Paradox of Poverty in the Midst of Abundant Resources: The Politics of Oil Resources and Renewed Insurgency in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria
Nigerian state depends majorly on oil resources for her economic survival. Over 85% revenue generation to the Nigerian government are derived from oil production in the Niger Delta. In spite of this, Niger Delta region illustrates a paradox of poverty in the midst of abundant resources. The region remains one of the poorest and least developed parts of the country. The region suffers from environmental pollution, pervasive poverty and underdevelopment. These culminated to series of peaceful agitations to draw the attention of the government for solution to their challenges but due to the insensitivity of the government and oil companies operating in the region to their plight it degenerated to violent agitations, hence the insurgency and militancy in the region. The effects of all these were the disruptions of oil and gas production, reduced national revenue, withdrawal of foreign capital, kidnapping of expatriate oil company staff and so on. In a bid to curb the insurgency and militancy in the region, the Federal Government initiated the amnesty programme in 2009. Seven years after, the issues of environmental degradation, youth unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment that led to militancy and insurgency in the region remain unresolved. Thus, there was renewed insurgency from January to December, 2016 in the region. The paper argues that, granting of amnesty to the militants is a temporarily solution to the problems and until the grievances of the region are sincerely tackled by the government, the issues of militancy and insurgency will remain unabated and may degenerate.