It is up to the federal government of Nigeria to acknowledge or deny the existence of the several wars going on in Nigeria. This is so because even the government itself is at war with the people. Imagine a country where the people, the ordinary masses cannot determine the state of affairs through the power of their votes. Imagine the country where the men and women who should be doing time in prisons continue to hold sway at the helm of governance albeit illegitimately.
Recently, women and children in some parts of the Niger Delta came out to vehemently protest the spate of kidnapping that had continued unabated. In our dear country, the security of individuals is not one of the responsibilities of the state. Instead, your safety and security are a function of how much care you can grant yourself both physically and spiritually.
The killings of Nigerians by Nigerians are usually never met by stiff condemnations. If an unpopular government sees itself to be at war with the ordinary citizenry, it will definitely care less if the citizenry turns fire on itself. Thousands of lives have been wasted in Nigeria under military and civilian dictatorships but life goes on, just like that! One can easily loose count of innocent citizens whose lives were prematurely terminated under the different regimes in Nigeria. The leadership under Obasanjo wiped away an entire community with its own hand. No one has been charged with genocide.
In Nigeria if you are very influential politically or economically, you can kill as many as you like and walk away free. No major breakthroughs have been achieved in the murder cases of senior citizens and big politicians in Nigeria. The list continues to grow as the chickens continue to eat the intestines of their kinds. It is sad then that the government (itself a killing machine in many ways) is not showing any concern or sign of awareness regarding the conversion of the Delta region into a major killing field in Nigeria.
The militants in the Niger Delta are not only kidnapping expatriates or indigenes in order to obtain ransom but are also on a daily basis sending tens of Nigerians to their early graves. The activities of the militants have been diversified and proliferated probably due to the emergence of hundreds (thousands maybe)of factions and counter factions in the Niger Delta.
On the 30th of May 2008, a cook on one of the shipping trawlers met his untimely death when he got hit by a stray bullet. What the militants do is that they approach trawlers in their own speed boats while shooting randomly at the same time. They stop the boats or trawlers; rip the occupants of major items, money and valuables. Sometimes at very close range, they gun down one or two occupants of the trawlers and disappear into thin air. If you are lucky, they give you only verbal warnings while they cart away valuables.
On a daily basis, lives are lost in this region. This type of news or information is not what you get on the pages of newspapers. You have to be affected one way or the other by this menace to know about it. I have a family member who is a marine engineer and this is his 20th year on African waters. Just to ensure that they conduct their business and fishing in normal way, the fishing companies have bribed and settled the major militant groups or warlords but out of insatiable greed some fresh factions would emerge from nowhere to make new demands and unwarranted incursions. The fishing entrepreneurs, marine engineers, sailors, fishermen, hustlers, casual workers and just ordinary Nigerians carrying on decent living are left perplexed and worried by this development. It has been going on for a long time.
The persistence of this menace is very worrying and like every other ill in Nigeria, it looks like another Nigerian problem that will last forever. The Nigerian Navy or coast guards are either helpless or irresponsible in this scenario. As an arm of the Nigerian defense, they are irresponsible. They cannot offer security to people doing legitimate businesses in their motherland. As fallout of the malady of the Nigerian state or federation, it is helplessness. Nigeria is definitely not a normal country.
The problems in the Niger Delta have been allowed to drag on for too long. It is now clear that the solutions to these problems are beyond the workings of any insensitive or illegitimate leadership steering the nation from in Abuja. For several years, the leadership in Nigeria has ignored the genuine plights of the Niger Delta masses. These genuine plights have now become fireballs which invariably have led to the unannounced but silent declarations of war on the larger Nigerian state.
The regional leaders, past and present governors in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria share larger portions of the blame concerning the troubled delta. They have contributed to making the region volatile, unstable and ungovernable. The winner takes all attitudes of our politics and politicians have deprived millions of Nigeria of decent existence. These deprived millions; about 90m to be sure, are voiceless and powerless. They are disenfranchised, suffering and smiling.
A fragment of these aggrieved souls found some voice and aggression; they possess firearms and ammunition (no thanks to politics, corruption and smuggling), they fight for what they thought they deserved. They are the supposedly true militants of the Niger Delta. Unfortunately, their struggles have been converted to armed robberies, arsons, senseless murders and an aggression turned towards the wrong set of people in the country. This message is clear; the disoriented and fragmented Niger Delta militants have now intensified their unannounced war on the rest of us instead of the people in power who continue to deprive them of their demands.
Related article: The Troubled Delta