Towards ending conflict and insecurity in the Niger Delta region: A collective non-violent approach
Since independence in 1960, insecurity has been a feature of the Nigerian State as conflicts in different parts of the country have continued to make life insecure. In the Niger Delta, violence has been the bane of the region where conf licts have been occurring for over four decades. Beginning from the pre-colonial period, the region has witnessed a series of conf licts, which had their roots, initially in the protest against injustice, and in recent years in the quest for resource control. All efforts to resolve conf lict in the region failed until 2009 when amnesty was declared by the Yar’adua/Jonathan administration and some form of uneasy peace prevailed. However, seven years down the line, there is renewed militancy in the region and effort is once again geared towards finding lasting peace. This article assesses the efforts made by the Federal Government of Nigeria to address conf licts in the region from the early 1960s to date. It is based on a literature study and on the author’s knowledge of the issues in the Niger Delta. Findings from the work show that the Federal Government’s approach to resolving conf lict in the region has not been successful because it has not adequately addressed the issues that gave rise to the conf lict, and because of its emphasis on the use of force. The article therefore recommends a Collective Non-violent Conf lict Management approach – involving a group of negotiators, both international and local, an international mediator, as well as all the parties to the conflict – as the means for resolving conflict in the region. There is no doubt that a viable resource conf lict strategy based on an alternative framework of multilateral cooperation is necessary for resolving and preventing a recurrence of future conflict in the Niger Delta region.
Keywords: conflict, resource conflict, conflict resolution, insecurity, non-violence