ECC Platform Library

 

War in Niger Delta


Source:  Vanguard (Lagos) 

By Hector Igbikiowubo, Kingsley Omonobi, Simon Ebegbulem & Samuel Oyadongha

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


* Fighting continues after attack on Shell flow-station
* Security council meets, Obasanjo summons N-Delta govs

WARRI — FIGHTING between soldiers and militants in the Niger Delta continued yesterday following the attack on the Shell Petroleum Development Company operated Benisede flowstation which left 13 military personnel dead and an equal number of civilian casualties. Information from Yenagoa last night indicated that security agencies had arrested a man believed to be the mastermind of last week's kidnap of four oil workers in Bayelsa.

It was gathered that a high powered security council meeting scheduled by the Presidency for yesterday was  rescheduled for today to enable government collate enough data on the situation in the area and take a decision on the next course of action.

A resident who fled the scene of the fighting told Vanguard yesterday that fighting continued between soldiers and the militants for the better part of Sunday and the wee hours of yesterday.

Mr. Johnbull Igoniwari said rapid exchange of gunfire heightened after troop reinforcements came in. “The soldiers are shooting at anything that moves. This problem at Benisede did not start today. The soldiers there have always been very highhanded and our people had previously made our case known to the authorities including Shell.

“But nobody listened. I recall a time last year when one of our boys was killed and several people injured, we made our complaint but nobody listened. Shell simply got in army reinforcement to stifle us. The problems have simply become more and more complicated,” he said.

On the current state of affairs in the area, he said young men in Ojobo, the host community of the Benisede flow-station, had since left the area for fear of arrest by the army on suspicion of being part of the attack on the station. “You know whenever such things happen, the army starts arresting younger people indiscriminately under the excuse that they are being held on one suspicion or the other,” Igoniwari said.

On the motives behind the attack on the flow-station, he said he was not aware, adding that the Ijaw people have always been subjected to one form of deprivation and subjugation for one reason or the other.

"Don’t you know that we have been turned into tenants in our own houses? What is happening in Ijaw land is the same thing as people invading your house, take over your wife and daughters and repeatedly rape them in front of you. Then they dare you to talk.That is the situation in Ijaw land today.
“Even our leaders who dare to speak up are humiliated publicly for one reason or the other. I beg, I do not know why the station was attacked. But I can assure you that unlike my generation which sat down and did nothing, the youths have seen the light and will not sit back and do nothing,” he said.

* Presidency reacts
President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday summoned governors of four Niger Delta states to a special security council meeting to be attended by all security chiefs in the country as well as ministers responsible for security related Ministries of Defence and Police.

The meeting which is scheduled for  9:00a.m. at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, is coming on the heels of a directive, yesterday, by the president to security agencies to fish out the perpetrators (militants) who killed the soldiers sent to Bayelsa State to protect the Benisede flowstation.

Military sources told Vanguard that the directive to fish out the perpetrators was to pre-empt any reaction of soldiers who may want to embark on a reprisal  akin to  the Odi and Zaki-Biam attacks.

Those to attend today's meeting are Governors Goodluck Jonathan of Bayelsa State, James Ibori of Delta State, Peter Odili of Rivers State and Olusegun Agagu of Ondo State.

Also invited are National Security Adviser, General Aliyu Gusau (rtd); Minister of Defence, Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Rowland Oritsejafor; Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo; and Internal Affairs Minister, Ambassador Magaji Mohammed.

Others are the Chief of Defence Staff, General Alexander Ogomudia; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Martin Agwai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ganiyu Adekeye; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Jonah Wuyep; Inspector-General of Police, Mr Sunday Ehindero; Chief of Defence Intelligence, Maj-General Halidu Giwa; DG SSS, Col Kayode Are and DG NIA.

As a prelude to the meeting today, Chief of Defence Staff, General Ogomudia yesterday held a three-hour meeting with Air Marshal Jonah Wuyep, Chief of Air Staff; Vice Admiral Ganiyu Adekeye, Chief of Naval Staff; and Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major-General Halidu Giwa.
Also yesterday, Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo, held a three-hour meeting with the Inspector-General of Police and other DIGs on the matter of security in the Niger Delta.

Speaking on the development, a Presidency official said government was disturbed by the dare-devilry of the militants, adding that security reports would determine the next line of action.

"You can be rest assured that government would take drastic measures to safeguard lives and property in the Niger Delta,” the official said.
General Alex Ogomudia,Chief of Army Staff arrived Warri yesterday to get first hand information on the development, while more troops have also been deployed to police the troubled area.

* Shell reaction
In another statement  yesterday, the SPDC said there was no new net impact on production as a result of the attack on the Benisede flow-station, adding that the company’s share of the 106,000 barrels per day shut-in due to the attack on the Trans-Ramos pipeline is 30 per cent.

“A number of people have been given medical attention and about 10 persons are currently being hospitalised at the Shell hospital in Warri.  There are reports of fatalities but we are only able to confirm one SPDC catering contractor staff fatality at this time. We cannot give further comments on reported non-SPDC cases and we are cooperating fully with the authorities.

“Our thoughts go out to all the families of all of those affected. All possible steps are being taken by SPDC to ensure the safety and security of staff and contractors and the communities in which we operate at all times.

“SPDC would like to clarify that it has no current plans to pull out of the Niger Delta. Following the general insecurity in the Benisede area, the company thought it prudent to minimize the risk to personnel by evacuating staff from the station and neighbouring fields,” Mr Don Boham, SPDC’s Corporate External Affairs Manager said.

*Militants threaten continued action
Meanwhile, some militant youths who spoke to Vanguard on phone refused to disclose their names, accusing Shell of collaborating with the Federal Government to impoverish the people of the Niger Delta and intimidating those whom they described as the voice of the people.
“Let them bring all troops in the Niger Delta, nothing will happen. Unless they release Asari and Alamieyeseigha before we can even sit with them to discuss anything. Shell collaborates with the government in killing us and we will make sure that they leave the entire Niger Delta.

“They have no hiding place here. Nothing will stop us from fighting this war. This is just the beginning. Why should they be killing any one of us who is fighting our course, why?They removed Alamieyeseigha and detained Dokubo and they think it is the end. We will tell them that we have people that can fight and die if possible,” they said.

Following a blast on the Trans-Ramos pipeline and the kidnapping of four expatriate workers, a group  calling itself the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) claimed that it was responsible for the action. The group seeks independence for the region’s 14-million-strong Ijaw ethnic group.

“We are capable and determined to destroy the ability of Nigeria to export oil,” the group warned, in a statement, weekend.
MEND demanded the release of Ijaw leaders, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, who will appear in court today to face treason charges, and Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a former state governor accused of embezzlement.

* Tension mounts in Niger Delta
Tension has heightened in Ekeremor local government area of Bayelsa State over fears of possible reprisal attack from the military following Sunday raid on the Benisede flow station by unknown armed youths in which a number of soldiers were killed.

Sources from the troubled area told Vanguard that some of the natives had started fleeing their homes to neighbouring communities in Bayelsa and Delta States.
It was gathered that following the surprise dawn attack on the Benisede flow station in which heavy military causalities were recorded, security has been beefed up in the coastal fringe of the Bayelsa West senatorial district to curb the excesses of the rampaging youths.

One of the fleeing natives who spoke to Vanguard said “although the perpetrators of the act are not from our communities, there is palpable fear back home as everybody is concerned about the unfolding drama in the creeks and the possible counter attack from the soldiers.”

According to him, there has been heavy movement of troops in the creeks in the aftermath of the upsurge of violent attacks against the Anglo-Dutch oil giant SPDC personnel and facilities in the area.

Although Yenagoa, the capital city, is calm, there has been heavy security reinforcement around all the entry and exit routes to the state with commuters subjected to intensive search by armed soldiers.

Occupants of private and commercial vehicles were made to get down and walk through series of check points with their luggage thoroughly searched before they are allowed to proceed on their journey thereby causing heavy traffic jam on the roads.
A security source who described the situation in the creeks as a trying period for the state said the measure was aimed at checking the proliferation of dangerous weapons.

 

 

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Energy

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Adaptation & Resilience

All countries will need to adapt to some of the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change that are already unavoidable. Food security, livelihoods, water resource availability and public health are some affected areas. People living in poverty are more vulnerable, having a lower capacity to adapt. Thus, it is essential to promote resilience building. The adaptation and resilience aspects need to be mainstreamed into planning by policy makers and the private sector as well as integrated into development strategies.

Biodiversity & Livelihoods

Nature protection is most sustainable if it essentially contributes to the long-term stability of human needs. Today many regions around the world are confronted with increasing destruction of the natural foundations of life. The consequences of wide-ranging resource destruction are no longer regionally limited, but rather represent a global threat. Those affected are mainly rural populations, who find the sources of their income and the foundations of their way of life swept away. The depletion and destruction of natural resources goes hand in hand with decreasing agricultural yields and increasing poverty, which in turn forces the affected populations to deplete the remaining resources.

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Capacity Building

On the one hand, conflicts are caused by structural factors, such as economic and social inequality or environmental destruction. On the other hand, conflicts are fuelled by a lack of democratic structures, deficient mechanisms of non-violent conflict settlement, inadequate rule of law, the destruction of social and cultural identity and the disregard of human rights. Against this backdrop, development policies have been dedicated to a broad concept of security, which comprises political, economic, ecological and social stability. As a consequence, development cooperation agencies and actors have developed a broad spectrum of approaches for conflict prevention and transformation as well as for sustainable use of natural resources.

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Civil Society

Civil society is the first victim of environmental pollution, under-development and conflicts. Economically disadvantaged and politically marginalized population groups are particularly affected by violent conflicts as well as increasing resource degradation. Simultaneously, civil society is a fundamental pillar for implementing sustainable development. It contributes in many ways to strengthening conflict prevention and plays a significant role in the peaceful and democratic development of states. It must be supported to strengthen civil rights, adherence to human rights in general and democratic participation.

Climate Change

Climate change resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases represents one of the vital challenges for international environmental policy. Flooding, droughts, shifting of climate zones and increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events will have serious economic and social consequences for entire regions. The climate problem is also directly linked to the question of future energy generation.

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Climate Diplomacy

To address the challenges posed by climate change, a new profile of climate diplomacy is evolving. This utilises a full range of policies, including development cooperation, conflict prevention efforts, and humanitarian assistance, in addition to more traditional measures of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Moving from a risk analysis of climate-related threats to well-timed preventive action requires a greater commitment to integrating climate change concerns into development, foreign, and security policies. Examples include strengthening diplomatic networks, building new alliances with partners, and raising awareness – not only of potentially negative climate change impacts, but also of opportunities to embark on a sustainable transformation of our societies.

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Co-Benefits

Climate action entails an array of economic, social, political and environmental co-benefits. It provides an opportunity for economic growth and new jobs. Many investments can take into account climate considerations without becoming more costly. Further important co-benefits include: improved energy security, less local air and water pollution, health benefits as well as ecosystem and biodiversity protection.

Conflict Transformation

In order to overcome the structural causes of violent conflicts and thus bring about an improvement in the framework conditions for peaceful and fair development, it is essential to have long term and broadly planned peace development and peace advancement. Various governmental and non-governmental, national and international actors and groups are involved in these processes.

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Development

Climate change and development are inextricably linked. Climate change endangers the development agenda and has the potential to reverse development goals. Furthermore, successful mitigation of climate change heavily depends on development choices around the world. Therefore, development strategies need to be climate-compatible to provide long-term success, and there are viable policy options that support this compatibility. Many mitigation and adaptation activities can present development opportunities to developing countries and avoid the lock-in to environmentally damaging technologies.

Early Warning & Risk Analysis

The reasons for the development and escalation of conflicts and the incidence of risks are multifaceted and complex. Simultaneously, the assessment of the specific causes in the form of risk and conflict analyses can contribute to a better understanding of these processes and make it possible to provide warning of negative developments, or ideally help prevent them. In the context of natural resource use, risks and conflicts have gained increasing attention in the past years. The debate on possible future water wars is merely one example.

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Energy

The well-being of individuals, communities and nations depends on the availability of energy resources. The gap between energy supply and demand appears to be growing, making the world vulnerable to serious economic shocks. At the same time, the burning of fossil fuels causing climate change is one of the vital challenges of international environmental policy. So far, only rudimentary approaches exist for shaping climate and energy security in a sustainable way. The components of a strategy that can contribute to reducing vulnerabilities related to climate change and energy policy include a greater role for renewable energies, the improvement of energy efficiency and a stronger decentralisation of energy supply.

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Environment & Migration

The economic, social and environmental consequences of climate change aggravate the breakdown of eco-system-dependent livelihoods and are likely to become dominant drivers of long-term migration. Natural disasters already cause massive shorter-term displacement and the number of temporarily displaced people is likely to further increase with climate change. For vulnerable populations in vulnerable regions, such as the Sahel zone or the Ganges delta, migration often becomes the sole survival strategy. In order to address climate-related displacement and migration successfully, knowledge of effective adaptation and an improved understanding of how environmental change affects human mobility is essential. 

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Finance

Climate finance, from all sources, plays a key role in supporting and enabling adaptation and mitigation action as well as climate and energy innovation. The Paris Agreement ensured that the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility are at the core of climate finance architecture as entities entrusted with the operation of the Financial Mechanism of the UNFCCC. Increasing climate finance from all relevant public and private sources is crucial. Furthermore, much needs to be done to redirect finance flows to sustainable paths, e.g. reducing fossil fuel subsidies, introducing maritime and air transportation taxes. The conditions for green investment in developing countries should also be improved.

Forests

Forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Competition for forest resources triggers, exacerbates, or finances numerous crises and conflicts in tropical developing countries. Illegal logging and timber trade foster instability and sometimes violent conflict by strengthening illegal and armed groups, increasing corruption and exacerbating use and claim conflicts among local communities, the state and the business sector. Forests are a vital resource to poor people but they can also become areas of conflict. Sustainable management of forest resources is therefore key to preventing violent conflict over and within forests.

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Gender

Gender plays an important role as a category of conflict for many reasons. The interlinkages between gender, environment and conflicts are complex and much research is still needed. Existing insights suggest that conflicts may worsen gender inequalities that existed before the outbreak of violence. The unequal distribution of land property rights in many parts of the world serves as an example. Moreover, women (and children) are among those most affected by both violent conflict and natural disasters. At the same time, women carry much of the burden of trying to implement rehabilitation measures after crisis events.

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Land & Food

Increasing water scarcity, desertification and crop failures due to extreme weather events are becoming more and more of a threat to global food production. While the world’s population continues to grow rapidly, food production is unable to keep pace. Due to the global food crisis in 2008, the number of hungry people reached the symbolic one billion threshold for the first time – corresponding to about 16 percent of world population. Food insecurity may be a consequence or cause of conflicts. Violent conflicts often lead to the destruction of agricultural infrastructure and means of production, as well as to the displacement of local communities.

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Minerals & Mining

In the past, the discovery and tapping of valuable or strategic resources like valuable minerals, oil and natural gas, particularly in developing and emerging countries, has often led to large scale environmental contamination and negative development. The "resource curse" of some countries shows that the wealth from resource yields is frequently unfairly distributed; instead of serving development it advanced the formation of corrupt elites and in some cases even led to conflicts and civil wars. Measures in various sectors and at all levels are important in order to use the potential of these natural resources in a manner that is sustainable and prevents conflicts.

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Private Sector

The spread of violent conflict not only affects people but also companies located in such regions. Destruction of investments and infrastructure, collapse of markets and trade partnerships, flight and expulsion of employees are phenomena of conflicts and environment-induced crises that directly affect companies in unstable regions. Almost all branches of the economy thus have a clear interest in a stable and peaceful environment for their activities. Conversely, the business sector plays an important role in the interaction of economic growth, social development and a healthy environment, all of which can advance peace and sustainable development. 

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Security

Environmental issues have a significant security dimension. Access to, and overuse of, natural resources often play a key role in civil wars or other forms of internal domestic conflict. This is compounded by climate change and environmental degradation. Climate change is now widely recognised as a non-traditional, risk-multiplying threat that will have increasing security impacts. Key risks with possible implications for human and national security include water scarcity, food crises, natural disasters, and displacement. More preventive diplomacy and advocacy is needed to address the strategic implications of climate and environmental change.

Sustainable Transformation

Sustainable Transformation allows societies to profit from a growing, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive economy – especially in emerging and developing countries. This requires a higher up-front investment, but the benefits of a sustainable transformation in the medium and long term are significant. For instance, energy cost savings and reducing the impact of price volatility offer major incentives for deploying renewable energies and promoting energy efficiency. Such benefits exist in all key sectors of the economy.

Technology & Innovation

Innovations and technologies are already readily available and affordable but their global diffusion and uptake remains a challenge. Innovation and technology are crucial to achieving ambitious climate change mitigation and adaptation targets. However, research and development often do not receive appropriate public support. Developing countries can leapfrog high-carbon industrialisation phases by adopting, deploying and improving existing innovations and technologies. For this, it is essential to minimise financial, administrative and political barriers.

Water

The availability of freshwater resources in sufficient quantity and quality is essential for the preservation of human health and sound ecosystems. The use of water resources is also vital, however, for economic development: whether for agriculture, industrial production or for electricity generation. The world's freshwater resources are distributed very unevenly in terms of geography and seasons. In addition, water shortage is becoming more prevalent in several regions due to population growth, economic development, urbanisation and increasing environmental pollution. Thus, water resources can hold potential for conflicts between parties who have different interests and needs.

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Regions

Asia

The environment in Asia is already under tremendous pressure as a result of the unsustainable use of land, forests, water and even air in many regions. Climate change will only exacerbate these challenges. Rising sea levels will likely endanger densely populated areas, changes in the monsoon patterns can strongly impact agriculture, melting glaciers will increase long-term water scarcity, and extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall and cyclones can pose further hazards.

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Central America & Caribbean

Natural disasters and water scarcity are key challenges for most of Central America and the Caribbean. These challenges will become even more pronounced as the climate changes. Weak resource and disaster risk management and land disputes pose additional security challenges for large parts of the region. Several countries of Central America and the Caribbean have limited adaptive capacities as they face political instability caused by high social inequality, crime, corruption, and intra-state conflicts.

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Europe

As one of the most developed and most densely populated regions in the world, Europe makes heavy use of its resources, resulting in difficult trade-offs and negative consequences for the environment and ecosystems. Land is used for settlements, agriculture and dense infrastructure, creating problems of soil degradation. Water resources are stressed due to unsustainable agricultural practices. Despite nature protection policies, Europe continues to lose biodiversity at an alarming pace. Some of these trends are exacerbated by climate change, which is expected, for instance, to lead to shifts in water availability.

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Global Issues

Resource scarcities, environmental pollution and climate change are not limited by national borders, but often have a transboundary or even global impact. These issues interact with political stability, governance structures and economic performance, and can trigger or worsen disputes and violent conflicts. Exacerbating some of these trends, climate change is likely to lead to the degradation of freshwater resources, declines in food production, increases in storm and flood disasters and environmentally induced migration. All these developments pose potential for conflict.

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Middle East & North Africa

The geopolitical position of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), its fossil fuel resources, high population growth and the political changes spurred by the Arab Spring all make the region one of the most dynamic in the world. Nevertheless, it is also one of the most arid and environmentally stressed. Dwindling water resources, limited arable and grazing land, high pollution from household and industrial waste, remnants of conflicts and increasing desertification are key environmental challenges.

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North America

Climate change has various impacts on the three North American countries of Canada, Mexico and the US. Canada and the US have well-developed adaptive capacities and foster the strengthening of capacities in other regions as well. With high per capita emissions, these two countries also bear a greater responsibility for a changing climate. Mexico has a sound national strategy for climate change adaptation, yet fewer capacities than Canada and the US. The poorer and rural populations of Mexico are especially vulnerable to climate change, due to an increased sensitivity and a lower adaptive capacity.

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Oceania & Pacific

In Oceania, population growth and economic development trends put a strain on oceanic and island ecosystems. Freshwater scarcity, overexploitation of fisheries, loss of land biodiversity, forests and trees, invasive species, soil degradation, increasing levels of settlement, poor management of solid and hazardous waste and disproportionate use of coastal areas are some of the problems. Climate change exacerbates most of these trends, while also raising questions about the future sovereignty of some island states.

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South America

South America has diverse and unique ecosystems and is very rich in biodiversity. Weak natural resource management, land disputes and extreme weather events bring about significant challenges for the region. While South America accounts for relatively few CO2 emissions, the changing climate will alter its ecosystems and greater climate variability will lead to more hurricanes, landslides, and droughts.

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Sub-Saharan Africa

In many African states, environmental security issues rank high on the political agenda. Throughout the continent, countries suffer from water scarcity, food insecurity and energy poverty. These chronic and worsening resource scarcities have severe livelihood implications and are exacerbated by political conflicts over access to and control over these resources. Climate change may seriously threaten political and economic stability in Africa. It may also put a severe strain on the capacities of states and societies to co-ordinate activities, to communicate and to organize.

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