.
“Now that the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, has sealed the deal made between the Presidents of Nigeria, Cameroon and the companies exploring oil over the blood of the Bakassi people, the die is cast. Therefore, BAMOSD now declares as follows: That with the withdrawal of Nigerian troops from the Bakassi Peninsula, which takes away our last line of defense as Nigerian citizens and exposes our people to perpetual and permanent bondage of exploitation, under-development and death, which characterized life in the larger Niger Delta and the Gulf of Guinea over the last 50 years of multi-national oil companies occupation with the connivance of Nigerian leaders, we are left with no other option than to defend our land and people by any means necessary. That our peaceful, social economic, historical and ancestral ties with the rest of the people of the Niger Delta leave us not only with no other frontier, but with no other option than to join forces with the valiant and heroic freedom fighters of the Niger Delta. That BAMOSD by this declaration is subsuming all its activities on the Bakassi Peninsula into the larger war of liberation of the Nigeria Delta, under the joint leadership of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, and other joints commands for the protection, defense and security of its people and resources. Other forces or operators found within the territorial waters of Bakassi shall be considered enemy forces and dealt with accordingly. As we speak, half of our soldiers from all parts of Niger Delta are in the creeks awaiting the dooms day. Nigeria handing over Bakassi to Cameroon means that Nigeria has no right to confront our soldiers, so we are calling for Nigerian government to stay clear and allow us face our battle, because any attempt to clamp on any of our soldiers means confrontation and we shall react likewise. We also want to inform the world that henceforth, Bakassi has become an independent state and shall control its resources. To this effect, all operators, Nigerian or foreign, exploring or exploiting resources on the Bakassi Peninsula that has not consulted with the appropriate authorities should leave the territory immediately. We emphasize again; leave our waters immediately. Do not say you were not warned. There will be no further warnings…”
Independence Declaration by the Bakassi Movement for Self-Determination, BAMOSD, July 25, 2008.
“When you explode legitimately against the injustice that has been heaped on you, they use the press to make it look like you are a vandal. If you are a vandal, you have the right to be a vandal.
They master this imagery, this image-making. They give you the image of an extremist, and from then on anything you do is extremism. You can pull a baby out of the water and save it from drowning – you are still an extremist, because they projected this image of you as a subversive and you can go out dying for the United States – you are still subversive, because the press has made you subversive. They can paint the image of you as someone irresponsible, and you can come up with the best program that will save the black man from the oppression of the white man and – when I say oppression, that’s where oppression comes from, the white man. There are some oppressive black people, but they are only doing what the Whiteman has taught them.”
Malcolm X. Excerpt of speech.
THE TACTICS AND THE STRATEGY.
Before sitting down with the north for any negotiations to resolve the Niger Delta crisis, the Niger Deltans must adopt a strategy that will not only remove whatever invincibility the north might seem to have, but that will as well make her come to it like a wounded dog which can only bark but is no more capable of biting.
So what strategy can should the militants adopt against these 3 monsters?
1. The Federal Republic of Northern Nigeria.
The best strategy against the north is to destabilize Yaradua’s government and bankrupt Nigeria as a country. This strategy involves weakening Nigeria economically, politically and militarily to the extent that it will no more have the power or desire to stop them from realizing their aspiration of forming their own sovereign country. In a nutshell, the militants need to adopt a strategy that will weaken the north in all aspects.
2. Multinational oil companies and Western countries.
The best strategy against them is to increase their losses as much as possible and cut the supply of oil to them.
OUR HONOURABLE PROFESSOR SOYINKA GOT IT WRONG THIS TIME AROUND.
Before going into the details of the tactics that need to be adopted by the militants, I want to first comment on Professor Wole Soyinka’s call to the militants to lay down their arms and engage instead in ‘in
tellectual militancy. Professor Soyinka, our beloved and revered Nobel laureate, undoubtedly, is an intellectual giant and his contribution to democracy in Nigeria is invaluable. At the same time, with all respect to Professor Soyinka, our honourable Nobel Laureate, I think that he got it wrong this time around. I completely disagree with him on this. Does professor Soyinka expect the militants to engage the evil Nigerian government with only brooms and bibles in their hands? Definitely not! Professor Soyinka, being an intellectual and a radical himself, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the Nigeria‘s brutal history, including the Niger delta, in which he has prominently featured in for more than 40 years, should know better than us that the evil Nigerian government does not understand the language of diplomacy. These heartless people only understand the language of force. I strongly believe that the Niger Deltans, in their battle for survival, self-preservation, freedom, justice, development and resource control are more than justified not only in taking up arms against the northern led Federal Republic, but also in kidnapping and blowing up oil rigs and pipes as legitimate means of campaign for freedom. All past efforts by the Niger deltans to resolve the crises peacefully have been ignored and treated with ignominy by the north. They were so callous to the extent that they even hanged Kenule Saro-Wiwa for heading a peaceful campaign against the mass pollution of the Niger delta by multinational oil companies.
If not for the fact that the N.D. took up arms against the evil Nigerian government, their plights would have still continued to fall on their deaf ears. Their militant activities and operations have forced the north to listen to them at last. They can’t afford to ignore them any more. It’s obvious that intellectual militancy that our honourable professor is advocating for, could not have been able to achieve this, and also falls far short of helping the Niger deltans of achieving their ultimate objective.
Tactics, as we have learnt earlier, is a method, set of instruments or means that you employ in realizing your strategy. The 3 most efficient tactics that the Niger delta militants should use against the 3 monsters in order to realize their strategy – which primarily involves strengthening their leverage to the maximum, are the following:
1. Economic weapon;
2. Psychological weapon;
3. Demand for a Referendum;
4. Military weapon;
5. Playing the Multinational oil companies and western countries against the Federal Republic of Northern Nigeria;
6. Bringing in new players to form an international coalition.
All these tactics are very important, and must be employed simultaneously by the militants. Some of the tactics are already been used by the militants, what need to be done now is to perfect these tactics, add the new ones and consolidate them. In addition, we are also going to analyze how these 5 tactics can help them achieve their objective.
1. ECONOMIC WEAPON.
Although, all the 5 tactics listed above, are very important, but the economic tactics is one of the most effective weapons that the Niger deltans can use against these 3 monsters. Nigeria‘s economy, unfortunately, but fortunately for the Niger deltans, is one of the most vulnerable economies in the world. Nigeria earns roughly 87% of its foreign or hard currency revenues mainly from the export of the Niger delta’s oil. In other words, oil makes up a substantial percentage of the GNP of Nigeria. Oil is the only investment that Nigeria has in its investment portfolio for almost 50 years. Furthermore, a substantial part of the total oil rigs and wells are concentrated in the Niger delta! In essence, this means that Nigeria‘s economy not only depends completely on the oil in the Niger delta, but is as well vulnerable to price fluctuations in the global market. In addition, 90% of Nigeria‘s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are in the energy sector and concentrated too in the Niger delta. As has earlier been said, what this means in essence is that it is the north, the multinational oil companies and western oil exporting countries, that are at the mercy of the Niger Delta militants, and not vice versa. It will be an unforgivable crime on the part of the militants not to exploit or capitalize on this to the maximum.
THE ECONOMIC AND MORAL EFFECT OF KIDNAPPING.
By kidnapping foreign oil workers for big ransoms, the Niger delta militants, undoubtedly, have chosen a very good tactics. There is no doubt about it that it is a very effective tactics against these monsters. Those that are criticizing or condemning kidnapping are either ignorant or insincere about its effect. Kidnapping is effective because when oil workers are kidnapped, it undoubtedly affects oil production. And reduction in oil production reduces the amount of revenues Nigeria and the oil companies can make, which also consequently affect the amount of available oil for exportation. And since the demand for oil is increasing every year, consequently, the lesser the total amount of oil available for sale in the global market, the higher the price oil exporting countries have to pay to buy oil.
It is equally worth mentioning that oil exploration is a very capital intensive investment. Oil companies spend millions of dollars to insure their equipments and staff from all sorts of risks. Insurance premiums, paid by oil companies, have a direct correlation with the amount, level and the probability of some events taking place. Insurance policies and premiums are reviewed regularly by insurance companies to reflect new risks that the businesses of their clients are subjected to. Thus, the higher the frequency that oil workers are kidnapped and oil rigs being blown up in the Niger delta, the higher the insurance premiums that insurance companies will demand for to reinsure oil rigs, equipments and personnel of oil companies. And the more premiums oil companies pay to insurance companies to insure their equipments and staff, the lesser their profits.
DON’T RELEASE FOREIGNERS AGAIN
Some militant groups, unfortunately, are making some tactical mistakes by releasing kidnapped foreign oil workers. This is a very serious blunder on their part! The militants, instead of releasing kidnapped or captured foreign oil workers, should step up their kidnapping.
Further more, kidnapped foreign oil workers should no more be treated nicely, but brutally. It’s very naive on the part of the militants to think that by treating kidnapped foreign workers nicely, they will look good before the world community, especially before the U.S. and its allies, and that released hostages will help them present their case to the Nigerian government and the world. The militants need to understand that these so called expatriates or half-baked foreign oil workers, are neither their friends nor allies, but enemies. They are just pretending that they feel their pain.
If they feel their pain, why can’t they leave the region for good, and allow the indigenes to resolve their problem with the government? If they feel their pain, why are they risking their lives to work in the region? The bitter truth is that they are out to defend their own interests, and not the interests of the bonafide owners of Nigeria‘s oil. They don’t give a damn about the plights of the Niger deltans. In fact, they are even one of the major causes of the crises in the region. They are in the region to do their own biddings and those of their masters. They have taken over the jobs that Nigerians and the Niger deltans could perform for a much lesser pay.