Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



Manifestation of frustration over failure of amnesty program

The bomb explosion that rocked Warri, an oil city in Delta state of the Niger Delta region, in Nigeria on Monday March 15, 2010 is a signal that the crisis is much alive despite decline in disturbances (kidnapping, bombing etc.) following the amnesty deal. The bomb exploded at about 200 metres away from the Government House Annex, Warri, and venue of the post amnesty dialogue organized by the Vanguard Newspaper. The program (dialogue) was cut short after the second bomb was detonated. Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, (MEND) has claimed responsibility. This Warri incident has indeed buttressed our view that on the basis of parasitic capitalist system, the relative peace in Niger-Delta after the Amnesty programme can only be momentary. For a way forward on the seemingly intractable crisis, we produce below an article from our last publication – “Nigeria on a Cliff Edge” (February 2010) which is entitled “A Time Bomb Called the Niger Delta”.

The Niger Delta issue represents a time bomb that can lead to the disintegration and destruction of Nigeria as an entity with all the calamitous social consequences which that would entail for most people. Presently, oil from the Niger Delta region fetches over 80% of Nigeria’s total income. For decades, most of the oil wealth being extracted from this region has always been pocketed by foreign oil corporations and the local capitalist ruling elite. In consequence, the entire country and most especially the Niger Delta region have remained in an unimaginable state of economic decay and prostration. This is the primary factor that has given rise to the development of armed militia groups, ostensibly fighting for the liberation of the Deltan masses.

Based on intensive campaigns of bombings of oil installations, kidnappings and hostage-taking, the activities of these militia groups have temporarily succeeded in forcing the Nigerian state to come up with a so-called amnesty programme, offering cash for weapons and a temporary cessation of the military crack-down on militants who are willing to drop their weapons, with a claim that the state needs an atmosphere of peace to effect the necessary rapid economic and social development of the Niger Delta region.

However, with the inherent weaknesses of capitalism, particularly of the prevailing, global, neo-liberal brand of capitalism and the special ‘kleptomaniac’ characteristics of Nigeria’s thieving ruling elite, very little of the desired and promised development of the Niger Delta or the whole of the country will ever happen. Predictably, therefore, the current peace in the Niger Delta, should be expected to shatter sooner rather than later. On their own, the activities of the Niger Delta militia may not be sufficient to topple the Nigerian state. Even then, the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty which their activities will engender, together with the drastic disruptions of oil productions and massive reduction of oil incomes, will be enough to put Nigeria on the path of permanent political instability which, at a certain conjuncture, may provide the perfect and ultimate excuse for the military to once again attempt to take over political power in the country. They would do this, ostensibly, to ‘ensure stability’, but the dreadful consequences which this will have for the struggles of the Niger Delta people and those of the rest of Nigeria for bread and democratic freedom are clear.

The only way to avert this looming disaster is for the working class to take power armed with a massive socio-economic programme and policy of using the Niger Delta’s oil wealth to meet the basic economic aspirations of most ordinary Nigerians, as opposed to the current capitalist economic arrangement where only one percent Nigerians consume 80% of the oil wealth coming from the Niger Delta. Only this kind of approach can ensure that the ordinary masses of the rest of Nigeria and of the Niger Delta come together in joint struggles with a view to defeating the local capitalist vampires and their imperialist backers and exploiters.