The current conflict in the Niger Delta
arose in the early 1990s over tensions between the foreign oil corporations
and a number of the Niger Delta
's minority ethnic groups who felt they were being exploited, particularly the Ogoni
and the Ijaw
. Ethnic and political unrest has continued throughout the 1990s and persists as of 2007 despite the conversion to democracy
and the election of the Obasanjo
government in 1999. Competition for oil wealth has fueled violence between innumerable ethnic groups
, causing the militarization of nearly the entire region by ethnic militia groups as well as Nigerian military
and police forces (notably the Nigerian Mobile Police
). Victims of crimes are fearful of seeking justice for crimes committed against them because of growing "impunity from prosecution for individuals responsible for serious human rights abuses, has created a devastating cycle of increasing conflict and violence"
. The regional and ethnic conflicts are so numerous that fully detailing each is impossible and impractical. However, there have been a number of major confrontations that deserve elaboration.
Nigeria, after nearly four decades of oil production, had by the early 1980s become almost completely dependent on petroleum extraction economically, generating 25% of its GDP
(this has since risen to 60% as of 2008). Despite the vast wealth created by petroleum, the benefits have been slow to trickle down to the majority of the... Read More