Resource Curse and Niger Delta Unending Discourse


By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi

Gong by information at the public domain, a Warri, Delta State-based newspaper, GbaramatuVoice, in furtherance of its Niger Delta Economic Discourse Series, will on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, by 10 am, at the BON Hotel, Warri, Delta State, hold a focused group discussion that centres on two separate but related typical and topical issues – the recently extended Presidential Amnesty Programme and the federal government proposed but abandoned modular refineries in the region.

The dialogue, which has as a theme Presidential Amnesty Programme and Modular Refineries: Towards sustainable human capital relations, will bring together to deeply appraise the programmes and come up with useful recommendations, critical stakeholders comprising of Niger Delta region ex-agitators, policymakers from both state and federal levels, agencies and commissions, development professionals, media professionals, traditional rulers from the oil producing communities, representatives of different security agencies and apparatus in the country among others,

While the newspaper’s effort/decision to bring to the surface major issues/ills confronting the Niger Delta region to where they could be seen and treated is well understood and appreciated, it again raises the questions as to why Niger Delta region challenges have become an unending commentary that has defied every solution proffered in recent past by individuals, specialized groups and professionals? Is it not an absurdity of the sort that instead of shared prosperity and national cohesion, oil has brought Nigeria conflict and poverty, inequality and oppression, dependency, recurrent economic recession, and environmental dilapidation? How do we explain the fact that despite the abundance of oil and gas, hydro and energy resources, guarantees, for the most part, Nigerians live in darkness, and businesses atrophy for lack of power supply?

Is the Niger Delta region situation a case of resource curse (Dutch Disease), also known as the paradox of plenty or the poverty paradox, where countries with an abundance of natural resources have less economic growth, less democracy, or worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources?

Indeed, there are many reasons why the above questions/fears cannot be described as unfounded.

Very fundamental, like other News and development-focused organizations, GbaramatuVoice has, in the past, through its Niger Delta Economic Discourse Series, facilitated research, publications, and partner relevant agencies of government and private sector on issues that are critical to the development of the oil-rich Nigeria’s Niger Delta region. Yet, none of the policymakers in the country articulated such recommendations in their national or state policy frameworks.

Again, aside from dwelling in details on sustainable actions that could consistently be taken by the federal government and other interventionist agencies to project the Niger Delta region in good light, some agencies, particularly Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), have, in recent times, provided platforms for all to ventilate their concerns about the now extended Presidential Amnesty Programme as well as the federal government proposed modular refineries to be sited in the Niger Delta region.

Other Niger Deltans with critical interests have also, at one time or the other, offered road maps for restoring the health and vitality of the Niger Delta region and particularly proposed strategies for sustainable development, empowerment and reintroduction/re-integration of the youths of the region to their proper pride of place.

But successive administrations in the country viewed these propositions as a prank.

Regrettably, failure to adjust, adapt and incorporate these calls by the nation’s policymakers has characterized the region, in the estimation of the watching world, as an ‘unfinished project’, worse than a ‘work-in-progress’.

This has gone so bad that even at 62, no nation best typifies a country in dire need of peace and social cohesion among her various socio-political groups than Nigeria. Over the years, myriads of socio-political contradictions have conspired directly and indirectly to give the unenviable tag of a country in constant search of social harmony, justice, equity, equality, and peace.

Today, the petroleum sector, without going into specifics, doubles as a centre for the primitive accumulation of wealth as well as a platform for petro-rentier crimes. Within this sector, petroleum rents, according to reports, have been the object of an opportunistic scramble by corrupt political elites and their counterparts. In effect, the significance of oil wealth in Nigeria has been contradictory: it has been a blessing as well as a curse by generating both revenue and criminality.

This pain visited the Niger Delta, and the nation as a whole is deepened by the fact that it was avoidable.

Making the above awareness a crisis is the report that there are huge solid mineral deposits across the length and breadth of the country, yet Nigeria depends on 95% of oil income for foreign exchange earnings. Every part of the country is blessed with immense agricultural potential, yet the vast majority of our youths remain unemployed while we spend billions annually importing food staples and industrial raw materials. We are quick to boast of a huge population. It is true that one in every four black persons in the world may be Nigerian, but a significant number are more of a human liability than a human resource.

As the nation continues to brood over the above revelations, the truth must be told about the fact that the current challenge was heightened by the nation’s refusal to learn from history, which continues to teach humanity invaluable lessons about life.

To move forward, the present administration must recognize that any personality who wants to grow in leadership must almost always scale and be open to learning. They must be moulded by new experiences to improve their leadership.

Most importantly, even as stakeholders will at the meeting put together GbaramatuVoice highlight in detail urgent steps needed to support through training, financing, and other technical equipment of operators of modular refineries in the region particularly, as available evidence has shown that most of their refined products assure more quality assurance when compared with products refined abroad, this piece believes and still believes that President Muhammadu Buhari’s led Federal Government must articulate for consideration modalities for revamping the nation’s refineries.”

This must be done not for political reasons but because Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, at a function in Lagos, told the gathering that the federal government is determined to see through the completion of all the critical projects that had been embarked upon in the Niger region.

In his words, “we have invested significantly in the Niger Delta as the region that holds the energy resources that have powered our progress for six decades as well as the keys to an emergent gas economy.

“In 2017, following my tour of the Niger Delta, which involved extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the region, the New Vision for the Niger Delta was birthed in response to the various challenges which had been plaguing our people. The objective of this New Vision is to ensure that the people of the region benefit maximally from their wealth through promoting infrastructural developments, environmental remediation and local content development.”

Without a doubt, the above point appears welcoming, but again, the truth must be said to the effect that the people of the region are particularly not happy with the paltry three per cent allocation to host communities by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

In the interim, this piece applauds Gbaramatuvoice for keeping the flag on the Niger Delta discourse flying.

Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He can be reached via [email protected]/08032725374

Related Stories

BRICS and the Global South Cooperation

By Professors Abdullahi Y. Shehu and Maurice Okoli Introduction Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 ‘the tectonic plates of geopolitics have been shifting’ and with current geopolitical tensions, including the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the Israeli-Hamas war, new alliances and potential rivalry among world powers seeking for influence in Africa and other regions of the world, ‘we may see the world becoming more multipolar’. Despite the plethora of multilateral institutions, multipolarity has become a cliché as member states forge new alliances to address perceived injustices in the existing system. BRICS emerged from the Russia-India-China strategic triangle called RIC. The group


World Holocaust Day – Untold Story of A Religious Group’s Stand Up to Nazi Regime

As many around the globe commemorate the 97th International Holocaust Remembrance Day (also known as World Holocaust Day or IHRD) today January 27, it is a time to reflect on the inhumane treatment meted out to groups seen as opposed to the Nazi regime and the world’s response to genocide since the end of World War 2. One of the groups targeted by the Nazi regime was Jehovah’s Witnesses who were among the first to be sent to the Death Camp. For many, the observance of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp which forms the basis of the World Holocaust


Saving Ubeji Community in Delta State From Devastating Impacts of Gas Flaring

By Jerome-Mario Utomi If President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led federal government is desirous of ending gas flaring in the country, then, the administration should consider as urgent, taking both practical and pragmatic steps to save the people of Ubeji Community, a sleepy satellite community located around the Warri petrochemical company in Warri South local government area of Delta State, from the choking soot which reportedly emanates from the towering chimney that pierces the skyline of the community, a facility reportedly owned by a famous gas company in the country. Again, if the Governor of Delta State, Sheriff Oborevwori, recognises that the


Navigating the Complexities of Media Monitoring: Strategies for Effective Brand Media Intelligence Gathering

By Philip Odiakose In today’s media landscape, the ability to monitor and analyze media coverage is crucial for brands seeking to stay ahead of the competition and maintain their reputation. However, the sheer volume and diversity of media sources, coupled with the ever-evolving nature of communication channels, present significant challenges for effective media monitoring. As the Chief Media Analyst at P+ Measurement Services, a leading Media Monitoring and Intelligence consultancy, I have firsthand experience in navigating these complexities. In this article, I will share key strategies for successfully gathering brand media intelligence amidst the intricacies of modern media environments. 1. Define

More Stories

Kenya’s Workpay Begins Operations in Nigeria

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel A payroll, benefits and compliance software company based in Nairobi, Kenya, Workpay, has spread its tentacles to Nigeria with the mission of enabling businesses across the country to disburse approved salary payments to their employees instantly and securely. The Software As A Service (SaaS) for B2Bs, via its designed web portal and mobile self-service app, allows Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to easily manage and pay their employees from anywhere in Africa as they can track time, process a locally compliant payroll, and reimburse their employees. This is happening a year after the two-year-old company raised $2.1


FIRS May Deduct N254bn from 23,141 Tax Defaulters Bank Accounts

By Adedapo Adesanya A total of 23,141 defaulters owe federal government the sum of N254 billion in tax liabilities, according to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), through its Executive Chairman, Mr Babatunde Fowler, at the 49th annual accountant conference organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in the nation’s capital, Abuja. Mr Fowler said was collaborating with commercial banks to ensure the recovery of the defaulted taxes, stressing that, “FIRS in collaboration with the banks has started engaging in compliance measures with regard to the tax defaulters and their accounts.” “Failure to carry out this directive


Prophet Song by Irish Author Paul Lynch Wins 2023 Booker Prize

By Adedapo Adesanya Irish author Paul Lynch won the 2023 Booker Prize for fiction for his novel Prophet Song, a dystopian work about an Ireland that descends into tyranny. The 46-year-old beat five other shortlisted novelists to the prestigious award at a ceremony in London. He becomes the fifth Irish writer to win the high-profile literary prize, which has propelled to fame countless household names, including past winners Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Hilary Mantel. “This was not an easy book to write,” Mr Lynch said after collecting his award, which comes with £50,000 (around $63,000) and a huge boost


Naira Depreciates to N411/$1 at I&E FX Window

By Adedapo Adesanya The Naira on Thursday lost the 50 kobo it gained against the Dollar on Wednesday at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange market. Business Post reports that during the trading session, the local currency depreciated N411/$1 from the N410.50/$1 it finished at the midweek session. The domestic fell despite a decline in the demand for FX at the market segment by 38.4 per cent or $66.18 million to $106.34 million from the previous day’s $172.52 million. The poor outing of the domestic currency came just as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said


NFIU Act: Danger Not Yet Averted—MIIVOC Warns

**Lauds President Buhari, NASS By Dipo Olowookere A Civil Society Organisation (CSO) known as Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC) has warned that despite assenting to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari, danger is yet to be averted for the country. Addressing newsmen in Calabar, Cross River State at the weekend, Executive Director of NIIVOC, Dr Walter Duru, stressed that “assenting to the NFIU Bill is a good development, but, that is not enough.” However, he commended President Buhari for assenting to the Bill, even as he showered praised on the National Assembly


Sanwo-Olu, Oduwole, C&I Leasing Hold Strategic Discussions

Business service conglomerate, C&I Leasing Plc, recently held a strategic meeting with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State alongside filmmaker and global girl child advocate, Ms Zuriel Oduwole. The meeting, held at the State House in Marina, Lagos, was to discuss strategies aimed at improving child education in public schools across the state, with an emphasis on the girl child. Governor Sanwo-Olu, which addressing his visitors, said the metropolitan state represents 0.4 percent of Nigeria’s territorial landmass with more public primary schools than in Ghana, hence, the need for long lasting reforms in the state’s education system. According to him,


Chibok Girls: FG Ready To Work With BBOG

By Dipo Olowookere Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, has explained that the vision and objectives of the Federal Government and that of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group were still the same despite what people say. Mr Mohammed, speaking during a special programme to mark Nigeria’s 56th independence anniversary on Channels Television on Saturday night, said the government was committed to rescuing the over 200 abducted schoolgirls just like the group. “I want the Bring Back Our Girls to understand that this government appreciates what they are doing. We are all batting on the same side

Recent Stories

Navigating the Complex World of Investing: What Novices Need to Know

Have you finally decided to take the leap into the exciting arena of investing? Not only is this an excellent way to secure a lucrative nest egg for the future, but many have begun to use these opportunities as a springboard for their businesses. However, appreciating the intricacies of online trading is no easy task. A great deal of preparation will be required and mistakes can occur on occasion. This is why knowing where to begin is one of the best ways to establish strong foundations. Let us therefore cut through a fair amount of “fluff” and examine a handful


No Going Back on Reforms—Tinubu

By Adedapo Adesanya President Bola Tinubu has said there is no going back on the reforms embarked upon by his government that have led to the hike of essential goods and services in the country. He made this known as he inaugurated the Red Line Rail Project in Lagos on Thursday. The project, an intra-state rail service, is aimed at improving transportation within the city and spans 37 kilometres. Speaking while inaugurating the project, the President reiterated his administration’s commitment to improving the nation’s infrastructural development. He said, “But this revolution that has started, this reform that is ongoing, we


Senate Confirms Appointment of Four Nominees to CBN Board

By Aduragbemi Omiyale The appointment of four nominees to the board of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been confirmed by the Senate. The nominees were confirmed for the position at the plenary on Thursday after the presentation of the report of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions. Chairman of the committee, Mr Tokunbo Abiru, informed his colleagues that only four of the five persons nominated by President Bola Tinubu appeared for screening. The nominees screened and confirmed to join the board of directors of the central bank are Robert Agbede, Ado Yakubu Wanga, Murtala


Africa Beyond Russia’s Grains Partnerships

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh Until sustainable food security is established through modernizing agriculture and ensuring adequate support for local farmers, Russia’s grain supply would be a soft geostrategic bait (i) to reinforce the existing time-tested relationships with Africa and (ii) to solicit an endorsement for the unprovoked war in Ukraine. In a speech delivered on March 20, 2023, during the interparliamentary conference ‘Russia-Africa’ held in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin described six African countries as the least developed and poorest in the world that are urgently in need grains, alternatively referred to as humanitarian aid, to feed its population. The beneficiary


MasterCard, MTN Partner to Boost Digital Commerce, Payments

By Aduragbemi Omiyale A partnership aimed at driving acceleration of the mobile money ecosystem in Africa across 13 markets has been entered into between Mastercard and MTN Group Fintech. This is coming shortly after the payments giant completed the purchase of a minority stake in the telecommunications company. The deal will see Mastercard giving a prepaid virtual card tailored for MTN’s MoMo customers, granting them access to over 100 million acceptance points worldwide. Additionally, it will empower MoMo merchants to seamlessly accept card payments, enhancing the platform’s instant cross-border money remittance services and capabilities. Further, Mastercard will use its cutting-edge


Adesina to Receive Prestigious Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership

By Ichie Enyi Ejike Umunnabuike Jr Come March 6, 2024, the Lagos Continental Hotel will host an unforgettable occasion when the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, will be formally honoured and presented with the distinguished Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership 2023. The Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership was first announced in December 2012, with the official award ceremony held on March 6, 2013. Before Mr Adesina was announced as its fourth recipient, three other distinguished personalities had been conferred with the prestigious award – Noble Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; former South African President, Thabo


Exploring Diverse and Evolving Sounds of Africa

Africa’s music scene is a sonic melting pot, where rhythms collide and cultures connect. It’s a universal language, a force that breaks boundaries and fuels the soul. This sonic tapestry isn’t just diverse – it’s explosive. Afrobeats and Amapiano own the spotlight right now. Those irresistible Afrobeats hooks? They’ve got the whole world dancing. And Amapiano’s hypnotic blend of South African house and street sounds? It’s straight-up addictive. Mainstream African artists are pushing the boundaries like no one else, taking Amapiano and running with it. They’re injecting their fire, creating a whole new flavour. This is proof that African music


Nigeria Needs Policies that Prioritize Economic Recovery—Peter Obi

By Adedapo Adesanya The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi, has raised concerns over the recent decision of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to increase the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 22.5 per cent and the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) to 45 per cent. Mr Obi warned that this move is likely to worsen the ongoing economic challenges faced by many Nigerian households, and emphasized the need for policies that prioritize economic recovery. In a statement issued via X (formerly Twitter), the businessman and former


Silence Laboratories Raises $4.1m for Privacy-Preserving Computing

By Adedapo Adesanya Silence Laboratories has announced securing $4.1 million in funding to enable privacy-preserving collaborative computing led by Pi Ventures and Anurag Arjun, along with several prominent angel investors. In a statement shared with Business Post, the company said with the market for privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) growing globally at a compound annual growth rate of 26.6 per cent, there is growing demand. In recognition of this, Silence Laboratories is offering to provide mathematical guarantees for techno-legal expectations as part of a mission to create infrastructure to enable complex data collaborations between enterprises and entities, without any sensitive information being


MainOne Stretches Submarine Cable to Akwa Ibom

By Modupe Gbadeyanka A submarine cable spanning 45,000km in length known as 2Africa has been landed in Akwa Ibom State by MainOne, an Equinix company. It is one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects and will interconnect Europe, Asia, and Africa, with a design capacity of up to 180Tbps. The cable is the first and only submarine cable system in Nigeria outside of Lagos, and it marks a significant milestone in enhancing broadband connectivity and driving economic development in the South-South, South-East and North-Central regions of Nigeria. The significance of 2Africa lies in its capacity to address critical internet