The Delta State Is Safe!

Human development is concerned with removing the various hindrances that restrain and restrict human lives and prevent its full blossoming. There is, however, no basic contradiction between the focus of human security and expansion of human development approach, as peace and development are interconnected and the search for security lies in development and not in arms. The concept of human security has no stable meaning, although it materializes when people feel they are living secure and dignified life. Security is the hallmark of freedom from fear and the catch phrases of human security are: “Freedom from fear” and “Freedom from want”.

But for Dr. Uduaghan; the Delta State Governor, Democratic Governance, Poverty Reduction, Crisis Prevention and Recovery, the balance of Energy and Environment equation has been helping all efforts to achieve his 3-point agenda as well as the needed Millennium Development Goals .Pacific activities in that state are at an incipient stage. Determination of Deltans and other residence to restore peace in the state is again, the most crucial aspect of the problem. How to protect and help people from the fear of the insurgents, how to empower the victims after the harm caused by the miscreants, how to rebuild the society in a post-conflict situation— these are the cardinal questions in this context…

Perhaps Chief Peter Okocha and his Party supporters need to monitor the atmosphere in the Photosphere and MSM around the world. There have been literally thousands of posts about the Delta state re-run elections since the vote count was completed, and the vast majority of people feel that Chief Okocha should backoff and get over it! This could be one of the brightest moments in Delta political history since its founding in the early 1990’s, and a philanthropic personality is holding the state hostage because he lost the game.

Okocha is “Stuck on Stupid” at the moment, and he needs to get unstuck, Quick! Full credit goes to Dr. Uduaghan for showing the world how it’s done right. The record need to be set, that someone was unhappy of the election result and he went through the legal process and what ever the outcome was, he accepted it. That should be our prayer now; Then to criticize.

We all should respect the justice system of our country and encourage people who are hurt to go through that means then to criticize them. If someone is hurts he needs to be pampered and not criticize and condemn. We all need peace back home because there is no where like home, Criticize those who refused to accept the results in the 1999 and 2003 elections and did not forward their complain through the legal means instill went in the bushes, destroyed and disgraced the State.

But if by unusual way, such election-related matter disrupts “security” as focus on a recent forum attended by the Delta state Governor; Dr. Emmanuel Uduagahan at Abuja recently, is thrown on security of the state, sovereignty, outside threats and above all the importance of military (JTF) defense as the cardinal objective to protect the country. But the threats to peace and security come not only from war and conflict between nations, i.e. external threat; but conflict within the nation in the shape of civil violence, militancy, and insurgency etc., i.e. internal threats. At the same time, some states, in the name of security, were themselves in many respects become. Sometimes a threat to their own citizens (the experience of the civil war period in our country may be mentioned in this context).

Often interpreted as “people-cent red security” or “security with a human face” or human elements of security, the approach places human beings — rather than states – at the focal point of security considerations. Today all security discussions demand incorporation of the human dimension. Delta State horizons extend far beyond mere survival; the matters of good neighbour and mutual relations, healthy natural environment, love, faith, culture etc. are no less important in the security pan aroma and the people are the most active actors and participants in determining their well-being. But government’s job is not to enforce morality or anything to do with good or evil; it has to do with enforcing certain rights and preserving certain liberties which may or may not be related to good and evil (though in fact most people would agree that violations of those rights and liberties are evil, it is important that government’s job is independent of whether or not that’s true

Security of indigent Nigerians, not just territory; Security of individuals, not just nations;
Security through development, not through arms; Security of all the people everywhere – in their homes, in their jobs, in their streets, in their communities and also in their environment is the essence of government. Before the administration of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; Delta, a peripheral state of South-south Nigeria, has been caught in a vicious cycle of lack of economic development and lack of opportunities causing insurgency and then insurgency movements and the resultant violence and insecurity are standing in the way of economic growth and retarding development.

Many forces may provide threats to citizen’s security, and the threat agenda is much broader, including non-coercive aspects like natural disaster etc. But for the proponents of human security the key threat is violence and here we are concerned only with violent conflicts –violence that unseats the security of the common people. An attempt is made in the present paper to underline the roots of violence in Delta and its nature and impact on residence security.

Armed militancy of about three decades has left Delta State bleeding. To combat insurgency, the limited resources of such plethora state are gradually dwindling, its development process retarded and its people devastated. At the last decade of the 20th and the start of the 21st century, due to the insurgency problems, Delta State was at a dangerous crossroads.
With a total area of only 10,491 sq. km., the second smallest state in the country, Delta State, was considered as one of the most violent states due to insurgency-related incidents.

Although the crime records of some other states of the South-south were above the national average of 13.5 per cent of the total IPC crimes reported, but during 2000, Delta State “share in violent crimes” was highest at 36.7 per cent of the total crimes. Abuja nonchalant pull-out, on different pleas, of all army units and a huge chunk of Para-military forces from Delta State in the face of a very critical period of extremist onslaughts, virtually strengthened the outfits for desperate escalation of their murderous operations. And for that reason, the insurgency-related crime figures were so high in the state in the year 2000.

Beleaguered by decades-old insurgency, Delta State continues to bleed which has seriously damaged the ability of the people to envision peace and security as an achievable goal.

The study of security threats in Delta State is extremely difficult, given the very sensitive nature of the issue and availability of very little dependable data. Most of the information on the subject is collected from newspapers and other print and electronic media. Nigeria, in general, lacks a national policy on Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and objective research in terms of assessing the magnitudes of insurgency-induced displacement in different parts of the country has yet to be carried out by official or non-official agencies.

It is also very difficult to find committed investigators to do fieldworks in sensitive areas due to the security risks involved. As a result, all the conflict-torn areas of Delta State could not be covered due to the volatile situation. Considerable time may be required in confidence-building before starting any research work on the subject. The status of recent security situation in Delta State can be gauged from the details of incidents of extremist-related violence in Delta State .An analysis of the data indicates that in the year 2000 the number of persons kidnapped and killed was maximum. The number of militant-related cases was highest in the Western Delta district since 2001.

While the origins of insurgency and militancy are multiple and complex in many parts of the world, the genesis in Delta State lies in the demographic destabilization. Delta State is the only state in south-south Nigeria that has been transformed, in recent history, from a predominantly tribal to a predominantly non-tribal state due to the successive influx of refugees from the neighbouring state since the partition of the state on 27th August, 1991 from Old Bendel .

The major occupations of Deltans are Farming, Fishing, Hunting and Oil Exploration. Delta State has one State owned University with three campuses at Abraka, Oleh and Asaba; Three Polytechnics at Oghara, Ogwashi-Uku and Ozora; And Three Colleges of Education at Agbor, Warri and Mosogar and one Federal College of Education Technical at Asaba.

The State Population is projected to be 3,629,103 in 2003. The major tribes in the State are Urhobos, Izons, Isokos, Ibos and Itsekiris. Basically, they have identical customs, beliefs and cultures. The cultural identity is manifested in their festivals, traditional marriage ceremonies, while certain words are common to many tribes. Their systems of Traditional Administration tend to be identical as well as their folktales, dances, arts and crafts. Farming, Fishing and Hunting are the major occupations of the inhabitants of Delta State, as about 80% of the active labour force are engaged in these occupational activities with the remaining 20% engaged in other occupations. That large scale settlement had not been dealt with a strong hand since Delta’s merger with the coastal states by the successive governments was due to the politics of vote-bank and the interests of the tribes got a backseat.

This demographic change caused fear-psychosis in tribal mind which ultimately gave birth to the question of identity crisis and also paved the way for ethnic conflict. The entire rebel outfits since the onset have shared a strong resentment against Izon settlers. The economic insecurities and problems of the tribal people of Delta largely emanated from the progressive alienation of their land and traditional forest rights. As the Izon people practiced relatively advanced pattern of wet-rice cultivation, compared to the shifting cultivation of the tribal people, there was large-scale transfer of cultivable land of the tribal people to the settlers.

However, it is not that the theory of human security highlights only individual security over state security; rather it makes human security the yardstick of state security because states have an obligation to protect the people from insecurity. In fact, human security, in the words of Dr. Uduaghan , does not seek to supplant state security, but rather to complement it. The point of highlighting “human” aspect in human security is only to redress the imbalance in the conventional or traditional approach of security studies and this new security concept– that focus on people, rather than on state — has been gaining greater recognition throughout the world.

Human security will not be achieved without protecting people in conflict and post-conflict situations, shielding people forced to move, eradicating poverty, ensuring universal primary education, guaranteeing basic health service etc. Securing people also entails empowering the people, particularly the disadvantaged and marginalized section of the society to fend for them. These are the interrelated building blocks of human security. Infact, human security provides the underlying basis and faithfully supplements the ambitious concept human development as both the ideas are just two sides of the same coin as both are fundamentally concerned with the basic freedoms that are the essence of human lives.

Written by
L.Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu
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