Amazing Benefits of Landscaping

Picture Of Amazing Benefits of Landscaping

Either you have your own house or you are planning to buy one, there are loads of reasons why you need to consider landscaping.

There is something about beautiful outdoor spaces that will always get you excited each time you are heading back home. You cannot but notice the aesthetic appeal of a well-landscaped home.

You will find out that maintaining a landscaped home is worth the stress. Either you have a plan beforehand or not, landscaping after new home construction is not as hard as you think.

You will always find a professional landscaper that will come up with the perfect plan for your landscaping. Here are amazing reasons why you need landscaping.

How Does Landscaping Help The Environment?

Landscaping is beneficial to the environment in so many ways as listed below.

1. It Provides Cool Temperature To Homes:

The temperature of a grass lawn is much cooler than cement, asphalt and bare soil. You can save extra cash on your air conditioning needs with a good landscape.

The grasses radiate cool temperatures all over your home making sure that the surroundings are always cool.

2. Cools Urban Areas:

The Urban landscape is encouraged because it serves as a natural coolant. You sure know how hot it is to walk on a hot summer day. The heat produced from the ground can make you uncomfortably hot.

In such a case, planting enough trees and grasses helps reduce this intense heat. Generally, trees reduce the average temperature of an urban setting, especially during the summer period.

3. Serves As Shades:

Having tall trees around your house provides shade for you during the hottest period of the day. If you plant the trees in strategic locations, it will prevent the hot sun from penetrating your house through the windows.

It can also reduce the attic temperature to a great extent. You will have better experiences with a well-landscaped house.

4. It Cleans The Air:

Green grasses and trees absorb carbon(IV)oxide from the atmosphere and breaks it down to carbon and oxygen. It retains the carbon and releases oxygen that we breathe in.

This is why we need to plant more trees. More trees, more oxygen! Research shows that a 50′ by 50′ lawn is capable of producing oxygen that will be enough for a family of four.

5. Dust Removal:

Landscaping cleans the environment by removing dust, smoke particles and other harmful pollutants from the environment. It keeps the natural environment in good shape at all times.

Lawns also help to prevent unhealthy or polluted runoffs that might want to intrude water bodies. It does so by absorbing the water runoffs.

6. Reduces Noise Pollution:

Lawns and trees greatly reduce noise pollution by absorbing sounds. Its effect is greater than what you will get from normal concrete and pavement.

You don’t like too much noise? A good landscape might just be your best choice.

Is Landscaping Good Exercise?

When you are actively working on your garden, it increases your physical activity to a great extent. A good landscape provides you with great avenues to exercise your body, build your body mass and also burn down those excess calories.

It helps in reducing blood pressure and obesity. From research, it was found out that people who interact with nature quickly find stress relief and healing. Just viewing nature through a window can greatly achieve this effect.

Workers are also more productive and proactive working in an environment filled with plants and nature. Just walking through a natural environment increases your attentiveness and memory.

Gardening also serves as a great rehab tool for people with physical injuries or people that have undergone surgery.

The physical and emotional well-being of people is greatly influenced by plants around us. Landscaping is worth it considering the great role it plays on our well-being.

Economic Benefits of Landscaping

Owning a well maintained landscaped home saves you a lot of energy consumption. You will spend less on energy by planting trees and growing grasses around your home.

During the summertime, those grasses, trees, and shrubs absorb heat from the hot sun. It, in turn, makes your house cooler.

A well-planned landscape will also help prevent the winter wind while retaining the heat of the winter sun. Having a good landscape will surely help you to save more money.

Every homeowner always looks to add value to their house. Coupled with the immediate value you derive from it, it is also a long term investment.

Landscaping your home is a sure way to increase the value of your home in the long run. Homebuyers are always willing to pay extra cash for a house with professional landscaping.

Installation of permanent landscapes like patios is surely an added advantage. Either you live in your home for a long time or you end up selling it, you are sure of long term benefits from your investment.

Social Benefits of Landscaping

There is nothing like having an entertaining outdoor capable of hosting a mini-party. All you need to do is to complement your nice landscape with beautiful furniture and hardscape surfaces to create the right scenery.

Who says you can’t complement it with a nice kitchen too if you enjoy cooking?

The possibilities when you have a landscaped home seem to be endless! You can choose to create a comfortable outdoor living room right in your yard with adequate planning.

Landscaping also encourages families to have outdoor fun. Nothing like connecting with your friends in an aesthetic and attractive environment.

Research has it that landscaping enhances safer neighborhoods. People living in areas with more trees tend to socialize with themselves and also relate to the environment better. They connect better because it greatly enhances their mood.

Conclusion

In general, good landscaping adds beauty and style to an environment. People tend to visit cities with good landscaping more because of its beauty. Landscaping Hamilton has beautified the city in so many ways. You will never regret landscaping your home!

Pollution and poverty in the Niger Delta

That the Niger Delta region is the seat of oil and gas production in Nigeria placing
the nation as the 9th leading oil producing country in the world is no longer news.
The region is also endowed with abundance of several other renewable and nonrenewable resources, including wild fisheries and alluvial soil with great potentials for
bumper agricultural production. Oil production in the Delta started in 1956 with the
industry, consistently, expanding overtime.
Available records from 1976 to 2001 showed that, the Niger Delta region
experiences an average of 273 oil spills, annually, resulting to about 115,000 barrels
of crude oil spilled into, the already fragile environment (each year). The above rates
of oiling apparently, makes the Delta the most vulnerable area to oil spill than
anywhere else in the world. These spills and other environmental threats associated
with oil production in the region, tremendously, disrupt ecosystem stability and
traditional livelihood structures of host communities. Deliberate disregard for
international best practices is one key element responsible for the high degree of oil
pollution in the Niger Delta basin.
From the outset of oil production in Nigeria, the oil Trans-National Corporations
(TNCs) had the erroneous presumption that as long as they have been able to
satisfy the conditions for issuance of operational license and the subsequent
payment(s) of various taxes to the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), then they
have no obligations to develop oil-producing communities with the apparent nearzero level of corporate social responsibility (CSR). On the other hand, host
communities in the Delta feel that the oil TNCs owed them some pay-back
development and alternate means of livelihood, having exploited their wetlands as
wealth-lands that were in the end transformed to or abandoned as wastelands. The
above parallel conceptions have resulted to various degrees of community-company
conflicts in the region, and in worst case scenarios the loss of social license to
operate in the community; as has been the case of the Shell Petroleum Development
Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) in Ogoniland of Nigeria.
Thus, the oil TNCs have realized that besides the ’FGN’s legal license to explore and
exploit oil in the region, direct investments into the host communities through
pragmatic CSR projects was necessary to maintain good community relations and
the social license to have hitch-free operations. The approach of the oil TNCs and
the types of CSRs evolved from poorly managed and less impact Community

1
Paper presented at the University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway on 29
th October, 2009.
2
Assistant (CA) in the 1980s, and Community Development Programmes of the ‘90s
down to the current concept of Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) that
is yet to be adhered to religiously in cases where such have been signed with the
communities. The later scheme being experimented by SPDC and Chevron derives its
framework from the Akassa Model, a development initiative of Pro-Natura
International (PNI, a local non-governmental organization) in the Akassa area of the
Niger Delta, using funds provided by Statoil Hydro.
THE NIGER DELTA
Nigeria has a coastline of, approximately, 853 km bordering the Atlantic Ocean in the
Gulf of Guinea. The Nigerian coastline is interrupted by series of estuaries that form
the Niger Delta swamp at the middle where the lower Niger River system drains the
waters of rivers Niger and Benue into the Atlantic Ocean. The Niger Delta is the third
largest wetland in the world and boosts of the fourth largest mangrove area. The
Delta is home of extraordinary biodiversity (some of which are endemic) and is also
endowed with several mineral deposits such as marble, barites, limestone, sand and
gravel, etc. For many decades now, the petroleum industry in the Niger Delta has
remained the backbone of the Nigerian economy, accounting for over 90% of the
country’s total foreign exchange revenue (Niger Delta Regional Development Master
Plan, 2006).
OIL PRODUCTION IN NIGERIA
The Niger Delta of Nigeria has been identified as a gas region with some oil in it
(Adeyemo, 2008). Between 2005 and 2006, crude oil reserves in Nigeria increased
from 25 to 35 billion barrels, respectively, while the natural gas reserves increased to
187.5 Tcf. According to Chukwueke (2006), out of the 35 billion barrels of crude oil
reserves in Nigeria, 28 billion barrels is found in the Niger Delta and 7 billion in the
deepwaters.
Although crude oil was first struck in Nigeria in 1956 at Oloibiri in the present day
Bayelsa State (central Niger Delta), commercial exploration and exploitation only
began in 1958. The country operates a Joint Venture (JV) with the TNCs. The FGN,
through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), owns 55% share in
the JV; SPDC 30%, ELF Petroleum Nigeria Limited (a subsidiary of TotalFina) 10%,
and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) the remaining 5%. Table 1 below shows
the physical presence of the oil industry in the Niger Delta. As at 2005, Nigeria’s
daily production of crude oil reached 2.2 million barrels (b.p.d.) and was still on the
increase. In recent times, however, production rates keep fluctuating due to
insecurity occasioned by threats from local militias and continual agitations for better
operational standards by self-styled freedom fighters in the region.
The FGN declared an amnesty from August 4, 2009 to October 4, 2009 for the
militants most of whom willingly laid down their arms. The disarmament exercise
had expired and was celebrated as a huge ‘‘success?’’ because various commanders
of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), surrendered their
arms and ammunition and in the processed renounced militancy. Hitherto, MEND
had claimed responsibility for launching several successful attacks on oil facilities in
the Delta. Since the expiration of the amnesty period on October 4th, 2009, oil
3
production output has been increasing, and would remain so if the postdisarmament era is properly managed by the FGN!

Home

Human Rights Report 2008

This report was prepared by the trio of Stevyvn Obodoekwe, Sebastian
Kpalap and Patrick Naagbanton. Obodoekwe is the head of the
Human Rights Program of CEHRD, while Kpalap is its special
project officer and Naagbanton is the coordinator of the organization. The
content of this report is based on cases of violations, investigated as reported
by the human rights project. Every month CEHRD prepares this report and
publish them in a newsletter called which is
distributed locally and internationally. The news here are generated from
CEHRD’s massive networks around the rural communities in the delta, the
security forces, the armed groups and gangs, the oil and gas corporations etc.
CEHRD stands by the reports as contained here. They are well-researched
and authoritative. It is not based on . While investigating the reports,
we interviewed a lot of persons, we respect those who talked to us, they
confided in us, what we should report and what we should not. The readers
of this report should bear with us over this. Mere reading it, is not enough,
please take action to redress the situation. You can do something in your
“small” way.
The human rights news for 2008 was too bad. The Nigerian police force
charged with the responsibility of maintaining law and order, protection of
life and property through out the federation of Nigeria by virtue of section
214 (1) of the 1999 constitution and section 3 of the PoliceAct was one of the
worst violators of human rights in 2008. They extort bribe from poor
commuters at illegal checkpoints, they are used by persons to kill their
perceived opponents on trumped up charges, and they arrest and detain
persons unnecessarily. They behave as if they are above the law. They
violate citizen’s rights at will without any bit of regard for the law. Their
lawless behaviour is partly responsible for the violence in the delta today,
because when a force like the police that is supposed to safeguard the people
later turn against them, someone will take the law into his or her hands, and a
state of lawlessness will eventually emerge.
Secondly, in 2008, apart from the lawless behaviour of the Nigerian police
force, another security force that has also violated the rights of people in the
zone, is the military task force code-named
The Human Rights News
Joint Task Force (JTF)
heresay
vii
Preface
sometimes called The JTF was formed in
to tackle the growing spate of insecurity and violence in the Niger
Delta region. This task force also operating in a very lawless manner like
their counterpart, the Nigerian police force has also committed terrible
violence and violations in the region. The JTF comprises of the police, the
State Security Services (SSS), the Army, the Navy and the Air force. The
task force has been implicated in several cases of extra-judicial executions,
extortions, illegal arrests and torture of innocent persons on trump up
charges. The JTF has also been implicated in cases where they are hired as
mercenaries to settle scores in community. They have also been involved in
massive proliferation of dangerous Small Arms and Light Weapons
(SALW) and thereby contributing to the general state of insecurity which
beclouds the deltaic region now.
In this report, there is a section that deals with reports of the lawless
activities of non-state armed groups and gangs, there are also reports on rape
cases and also proliferation of SALWs. There are reports on armed groups
like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) of
Jomo Gbomo and its affiliates like the Niger Delta Strike Force (NDSF) led
by Farah Dagogo Ipallibo, the People Liberation Movement (PLM)
spearheaded by Egberi Papa currently in JTF detention etc. There are also
other groups like the Niger Delta Vigilante Movement (NDVM) led by Tom
Ateke. The Outlaws by Soboma George, and other MEND chieftains like
Chief Ekpemupolo popularly called Tompolo, Commander Jackson a.k.a.
Young Shall Grow, Commander Ogbombos,Africa Owei, Victor Ben Ebika
Bowei popularly called Boyloaf, Joshua Mackiver who is said to have quit
militancy.
There are also the street/creek gangs like the Deadly underdogs, the
Deewell, the Deebam etc. Sadly, the formation of the JTF in 2003 did not
bring the desired peace and security; rather on daily basis we see more
audacious armed groups and dangerous SALW flooding the region. Today, a
climate of insecurity and culture of violence reign in the region.
Kidnappings and other forms of violence are out of control.
And finally, It is important to note that, in discussing the proliferation of
small arms, armed groups and violent conflicts in the region, the roles of the

The Bodo War of Attrition

The Bodo War of Attrition

Contents

1. About Bodo and its people

2. Genesis of the war of Attrition

3. Things Fall Apart

4. Comrades, No More!

5. Deebam and Deewell Clashed outside Bodo

6. Blood Flows as Deebam returns to base

7. An unending Macabre Dance?

8. Is peace in sight?

9. What is the Nigerian Police up to?

10. Refugee Crises heighten

11. Taming the crazy gangs

12. Guns Everywhere

1. About Bodo and its people

Bodo Community lies on the coastal low land of the Niger Delta, and in the southern part of Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State. The community is about 56 kilometers by road from Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, and is located between latitude 4o36’N and Longitude 7o21’E of the equator 1 Bodo is bounded on the North by the communities of Gokana, on the East by the Andoni people, on the West by the Bolo people of Okirika kingdom (Ijaw), and on the south by the Ibani (Bonny) (Ijaw) and the Atlantic Ocean. Bodo occupies an approximate area of about one hundred thousand hectares of land, Bodo has a considerable population which spread over the major town, its 36 villages and numerous fishing settlements, about 26 of them are located on its numerous Peninsula and Islands by the sea. These are clustered together into 3 electoral wards, with 38 voting centres2.

1. “The approximation was roughly inferred from The Time Atlas of the World. Comprehensive Edition, (London; Times Book, 1980) 32,” quoted by Tanen, Paul Donu in his book, Bodo; A perspective of Ogoni History, 2005, page 1.

2. Taneen, Paul Donu, “Bodo; A perspeective of Ogoni History” (Port Harcourt; Ano publications company, 2005) page 1.

According to the 1963 national population census, Bodo had a population figure of 14,300, establishing it as the largest settlement in the then Ogoni Division. By 1991, the number had increased to 21,642, which rated it the most populous community in Ogoni, though the fishing settlement and some of its villages were never enumerated due to the difficult terrain posed by the affected areas. In 1996, however, the above figure gave a projection of 25,613; while 2001 produced 30,3003. The major occupation of the people are fishing and farming.

3. “The first figure was drawn from the Rivers State Ministry of Land and Survey, Bodo Master plan. Project No. N/744 (Labanese-Nigeria; dar al-handasah, Shair and partners, 1977) 1 – 3. The second was sourced from the National Population Commission’s Office, Point Block, Port Harcourt; while the others were projections” quoted by Taneen, 2005.

Genesis of The War of Attrition

During the Gubernatorial election in Rivers State in 1999, between Chief Ebenezer Isokariari, a retired top civil servant and an aspirant on the platform of the then All People Party (APP), now the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and Dr. Peter Odili, a medical doctor and former deputy Governor of Rivers State. Odili contested against Isokariari of APP in an election that was reportedly rigged in favour of Odili by elements of the Deebam and Deewell, who are now locked in a titanic war of attrition. They fought together as one, using dynamites, broken bottles and locally made pistols popularly called “Awka made”, to intimidate their opponents in favour of Odili around the Bodo axis and other Gokana communities. Kenneth Bie Kobani, the son of Chief Nnaa Edward Kobani, the Ogoni politician and traditional chief who was murdered at Giokoo, Gokana on May 21, 1994.

4. “These guns are called Akwa- made because they are proliferated massively around Akwa, the Anambra State capital in South-Eastern Nigeria, by local blacksmiths.
Hon. Gabriel brother Pidomson Jnr, the son of Mr. Gabriel Pidomson, Snr., a retired soldier who fought in the Suicide Squad (SS) section of the Biafran Army and ex-staff of now defunct, Rivers State Government owned Pan African Bank (PAB), constituted “a standing army” that fought for Odili’s victory in 1999. The electoral manipulations brought Odili, on board as Governor. After the elections, Odili rewarded Kenneth Kobani, who had spent several years in London, and had returned to Nigeria, he was appointed as Commissioner for Commerce and Industry.

In 2003, Kobani who is in his early 40s and Pidomson, Gabriel Jnr. Who was the People Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the Rivers of Assembly, worked together to ensure the victory of their party. Pidomson is a graduate of Quantity Survey from Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) and a self-confessed member of The Supreme Vikings Confraternity. (SVC) 5

During the election, while Pidomson brought in the services of his Deewell 6, Kobani who is not known to be a member of any of the cult groups (gang), rented the services of the Klansmen Konfraternity’s Deebam 7. Through the help of his cousin, Mr. Paul Kobani, a staff of the Rivers State Judiciary, the groups unleashed violence in Bodo, Gokana and other parts of Ogoni during the 2003 election. They hijacked ballot boxes, killed, maimed and intimidated their opponents; they were heavily armed and had the blessings of Odili who returned for a second term in 2003 as Governor of the oily Rivers State.

5. The Supreme Vikings Confraternity (SVC) also called The Adventures or De Norsemen Club of Nigeria is a campus cult founded about 1984 in what in Vikintical code, is called “Alpha Marine” (University of Port Harcourt), where Vikings was founded. The Vikings broke away from Buccaneer Association of Nigeria a.k.a Sealords, another notorious campus gang. Since its inception, SVC have grown in large numbers nationwide in territory institutions in Nigeria. In their lust for violence, they loot, maim and plunder like the Vikings of ancient Scandinavia.

6. Deewell was founded later by SVC as a their street wing for non students who are considered have guts to unleash violence on rivals and fight for supremacy and territory control. They control drug business etc on the streets, they are mostly found in suburbs of urban cities like Port Harcourt. While, Dewell came after as another street force, to respond to Deebam’s excesses. Even though you are not a member of Deebam, and meet their financial demand can be hired for any violent job.

7. Contrary to popular opinion, Klansmen Konfraternity (KK) has no link with the KU Klux Klan (K.K.K) of the United State whatsoever; there is no such cult like the US KKK in Nigeria University. The Klansmen Konfraternity (KK) started in University of Calabar in 1983 by five students known as the “Non jaw-jawed” (un-tortured) men under the name Eternal Fraternal Order of the Legion Konsortium (EFOLK). Their maxim is “debt na debt”, their member unleash mayhem at the slightest provocation. Shortly, after their formation in 1983, they founded Deebam, their street affiliate. “Deebam” is KK communication code, which means “be strong”.
Things Fall Apart

Like the title of Professor Chinua Achebe’s first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), the 2003 low-intensity arms struggle called elections came and is gone but left behind its trails of negative tales to tell. Kenneth Kobani who was appointed in the later part of Odili’s first tenure to occupy the position of Rivers State Commissioner of Finance after serving as commissioner for commerce; and Pidomson Jnr, became “Honourable” member, representing Gokana constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Pidomson Jnr. wants to return to the house, because it is rumored in the PDP in the state that, PDP might zone the speakership seat to Ogoni, and Pidomson wants to take it at all costs. Hence, his intense strengthening, massive recruitment and funding of his foot soldiers (Deewell) for the task ahead. The current chairman of Gokana Local Government Council, Chief Fred Barivule Kpakol who is serving his second term as chairman of the council, also wants to occupy Pidomson office as member of the Rivers State House of assembly come 2007. They are all of the PDP. They youngman (Kpakol) who is in his early 40s too, is the younger brother of Dr. Magnus Kpokol, former Economic, Adviser to president Olusegun Obasanjo and now head of National Poverty Alleviation Program (NAPEP) in the presidency. As movement towards 2007 intensified, Kpakol has also constituted his army too, they are called The Gberesaakoo Boys (GB) 8 Kpakol is not from Bodo. He hails from B-Dere, a neighbouring village of Bodo. So, Pidomson and Kpakol are political rivals, though in 2003 they worked together, to ensure the victory of the PDP in the area

Kenneth Kobani, political ambition is not yet know, some of his aides who spoke to this researcher said he wants to control PDP, some said he wants to contest for the position of the Federal House of Representative. Some said senate and some said he wants to be the next Deputy Governor of Rivers State.

8. “The Gberesaakoo Boys (GB) was founded around 2001, its membership is restricted within the Gokana Kingdom of Ogoni. It has over 200 members scattered in all Gokana villages. It leaders are said to be on the payroll of the Gokana council under Kpakol. Their initiations are always done with the administering of some fetish oath of allegiance to the gang and its aims. They are heavily armed with AK47 and dynamites and machetes. They derive their name from Gberesaakoo, the great Gokana warrior and king who lived hundreds of years ago.

The analysis is that, if Pidomson will go to the house again, it means that no person will occupy any elective position again apart from counselors, from Bodo. However, Kobani doesn’t want Pidomson to take the Bodo slot. He (Kobani) is now working with other forces such as the Gberesaakoo Boys of Kpakol and the Deebam to scuttle that ambition. Pidomson who also belong to a cabal in PDP membered by Hon. Olaka Wogu, a member of Federal House of Representative, Chief Austin Opara, Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives and others to advance their selfish political agenda.

Comrades, No More!

In April 2005, Hon. Kenneth Kobani, Odili’s Finance Commissioner, as a reward for the foot soldiers (thugs) who fought for their electoral victory in Bodo, and Gokana bought hundreds of motorbikes, popularly called Okada in Nigeria. To be distributed among the Deebam and Deewell, elements in Bodo and other Gokana villages, which rigged election in the country for the PDP. The Pidomson’s Deewell and JVC allegedly feel cheated in the sharing of these “dividends of democracy” (motorbikes). They later accused Kenneth Kobani of sharing it to only to Deebam cultists, while the Deewell were sidelined. A Squabble started over the sharing of the Okadas. In June 2003, the quarrel degenerated into a violent one and the Deebam launched a war. Mr. Son Vidoo, popularly called “Gowon” by his Deewell comrades was macheted to death, and his corpse deposited at the entrance to Kenneth Kobani’s country-home in Bodo. Inside sources told our researcher that the late Vidoo was in Vikintical code, an Axeman (intelligent officer) of the Deewell in Bodo.

In retaliation, Deebam’s “Baba (BB)” in KK’s code, meaning Boss, (Mr. Boniface Paago), was matcheted too. Two of his fingers were cut off and also sustained deep machete cuts on his body. That was the beginning of the war of attrition. The Deewell later declared total war on all Deebam in the community. The Deebam were later driven from Bodo. Kenneth Kobani reportedly spent over $3,000 in treating Boniface Paago. He provided accommodation for many of the Deebam exiles in Port Harcourt and housed some of them (Deebam) in his palatial house in G.R.A, Port Harcourt that was bombed recently by his suspected political rival(s) Grenades were detonated to the building and several cars and parts of the building were destroyed.

Deebam and Deewell Clashed outside Bodo

In September 2005, on the northern axis of Bodo, at Gbe, a small rural village in the Gokana Local Government area of Ogoni, Rivers State as a fall out of the Deebam/Deewell conflict in Bodo, clashed at a burial event of a prominent member of the community9. Two Deebam members from Bodo, one of them, a nephew of Kenneth Kobani lost his life. According to newspaper reports, the burial activities have reached its peak in the early hours of the morning around 2.00am, when a minor argument occurred between 2 members of Deebam and Deewell. It resulted into crisis and a shoot out ensued between the two some notorious gangs and 9 person (all cultists) lost their lives in a fierce gun battle. During the Deebam’s operations, they drink Chelsea, the alcoholic spirit and also take all sort of hard drugs mostly, Indian hemp their counterpart also drink Chelsea’s equivalent, called Squadron. The aim is to boost their morale during their violent campaigns. Any member of this community who drinks either Chelsea or Squadron without belonging to any of the cult group is attacked. In the community like other parts of Rivers State and beyond where these groups exist are doesn’t drink or sell them.

9. “Rumble in The Hinterlands; Ogoni Cults Clash – 9 persons Die”, The Midweek Telegraph newspaper September 14 –20, 2005, front page.
Blood Flows As Deebam Returns To Base

On Wednesday, July 19, 2006, the uneasy calm that reigned in Bodo since the exile of the Deebam was shattered, as in the early hours of that morning, the Deebam staged a war to return to their base (Bodo). Eyewitnesses told our researcher that the Deebam members arrived the communities around 2.00 am when the atmosphere was still blinded with patches of darkness. They were said to have arrived with several other Deebam members who are also non Ogoni, but come from Ikwerre, Ijaw and other areas that have witness similar violence around Rivers State. they were also said to have arrived with a an old man who is a voodoo (juju) priest from one of the Ogoni villages and hundreds of bullet two loaded in two wheelbarrow. They were fully armed with AK 47, sub-machine guns, long swords, charms and amulets tied to their wrists and incision on their bodies. As they arrived after several fetish sacrifices were performed, before they went after their unsuspecting Deewell rivals.

After the end of the operation which woke the community up from ominous slumber, the following were killed. Several of their corpses dumped in drinking water wells in the sprawling community. Those Deewell cultists killed are:

(1) Sinebari Vidume
(2) Raphael Akpee, a top commander of Deewell in the community
(3) Sinebari Deebee
(4) Temple Lucky Koli
(5) Biima Kootee
(6) Douglas Aanu Zabbey
(7) The 7th person was said to be a girlfriend of Raphael Akpee, she is said to be an Igbo girl. Her whereabouts is still unknown. All those killed above except the girl are all Deewell. The attack on Deewell positions and members occurred at a time when Hon. Pidomson, Gabriel Jnr, their sponsor went on the usual Rivers State House of assembly members holiday abroad. (He was in the United States when his boys (Deewell) were slaughtered. On hearing about the crisis, he cuts short his journey and returned to Nigeria.

A week after the clash, Pidomson and Kobani were summoned to the town square in Bodo for peace talk. Chief Fred Kpakol who is also accused of funding the Deebam’s operation in Bodo moderated the peace meeting. While Ledum mitee, the president of the Movement for Survival of the Ogoni (MOSOP), Mr. Magnus Abe, Odili information commissioner, Hon. Kenneth Kobani, Odili Commissioner of Finance and Hon. Pidomson Brother Pidomson, Jnr, amongst numerous others, were present. While, Kobani in his speech, openly denied any link with the Deebam, Pidomson was quoted to have said, “I am still mourning. Even just yesterday one (Deewell member) that was shot died again”.

An unending Macabre Dance?

On Saturday, July 29, 2006, worried by the senseless killings and show of raw violence by these cults (gangs) in the once peaceful and populous Ogoni community. The Bodo council of Chiefs in conjunction with the community’s vigilante called (Gbovinkodor) summoned the two warring groups for a truce, at the Bodo town square. They were warned not to carry any kind of arms by the convener (Bodo council of chief and Gbovinkodor) of the meeting. The kobani’s Deebam arrived at the meeting venue at 8.00am without their usual sophisticated weaponry, but the Pidomson’s Deewell came in with many AK 47s and opened fire on Deebam boys just as the meeting was about to commence. There was pandemonium and villagers and chiefs ran for safety as gun bark and bite ferociously. At the end of the shooting spree, the following laid lifeless on the floor. They are:

1. Aagbara Agava, a boy in his mid 20s, and strictly in KK (Deebam) terminology was said to be an “Agbo”, one who keeps the Deebam weapons of war. He was shot on his back and he died of bullet wounds on his way to hospital. His corpse has been deposited at the Bodo-City General Hospital.

2. One Friday, another Deebam member popular called “FRIYO” was shot dead and dragged on the group by Deewell cultists, while his intestine fell out on the ground. He was later abandoned. He was also in his mid 20s too.

While, Mr. Dornubari Nkpee, a man in his early 50s, an innocent man who neither belong nor support any of the cult groups, was on his way to fishing when he was hit by cultists’ stray bullet. He is receiving treatment in hospital outside the community. Many Deebam members also suffered several gun injuries.

Is Peace in Sight?

The recent killings have heightened tension again in the community. On Sunday, July 30, 2006, a day after the latest killings of Deebam members, Hon. Pidomson Jnr. Paid an unscheduled visit to section of the community closer to where the Deebam boys are camped called Ashawo market. To see Mr. Felix Zorbiradee, the principal of St. Pius X College, Bodo, who was recently appointed as a peace negotiator by the community. While he was there with Mr. Zorbiradee, information leaked to the Deebam that Pidomson was there. The driver of the black jeep that brought Pidomson drove away when he saw 3 motorbikes carry Deebam boys wielding sub-machine guns and AK47, he left Pidomson behind.

When Pidomson sensed troubled, he escaped into a mud house of an old woman called Mrs. Maloo. A woman in her mid 60s, poor Maloo will ever abide by the popular Bodo maxim that, “you don’t sent a strange away no matter the evil the stranger has committed when such person runs into your house”. There was tension, as Deebam chanted “Asawana” 10 they sang war songs passionately; the song goes, “who can battle with the Deebam (2 times). I say no body (2 times)”. With the help of some sympathic residents, Pidomson was smuggled out of the dangers zone unhurt, the Deebam later swung into action, and shot indiscriminately. They later vented their anger on the old woman’s door. They destroyed the entire door.

Pidomson later mobilized over 50 regular and mobile policemen to the area, who later invaded the area and arrested two innocent persons, who our researcher discovered don’t belong to any cult group. They are Kadubari Ngio and one Blessing. They are still held at the division police headquarter at Kpor, the headquarters of Gokana Local Government Area.

Will peace return soon? The struggle for political supremacy and relevance has polarized the Bodo community. The paramount ruler of Bodo, Chief Felix Sunday Berebon (Menebon Bodo (Vii) born on 1975 and some of his chiefs and some elites are accused of being on the payroll of Kenneth Kobani. 11

10. “Asawana”, is an Ijaw battle cry which militants in the Delta region of Nigeria use during their rallies and violent agitations. The word is just exclamatory.
11. Deebam members who spoke to our researcher revealed this.

While, the deputy paramount ruler of Bodo, Chief Barisi Kootee, the (Laboon) of Bodo, some chiefs, are also alleged to be on the payroll of Hon. Gabriel Pidomson Jnr.12 Also, there are some members of the community who are neutral and don’t want to be dragged into the Kobani or pidomson’s controversy.

The Deewell is camped at Pidomson’s compound at No 32, Porobunu Road in Bodo where illegal land mines are built around the entire compound. Pidomson, Snr. a former Biafran war veteran and father of Hon. Pidomson Jnr built the landmine. While, Kobani’s Deebam are camped at Bookolekari, on the outskirts of the town where they built a tent and camped.

12. Though, Mr. Kootee denied the allegation, but further investigations found it to be true.

What Is The Nigerian Police Up To?

The Nigerian Police have a division headquarters at Kpor, which division is supposed to oversee all the Gokana villages. Bodo is just few kilometers from Kpor. The police at Kpor told our researcher on Saturday, July 22, 2006, that there was peace in Bodo and nothing violent has happened, contrary to what people are saying that there are crises in the community. Also, on Saturday July 29, 2006, local and international journalists who interviewed the police at the Rivers State police headquarters in Port Harcourt quoted the police to have said that they are not aware of any killings or violence in Bodo 13. Our researcher also discovered that like other politicians in Gokana and other places in Nigeria do, the Bodo politicians (Kobani and Pidomson) give bribe regularly to the police in Kpor and at the headquarters for the Police to protect them at a time like this.

13. Ebiri, Kelvin, “Three Feared killed in Ogoni crisis” The Sunday Guardian newspaper, July, 30, 2006; and Ogundele, Bolaji, “Resumed Fighting claims three more lives in Bodo’ The Nigerian Tribune, Sunday, July 30, 2006.
The police there, are quite conversant with the situation in Bodo, and are merely protecting the bribes they take from these violent politicians. When the killings get to its peak they will visit Bodo and arrest innocent residents. 14

14. After Pidomson narrowly escaped being killed by the Deebam member, about 50 police believed to have been invited by Pidomson invaded the quite section of Bodo and arrested Mr. Nadubari Ngio and one Blessing. As usual with them, they will be released after paying a whooping sum of fifty thousand naira (N50,000) and above, to the police.
Refugee Crisis Heightens

Since the resurgence of the crises, both politicians (Kobani and Pidomson) have moved their families and relatives out of the community for fear of reprisals. Some who have relations in other cities in Nigeria, have moved to join them, while, those who don’t have, either migrate to other neighbouring Ogoni villages or those who can’t move, remain and sleep in churches in the community every night since the crisis began. Economic activities were also affected as shops and markets are closed as frightened villagers remained in doors all day.

“If they start shooting again, we shall pack out luggage and camp at Kpor police station or move to government house in Port Harcourt because they cause this problem” 15.

15. A 60-year-old fearless women spoke to our researcher and pleaded that his name should be mentioned in print, but to protect her from reprisal attack the researcher decided to keep her anonymous.
Taming The Crazy Gangs

For peace to return, the 2 sponsors of the gangs, Kobani and Pidomson must withdraw their support for these misguided cultists and criminals and withdraw the illegal arms and ammunitions in these illegal hands. In most case, after shooting, the cultists will pick the empty bullet cases, perhaps, somebody have advised them to do so, to avoid identification of the sources of the ammunitions. The Bodo gangs need to be disarmed and rehabilitated and their sponsors also need to face the law, so, as to serve as a deterrent to others. Investigations revealed that a lot of these gang members are in organized crime, and if eventually, they Bodo crises end, and the dangerous small Arms and light weapons (SALW) are not mopped, crime rate will heighten in the community and beyond.

In Nigeria, the law is made for the powerless and poor and not the rich crooked politicians of our time. The police need to be honest, transparent and law abiding and do their work and not to protect anyone who can brides them.

Guns Every Where

In conclusion, the Bodo tragedy is not an isolated case, as 2007 draw closer the various parts of the states will be witnessing scenes similar to that of Bodo. Because dangerous weapon, which are linked to the state government and their security agencies, are out of control and no one is safe.

SIME

Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development

(CEHRD)

Ogale- Nchia,

Eleme, Rivers State.

  8, 2006.

 

No.1      SIME

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

Chief Ngo Kpurugbara is the paramount ruler and head of the community.    He is     the highest authority in the community.  He presides over a fifteen – member council of Chiefs who are selected from the various family units in the community.

 

C.D.C.  There is a twenty- member community development committee (CDC) which                addresses development issues in the community.  Its members are selected by the council of chiefs based on certain criteria like honesty, good citizenship, community- centeredness (patorctism) .

There is a cordial relationship between the various leadership arms of the community.

FINANCE:  There is a common bank account and the community raises funds through levies.

YOUTHS:  There is a central Youth body called the Sime Youth council.  It functions along side about twenty-five Youth clubs.

WOMEN:  There is a central Sime women council, which also exist alongside about fifteen women clubs who meet mostly on Sundays.

AGE-GRADE:  There are age-grade associations in Sime.

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES: There are about nine registered farmers co-operative societies.

POPULATION:  The paramount ruler feels there are about twenty-five thousand persons in Sime.

OCCUPATION:  The major occupation of the people is farming.  They also do some fishing on a low scale.

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:  OMPADEC 1990s – Abandoned road construction project.

MPP3 2005 – Construction of Six Classroom block at primary school 1

(Partners ODF).

NDDC 2005 – Uncompleted Classroom block at Community Grammar School Sime.

FED GOVERNMENT 2002 – Water project constructed by the ministry of water Resources through the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA).

SELF HELP:  The community started the secondary school Construction which was later taken over and completed by the local government council.  The sime youth progressive Association embarked on the health center Project that was later completed by the local government council.  A women club, Dumdisi social club of Sime erected a bus stand for commuters.  Market stalls by YOUNG GIRLS social club

LGA:  Construction of a civic center 2006; construction of classroom blocks at primary school II, Renovation of the secondary school structures and provision of manual water pumps.

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:         There is electricity, two primary schools and one secondary school, a market and a town hall.

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  There has been a crisis between them and the Eteo people of Eleme LGA in 2001, which has been settled.

It was over land.  They are bounded by Eteo (Eleme LGA), Ogu (Ogu/Bolo LGA), Barayira, Nonwa Uedume, Ban-goi and Ebubu (Eleme LGA) communities.

SECURITY:  The paramount ruler guaranteed security of lives and property, following a recent written constitution and strict disciplinary measures that has been put in place.

REMARKS:  The current Executive chairman of the Tai local government council is from Sime.  In the past Sime Youths has had a reputation for theft.  They appear to have failed in maintaining the water project by NDBDA – It is not functional.  The paramount ruler did not tell us about the existence of this project, we found out ourselves on our way out of the Community.

CONTACT:

No .2

BARA – ALE

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

There is an over all paramount ruler who possesses the highest authority in the community.  He is chief Johnson Dabah.  There is a seven-member council of chiefs with whom the paramount ruler takes decisions.  There is a cordial relationship between the various leadership structures in the community.  The chiefs are chosen from the different family units and serve for a tenure of four years.  There are two major families in Bara-ale.

C.D.C  There is a community development committee (CDC).  It oversees all matters related to the development of the community.  Its  members are selected by the council of chiefs.  They have a three-year tenure.

FANANCE:  There is no common bank account. They raise funds through levies.

YOUTHS:  There is a Youth council called the Bara-ale Youth council.

 

WOMEN:  There is only one women club in Bara-ale.

 

AGE-GRADE:  There is no age-grade system.

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES:  There is one Farmers co-operative society.

POPULATION:  The population of Bara-ale is about one thousand persons.

OCCUPATION:  The people are predominantly farmers.

OIL INSTALLATIONS:  There is no oil well in the community.

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:  2005 – LGA manual water pumps.  There are no other visible projects of government, companies and NGOs in Bara-ale.

INFRASTRUCTAL DEVELOPMENT:  There is Electricity.  There is no town hall, no primary school; no secondary school, no health center and no market.

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  They live in harmony with their neighbours, there is no history of conflicts.  They are bounded by Barayira, Sime and Norkpo Communities

SECURITY:  Security of lives and property is guaranteed;

REMARKS:  Bara-ale is a very small community. They allege marginalisation and exclusion in the distribution of benefits from government.  There appears to be a limited supply of human capital to drive the community.

CONTACT:

SOURCE: C.D.C Chairman Chief Kabine Kariko

No. 3          BARAYIRA

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

Chief major P.K. Berebue (RTD) is the paramount ruler of the community.  He sits in council with a twenty-two-member council of chiefs.   The council of chiefs and elders is the highest decision making body in Barayira.  The chiefs are representatives of families and some area chiefs.

C.D.C:  There is an eleven-member community development committee which makes and implements development policies.

FINANCE:  There is no common bank account.  The people raise community funds through levies.

YOUTHS:  There a central Youth body, the Barayira Youth Association.

There are also about five youth clubs.

 

WOMEN:  There is an Apex women council and about three women clubs.

 

AGE-GRADE:  There about four age-grades in the community.  They contribute to the development of the community.

 

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES: There is no co-operative society in Barayira.

 

POPULATION:  The population of Barayira according to the CDC chairman is about eleven thousand persons;

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:  There is an oil location and camp belonging to SPDC (SHELL)

 

OCCUPATION:  The people are predominately farmers and traders.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:  1999 SHELL – Electrification project.  It was completed.  There are no NDDC, OMPADEC or NGO Projects.  There is a 2005 water borehole project by the Tai LGA.

 

SELF HELP: The Gboledum 1and 2 women group built a bus stand and a security post as self help projects.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:  There is electricity.  There is one primary school, no secondary school, no town hall, and no health center.  There is a small market.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  There is no history of violent conflicts.

There has always been a peaceful coexistence between them and their neighbours.  They are surrounded by Norkpo, Bara-ale, Sime and Nonwa Uedume Communities.

 

SECURITY:  Safety of lives and property is guaranteed.  They promised to provide a facility for the project.  There is a vigilante.

 

REMARKS:  Barayira appears to have a harmonious leadership structure.

I found out that there has been an enlarged meeting of all the leaders of the community shortly before our team arrived.  They however inflated their population figures.  It is not realistic.

 

CONTACT:  Chief Major P.K. BEREBUE 08063323231 (Paramount ruler).

SOURCE:  CHIEF MICHAEL PIAWA (Former paramount ruler)

CHIEF VINCENT AUNE (Chairman Council Chiefs).

 

 

 

 

 

No. 4          NONWA UEDUME

 

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

Chief Emmanuel  .N. Nyenenwa is the paramount ruler and possesses the highest authority in the community.  The paramount ruler and a twelve-member council of chiefs do decision-making.  There is cordiality between the paramount ruler, the council of chiefs and the C.D.C. Membership of the council of chiefs if for life.

 

C.D.C:  There is a twenty-one-member community development committee that oversees the development of the community.  The community by way of community divisional selection elects the CDC Members.  The community has three major divisions viz Dere, Kegba, and Tema.  The tenure of the C.D.C is three years.

 

FINANCE:  There is no common bank account.  They raise funds through levies.

 

YOUTHS:  The Nonwa Uedume Youth Council is the central Youth body, but there are many other Youth Clubs.

 

WOMEN:  There is a women council. It is called Nonwa Uedume women council.  It functions alongside many women clubs.

 

AGE GRADE:  The men form age grades, which for them are the men clubs.

 

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES: There is no co-operative society.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:  There is no oil installation.

 

POPULATION:  According to the paramount ruler, there is approximately thirty thousand persons in the community.

 

OCCUPATION:  The major occupation of the people is farming.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS: there is no SHELL Project a NDDC project.   There is an uncompleted MPP3 intervention project on the town hall (2004) no other NGO project.

 

SELF HELP:  The community market was constructed through self – help and supported by club 45 of Nonwa Uedume.  The primary school II was also initiated by community effort and later completed by the local government council in 2004/05.

 

INFRASTUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:  There are two primary schools and one secondary school, which they share with the Nonwa Tai (Kabara) and Gbam communities. There is a market and a Town hall still under construction.  There is no health center, not electricity and no water.  It is accessible by road.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  They live in peace with their neighbours.  No history of clashes with their neighbours. They are bounded by Sime, Barayira, Nonwa Kebara, Gbam, Ekporo (Eleme LGA) and Ogu  (Ogu/ Bolo LGA) communities.

 

SECURITY: There is a general atmosphere of peace.  There is a vigilante in place. They promised to provide a facility for the project.

 

REMARKS:  The manual water pumps which are functional in most Tai Communities we visited have gone bad in Nonwa Uedume maybe due to lack of proper maintenance.  Nonwa Uedume and Nonwa Kebara are the commercial nerve center of Tai LGA;

 

CONTACT:  Chief Emanuel Nyenenwa 008038719884 (Paramount ruler)

SOURCE:  Paramount ruler Nonwa Uedume.

 

 

 

 

No. 5          NONWA TAI  (KEBARA)

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

The paramount ruler of the community id chief Barikpe Mballey.

There is a council of chiefs to which the eighteen sub-divisions of the community send one representative each.  This makes it an eighteen- member council.  This is the highest decision making organ of the community.  There are eighteen autonomous sub-units in Nonwa Tai.

 

C.D.C:  The various sub-divisions (villages) nominate two representatives each to form a thirty-two-member community development committee.  The C.D.C is charged with the responsibility for development issues-electricity, roads, sanitation etc.  There is a cordial relationship between the different leadership structures in the community.

 

FINANCE:  There is no common bank account. They raise funds through levies.

 

YOUTHS:  There is a Youth council called NonwaYouth Council. They are the police of the community.  There are also many Youth clubs.

o:  There is a women council and many women clubs.

 

AGE GRADE:  There are no age grade associations in the community.

 

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES: There are no co-operative Societies.

 

POPULATION: In the CDC chairman’s estimation, there are more than twenty thousand persons in the community.

 

OCCUPATION:  The people are mainly peasant farmers.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:  There are about four oil wells and a pipeline belonging to SPDC in the community.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS: OMPADEC 1990s – Uncompleted cottage hospital project.

NDDC 2004 – Water project still under construction. NDDC also built a six-classroom block at the primary school III in 2005.  The state government is currently (2006) working on the secondary school relocation project.  There is no project by any NGO.

The Town hall project was initiated by the people but later completed by the LGA (2006) it has a two thousand-seater capacity.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:  There are three primary schools and one secondary school, which they share with Nonwa Uedume and Gbam communities.  There is a market and a town hall.  There is no electricity. There is also a police college and the NYSC orientation camp in Nonwa.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  They live in peace with their neighbours.

There is no history is of conflicts between them.  Bunu, Ban – goli, Sime, Gham, Barayira, Borobara, Kira and Nonwa Uedume communities, bound them.

 

SECURITY:  The community is peaceful. There is a vigilante in place.  The C.D.C Chairman promised to provide a place for the project.

 

REMARKS:  Nonwa Tai (Kebara) is a busy spot in Tai.  The people of Nonwa Kebara feel they are the authentic Nonwa people hence their jettisoning the name Nonwa Kebara and adopting Nonwa Tai.  They contend that the people of Nonwa Uedume are later settlers and should look for a name of their own.  They claim entitlement to any project that bears the name Nonwa.

 

 

No. 6          BOROBARA

 

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

The village head is chief Lucky Terry Tamzor.  He presides over a twenty-one-member council of chiefs and non-chiefs alike.  The chiefs are selected from different sub-divisions of the village called Zogon.  They have a three-year tenure. The chief-in –council is the highest decision making organ.

 

C.D.C:  There is a twenty-member Community Development Committee (CDC) in place.  The members are selected by a general election and for a four-year tenure.  They are in charge of development issues.

There is a harmonious relationship between the paramount ruler, the council of chiefs and the C.D.C.

 

FINANCE:  There is no common bank account.  They raise funds through levies.

 

YOUTHS:  There is a Youth council in place with a leadership.  There are about three Youth clubs.

 

WOMEN:  There is a women wing of the council of chiefs.  There are about three women clubs, which deliver social services.

 

AGE GRADE:  There are two age grades in the community.

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES:  There is only one Co-operative society in Borobara.

 

POPULATION:  There are approximately six thousand persons in Borobara.

 

OCCUPATION:  The people are predominantly farmers.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:  There is a pipeline but no oil wells in the community.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:  There are no OMPADEC, SHELL, FEDERAL. GOVT. and MPP3 Project.

1975, 2002, 2006: State government water project, completed.

2006 LGA- Construction of six classroom block at the primary school.

 

SELF HELP:  In 2004, women clubs viz Kumalooke club of Borobara and Dumdesi Club of Borobara embarked on health center project. It is still uncompleted.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:  There is one primary school.  There is water.

There is a dilapidated town hall.  There is no secondary school, no health Centre, no market and no electricity.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  They are peace-loving people. There is no history of clashes with any of their neighbours.  Nonwa Tai, Gbam, Korghor, Deeyor Kira, Kebara Kira and Bunu Communities surround them.

 

SECURITY:  Safety and security of lives and property is guaranteed.

They promised to provide a building for the project.

 

REMARKS:  Borobara is a central community in Tai; it has a reputation for being able to    resolve crises between any of the Tai communities.

They have a history of co-operating with other communities.  They contributed to the building of the secondary school at Kira, which was a joint effort by the Deenyor Kira, Kebara Kira, Kporghor and Borobara Communities.  They also contributed towards building the secondary school at Kporghor, which was a partnership effort by the Borobara, and Kporghor Communities.

 

CONTACT:  Chief Lucky Terry Tamzo. (Paramount ruler)

 

SOURCE:  Paramount ruler.

 

 

No. 7     KOROKORO

 

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

Chief Francis Dan-gbosi is the paramount ruler of the community.  There is an eleven-member council of chiefs.  The chiefs are selected from thee five kindreds in the community which are represented by one chief each.  The other six chiefs are drawn from the areas in the village. The kindred chiefs are for life while the other chiefs do not have a definite tenure.

 

C.D.C:  There is a thirty-man community Development committee (CDC).  They are in charge of the community’s development projects.

Their tenure of office is five years.

 

FINANCE: There is no common bank account.  They raise funds through levies and donations.

 

YOUTH:  There is a central youth body, the Korokoro Youth council.

There are about three youth clubs in the community.

 

WOMEN:  There is a women council.  It is called the Korokoro women council.  There are about thirteen women clubs.

 

AGE GRADE:  There is no age grade association.

 

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES: There are about six co-operative societies.

 

POPULATION: Their population is estimated at thirteen thousand persons.

 

OCCUPATION:  They are predominantly farmers.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:  There are thirteen oil wells, seven flow lines and one flow station belonging to SHELL in Korokoro.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:  DFRRI 1987/88 – Road construction. SHELL 1980s-water project; 1992- construction of six classroom block at Tua Tua community secondary school, 1992 – construction of bridge linking Kpite and Korokoro; 2006-Fencing of community dispensary.  OMPADEC 1994/5-Abandoned water borehole and electrification projects.  MPP3 2003/4-Abondoned primary school project.  LGA 1990s-Community dispensary; 2003-market project; 2005/6-Town hall project; 2002/3-Manual water pumps. No self-help project.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:  There are two primary schools and one secondary school; there is a town hall, a market and a health center. There is no electricity for now.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  They live in peace with their neighbours.  There was however a recent case of conflict in 2003 between them and Ueken community.  It has been resolved.  They are bounded by Kpite, Horo, Ueken, Koroma, Sogho (Khana LGA) Afam Oku  (Oyigbo LGA) and Afam Nta (Oyigbo LGA) Communities.

 

SECURITY:  Security of lives and property is guaranteed.  They promised to provide a building for the project.

 

REMARKS:  Korokoro is the seat and home of the Tai Monarch.   His Royal Majesty King G.N.K Gininwa (the Ghenemene Tai).

A highly respected traditional ruler; he has the reach and could be relied on for direction and necessary support for the realization of the objectives of the STAND project.  Korokoro is however situated on the boarders of Tai with Kpite and Ueken as their only close neighbours.

 

CONTACT:

 

SOURCE:  Paramount ruler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. 8            HORO

 

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

The paramount ruler of Horo is Chief Sunday Nkere.  There is a Six-member council of chiefs that assist the paramount ruler in decision-making.  The community selects the members of the council of chiefs and they serve for an indefinite period.

 

C.D.C:  There is a ten-man Community Development Committee (CDC) that co-ordinate the development of the community.  They serve for a period of five years.  There is a cordial relationship between the various leadership structures in the community.

 

FINANCE:  They do not have a common bank account.  They raise funds through levies.

 

YOUTHS:  There is a central youth council and one youth club in the community.

 

WOMEN:   There is a women council and one women club.

 

AGE GRADE:  There is no age-grade association in the community.

 

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES:  There is one co-operative society.

 

POPULATION:  There are about one thousand persons in Horo.

 

OCCUPATION:  Their major occupation is farming.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:  There is one oil well and pipelines belonging to SHELL.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS: L.G.A 2006- Town hall project. There is no SHELL project, no NDDC project, and no OMPADEC project. No MPP3 project, no federal government project, and no project by any NGO.  There is no self-help project either.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:  There is a Town hall and manual water pumps provided by the state government.  They share one primary school with Gbene-ue community.  There is no health center, no secondary school, no roads, no electricity and no market in the community.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  They are a peace loving people and do not have any history of conflicts with their neighbours. They are bounded by Kpite, Gbene-ue,  Koroma, and Korokoro communities.

 

SECURITY:  The community is safe.  They guaranteed security of lives and property.  They have a vigilante.  They promised to provide a building for the project.  They would want to enjoy the benefits of the project wherever it is sited.

 

REMARKS:  Horo is a small community with few inhabitants but it is on the transit route from Kpite and Korokoro to Gbene-ue Koroma and Botem Communities.  It is at the center of the Tua-Tua district of Tai.

 

CONTACT:

 

SOURCE:  Paramount ruler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. 9       GBENE-UE

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

Chief Martin Nkowa is the paramount ruler of Gbene-ue community.  He possesses the highest authority in the community.

There is a council of chiefs with whom the paramount ruler makes decisions.  It has ten members who are selected by the community for an indefinite period.

 

C.D.C:  There is a five member Community Development Committee (CDC) that pilots the development affairs of the community. Its life span is also indefinite. There is a cordial relationship in leadership relations in the community.

 

FINANCE:  There is no common bank account.  They raise funds through levies.

 

YOUTH:  There is a central youth body.  It is called Gbene-ue Youth council. There is no youth club.

 

WOMEN:  There is a women council and two women clubs

 

AGE GRADE:  There is one age-grade association in Gbene-ue.

 

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES:  There are two co-operative societies in the community.

 

POPULATION:  There are about four thousand persons in Gbene-ue.

 

OCCUPATION:  The major occupation of Gbene-ue people is farming.

 

OIL INSTALLATION:  There are about seven oil wells and pipelines belonging to SHELL.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS: MPP3, 2004-Health center project;

LGA 2006-Town hall project.  The people built the only primary school they have through self-help.

There is no SHELL, NDDC, Federal and state government projects in Gbene-ue.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:  There is one primary school, one health center and a town hall. There is no market, no water, no electricity, no secondary school and no roads.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  There is a peaceful coexistence between them and their neighbours.  There is no history of conflicts. Horo, Bunu, Botem and Koroma Communities surround them.

 

SECURITY:  Safety of lives and property is guaranteed. There is a vigilante.  They promised to provide a building for the project.

 

REMARKS: Gbene-ue is an average village.  It is somehow isolated but is located between Botem, Horo and Koroma communities

 

CONTACT:  08067975861 (C.D.C Chairman).

 

No. 10     NORKPO:

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE

Chief Augustine Amainikpo is the recognized paramount ruler.

He makes decision with an eight-member council of chiefs who are selected based on families. The chief-in-council is the highest authority in the community.

 

C.D.C:  There is a four-member Community Development Committee (CDC) that is responsible for directing the development affairs of the community.  They have an indefinite tenure; they are replaced when they fail to perform well.

 

FINANCE: The community has a common purse, but no bank account.

They raise funds from fines and levies.  They also get some income from the community’s economic trees.

 

YOUTHS: There is a central youth body, the Norkpo Youth council.  There are no youth clubs.

 

WOMEN:  There is no women council and no women clubs.

 

AGE GRADE:  There is no age grade association.

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES:  There is a farmer’s co-operative society in Norkpo.

PUPULATION:  There are about five thousand persons in Norkpo

OCCUPATION:  There is one Oil well belonging SHELL, and two Pipelines belonging to SHELL and NNPC respectively.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS: 1990s – abandoned OMPADEC road construction project.  2002- SHELL electrification project.

2005- completed water borehole project by LGA. No MPP3 project, no NDDC project, No NGO project.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:  There is electricity.  No town hall, no market, no primary school, no secondary school, and no health center.  There is no building to host the project.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  There is no history of conflicts with their neighbours. They live in peace with their neighbours. The Barayira, Sime, Bara-ale, and Ogu (Ogu/ LGA) communities surround them.

 

SECURITY:  There is an atmosphere of security of lives and property.

They have a vigilante group.

 

REMARK:  The Norkpo people appear to be accommodating.  They own the land where the Ogu people – their neighbours site their market-Norkpo is a small village; their population may be inflated.  There is an imminent chieftaincy tussle following the death of the former paramount ruler. One Paul Nkobaa Amanikpo, the eldest son of the deceased paramount ruler whose burial is tentatively fixed for next year, believes he is the rightful heir to his father’s throne, and has vowed to inherit the throne, after his father’s burial.  However he appears not to be acceptable to the people. The recognized paramount ruler Chief Augustine Amanikpo is his younger brother.  Paul Amanikpo actually confronted our guide from Bara-ale for taking us to his younger brother’s house.  He thought we were the group that was to come and clean up Ogoni villages. We cleared his misconception and he apologized and left.

 

CONTACT: Chief Augustine Amanikpo 0803672963 (Paramount ruler)

 

SOURCE:  MR. Paul Ndorbu (Youth chairman)

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. 11     GBAM

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

Chief Maxwell Nyor-ue is the paramount ruler of Gbam community.  He is a teacher and the secretary of the Tai council of Chiefs and Elders.  There is a ten-member council of Chiefs.

The council of chiefs is made up of representatives of the community development committee (CDC), the Youths and Compound /Family Chiefs.  It is the highest decision-making body.  There is cordial relationship between the various leadership structures.

 

C.D.C:  There is a community development committee (CDC), which is saddled with the responsibility for development issues.

 

FINANCE:  There is no bank account. They keep community funds with the treasurer.  They raise funds through levies.

 

YOUTHS:  There is a central youth body called Gbam Youth Council.  There are about four youth clubs.

 

WOMEN:  There is a Gbam Women Council and more than five women clubs.

 

AGE GRADE:  There are age- grade associations, which help in organizing social events.

 

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES:  There is one co-operative society.  It is called Gbam Lebula Co-operative society.

 

POPULATION:  There are about three thousand persons in Gbam.

 

OCCUPATION:  They are predominantly farmers.

 

OIL INSTALLATION:  There is a SHELL pipeline in Gbam.  There is no oil well.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:  2005-MPP3-health center project.  The Ogoni Development Foundation (ODF) was a partner.  2006 – LGA Town hall project.  NDDC uncompleted six classroom block at Gbam primary school.  There is no SHELL project, and no project by any other NGO.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:  There is a town hall, one primary school, one secondary school that they share with Nonwa Tai and Nonwa Uedume. There is one health center.  There is no electricity, water and good road.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  They live in peace with their neighbours.  There is no history of conflicts with their neighbours.  They are bounded by Kporghor, GIO, Nonwa Uedume, Nonwa Tai, Borobara, Ekporo (Eleme LGA) and Ogu (Ogu/Bolo LGA) communities.

 

SECURITY:  There is security guarantee.  There is a vigilante.

They promised to provide a building for the project.

 

REMARKS:  Gbam is in the central region of Tai.  However one cannot pass through Gbam to any other Tai village.  It is a small village.  There are no influential politicians or very wealthy persons in Gbam.  The paramount ruler invited the youth chairman to join in the discussion.

 

CONTACT:  Chief Maxwell Nyor-ue 0806489123 (paramount ruler).

 

SOURCE:  Paramount ruler.

 

 

 

No. 12          KEBARA KIRA

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

The paramount ruler of the community is chief Michael Bete Nyor.  He possesses the highest authority in the community.
There is a twenty-one–member council of chiefs with whom he makes decisions. The chiefs are chosen from lineages in the village and also head sections of the community.  They have three – year tenure but can be re-elected continuously.
C:D.C:  The Community has a  Community Development Committee (CDC) that is in charge of the day-to-day running of the development needs of the community.  They discharge their functions upon the directives of the council of chiefs.  The CDC has five members.  There is a cordial relationship between the various levels of authority in the community.
FINANCE:  There is no common bank account.  They intend to have one soon.  They raise funds through levies.
YOUTHS:  There is a Youth council called the Kabara Kira Youth Council.
There are also about ten youth clubs in the community.
WOMEN:  There is a women council called “Nee naa sua nua de yie dee sor”.  There are about eight women clubs.

 

AGE GRADE:  There is no age-grade association in Kebara Kira.

 

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES:  There are co-operative societies, but they are not registered.

 

POPULATION:  There are about six thousand persons in the community.

 

OCCUPATION:  The major occupation of the people is farming.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:  There is a pipeline belonging to SHELL.  There is no oil well.

 

HISTORY PROJECTS:  2006 an uncompleted LGA health center.  There is no project by SHELL, NDDC, OMPADEC, MPP3 or any other NGO.

SELF HELP: They built their secondary school and market through self-help. They have also started building a health center.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT: There is one secondary school, which they share with Deeyor Kira.  They also have two primary schools and a market.  There are manual water pumps.  There is no electricity, no town hall, and no health center.  They meet at the town square.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS: They live in peace with their neighbours. There is no history of conflicts. Bara-alue, Deeyor Kira, Borobara, Botem, Bunu and Nonwa Tai- communities bound them.

 

SECURITY:  There is safety of lives and property.  There is no vigilante but the youth ensure the security of the community.  They promised to provide a building for the project.  They are disposed to allowing others come in, and would also go to wherever the project is sited.

 

REMARKS:  Kebara Kira is the bigger of the two Kira communities.  It is the first settlement in Kira.  It is in the central region of Tai and is host to both MTN and CELTEL masts.  The people of Kebara Kira are alleged to have claimed absolute ownership of the secondary school, which the Borobara and Kporghor Communities partnered with them to build on their soil.  It was at Kebara Kira that our team was told of the existence of the village of Bara-alue.

The paramount ruler of Kebara Kira is a policeman.

 

CONTACT: Chief Michael Bete Nyor 08032650001 (paramount ruler).

 

SOURCE: Paramount ruler.

 

 

                             No. 13        BOTEM

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

 

The paramount ruler and head of the community is Chief Kobani. He sits in council with a council of Chiefs who are chosen from the various sections and kindred/lineages in the community. The Chief-in-council posses the highest authority and his tenure is for life. There is cordial relationship between leaders.

 

CDC:         There is a community development committee (CDC) which is usually set up by the paramount ruler. It is charged with the responsibility for development-related issues.

 

FINANCE:        The CDC has a bank account and a standing committee on finance which oversees revenue issues. They raise funds mostly through levies.

 

YOUTHS: There is a central Youth council called the Botem Youth council and four other subordinate youth councils representing the four sections of the community. There are over ten youth clubs.

 

WONMEN:       The women are equally organized under a women council and other women clubs/associations.

 

AGE-GRADE:  There is an age grade system mainly for adults.

 

COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES: There are some cooperative societies which are registered under the All Farmers Association of Nigeria.

 

 

 

POPULATION:         Their approximated population is fifteen thousand persons.

OCCUPATION:         Their major occupation is farming and petty trading.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:    There is a manifold and some oil wells belonging to SHELL in the community. There is also a SHELL pipeline.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:                 1993-OMPADEC access road construction. Abandoned after the construction of a bridge. 2003/2004-SELF HELP administrative block at community secondary school Botem. Environmental Rights Action (ERA – community resource centre (library), Micro Credit scheme. 2006 – MPP3, construction of forty market stalls-completed and now under community management. The partner NGO was Ogoni Development Foundation (ODF).

 

2006-NDDC, construction of six classroom block at community secondary school Botem completed. There is no SHELL project.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:         There are two primary schools and one secondary school in Botem. There is no electricity, but there are electric poles and cables and transformers in place. There is no Market, a town hall and a health centre, There is no Motorable access road. The only good source of water is manual pumps constructed by the state government and managed by the community.

 

SECURITY:      There are vigilante groups. The community head assured that there is security of lives and property. They promised to provide a facility (building) for the STAND project.

 

REMARKS:      There is a pervading atmosphere of tranquility in the community. We met one of the sons of the CDC Chairman having talks with the paramount ruler in his palace. There appears to be a harmonious relationship between the various leadership structures in the community. The paramount ruler equally confessed to having a cordial relationship with the political elite of the community. A number of the Rivers State House of assembly HON. JOHN BAZIA is from Botem.

 

RELETIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  They live in peace with their neighbours. No history of conflicts, wars. They are bounded by Gbene-ue, Horo and Kpite communities.

 

CONTACTS:    08063838198 (Chief Kobani’s residence) SOURCE: Paramount ruler.

 

 

 

No. 14   KPITE

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

The paramount ruler and head of the community is HRH Chief Sammuel L.A. Nnee FNIIMN. The Gbene mene Tua Tua Tai. He is a retired human resource manager of a company. He is the highest Authority in Kpite and presides over a twenty-six member Council of Chiefs. Kpite is the traditional headquarters of Tua Tua district of Tai.

 

CDC:         There is a community development committee (CDC) which is constituted by the Chief-in-council.       The CDC formulates and implements development policies in Kpte.

 

FINANCE:        There is no central bank account. They raise funds through levies and donations.

 

YOUTHS: There is a Central Youth Council called the Kpite Youth Association. There are about six Youth clubs that are socially oriented.

 

WOMEN:          There are a Central Kpite women Association and other women groups that are well organized.

 

AGE GRADE:  There are Age grade associations that perform some social services in the community.

 

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES: There are six Co-operative Societies known to the paramount ruler.

 

POPULATION:                   According to the paramount ruler their population is between forth and fifty thousand persons.

 

OCCUPATION:         Kpite people are predominantly farmers and traders.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:    There are four oil wells and a pipeline belonging to SHELL in Kpite.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:       In the 1990s, OMPADEC started and abandoned a water project. It was later completed by the Federal government through its agency Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA) 2001-SHELL provided electricity to the people and also partnered with others to build a health Centre. No NDDC project. SELF HELP- the Kpite people have on their own built a postal Agency and a market.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:         There are three primary schools and one secondary school in the community. There is a Tarred access road. There is no electricity. There is a town hall, and manual water pumps.

 

SECURITY:      We were given an assurance of adequate security, and a house to host the STAND project.

 

RELETIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  There is no history of violence with their neighbours. They share common boundaries with Botem, Horo, Korokoro and Deken (Gokana L.G.A.) communities.

 

REMARKS:      Kpite is perhaps the most elitist of the Tai communities. It parades some of the most influential politicians in the area. The paramount rulers palace is hooked to the internet, he is powered by Boarder telecoms. He is IT literate. The population figure given above is grossly inflated.

 

CONTACT:       08035091879, 08037655839 (paramount ruler)

Email:         sammuelnnee@yahoo.com

SOURCE: Paramount ruler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. 15        BARA-ALUE

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

Chief Clement Gbenegbara is the paramount ruler of Bara alue. There is a five-member Council of Chiefs who are selected based on the compounds in the village. The paramount ruler determines the tenure of office for the council of Chiefs.

 

C.D.C:       There is a one-man community development committee. He is in charge of development related issues in the community. He is supervised by the council of Chiefs. The Chiefs also decide when to terminate his office. There is harmony in the running of affairs in the community.

 

FINANCE:        There is no common bank account. They hope to have one soon. They raise funds through levies.

 

YOUTHS: There is a Youth council and one youth club in the community.

 

WOMEN:          There is a central women council and about five women clubs.

 

AGE-GRADE:  There is one age-grade association in the community.

 

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY:    There is no cooperative society in the community.

 

POPULATION:         Their population is estimated at five hundred persons.

 

OCCUPATION:         The people are predominantly farmers.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:    There are two pipelines belonging to SHELL and NNPC in the community. There are no oil wells.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:       There is no project by any agency or government in the community. The people are trying to build a primary school through self help. It is uncompleted.

 

INTRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:         There are no schools, electricity and no motorable road in the community.

 

RELETIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  There is peaceful coexistence between them and their neighbours. There is no history of conflicts with their neighbours. They are bounded by Bunu, Kebara Kira, Botem and Borobara communities.

 

SECURITY:      There is adequate security of lives and property. There is no vigilante. They are free. They are willing to provide a building for the project. They are ready to participate in the project no matter where it is sited.

 

REMARKS:      Bara-alue is a very small community. It was not listed in the initial twenty-one villages we were given but we have found out that they are an autonomous community like all others. They complain of exclusion in the distribution of infrastructional development. There is a chieftaincy tussle in the community. There are two paramount rulers; however the name of Chief Clement Gbenegbara was given to us by the paramount ruler of Kebara Kira. He appears to be the authentic paramount ruler.

 

CONTACTS:    Chief Clement Gbenegbara  08068739503                                  (paramount ruler)

SOURCE: Paramount ruler and Chief Paul Kerege (Deputy paramount ruler).

 

 

 

No. 16   UEKEN

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

The paramount ruler of the community is Chief Loveday Nudam. There is a twelve-member Council of Chiefs. They are appointed by the paramount ruler. They do not have a specific tenure. They exist at the mercy of the paramount.

 

C.D.C:       There is a twenty-five-member community Development Committee (CDC) headed by Chief Hon. David Gbaranwi. The C.D.C is saddled with the responsibility for development projects in the community. The tenure of office for the C.D.C. members is five years.

 

FINANCE:        There used to be a common bank account which was closed due to an eight-year Chieftency tussle that was resolved last year, 2005. They raise funds through levies.

 

YOUTHS:          There is a central Youth body. It is called the Ueken Youth Council. There is also in existence about five youth clubs.

 

WOMEN:          There is a women Council-Ueken Women Council-and about three women Clubs.

 

AGE_GRADE: There are three age grade associations in the village.

 

COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES:           There is no cooperative society in Ueken.

 

POPULATION:         The C.D.C. Chairman claimed there are about eighty thousand persons in Ueken.

 

OCCUPATION:                   They are predominantly farmers.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:    There are three oil wells and a pipeline belonging to SHELL.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:                 2001, State government manual water pump project, 2005, LGA health Centre project. There are no other projects either by SHELL, NDDC, OMPADEC, Federal government MPP3 or any other NGO. They built their first primary school through self help.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT: There are manual water pumps, two primary schools, a health center, and a small market. There is no secondary school, no town hall, no roads and no electricity.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS: At the moment there is a peaceful coexistence between them and their neighbours. In 2003, there was a conflict between them and the Korokoro Community. It has been resolved. Korokoro, Sogho (Khana LGA), Kaani (Khana LGA), Yeghe (Gokana LGA), Deken (Gokana LGA) and Kpite communities surround them.

 

SECURITY:      The C.D.C Chairman assured us of safety of lives and property. They also promised to provide a building for the project.

 

REMARKS:      The Ueken people grossly inflated their population. It is an average village settlement. It is however the oldest of all Tai villages. They Concealed information on their conflict with Korokoro but we were told of it at Korokoro. There still exists in the village the Ghost of the Chieftency crisis claimed to have been resolved.

 

CONTACT:       Chief Loveday Nudam 08037465412                                                         (paramount ruler) Chief Hon. David Gbaranwi                                08037495997 (C.D.C. Chairman) ANORDUM                                   Dimkpa 08066654663 (Youth president).

 

SOURCE: CDC Chairman and Youth president.

 

 

No. 17   KOROMA

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

Chief Hon. Sunday Nsanen is the paramount ruler of Koroma. He possesses the highest authority in the community. There is a Council of Chiefs that are selected from the various families in the Community. There are thirty-two chiefs in the Council and they serve on the council for five years.

 

C.D.C:       There is a community Development Committee whose present members have not been inaugurated. There is a harmonious relationship between the various leadership structures in the community.

 

FINANCE:        There is no common bank account. They raise funds through donations and levies.

 

YOUTHS: There is a Koroma Youth Council which is the central youth body in the community. There are also about fifteen youth clubs.

 

WOMEN:          There is no women Council, but there are about five women clubs.

 

AGE-GRADE:  There is no age-grade association.

 

COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES:  There are about fifteen cooperative societies.

 

POPULATION:         Their population is put at about thirty thousand persons.

 

OCCUPATION:         Their major occupation is farming.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:    There are pipelines belonging to SHELL and some oil wells that have not been drilled.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:       SHELL 1980s-Kpite-Koroma-Afam road (now bad); 2001 completed electrification project.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (NDBDA) 2000-ababdoned water project. NDDC 2006-Completed Nonwa-Bunu-Koroma road project. L.G.A. 1994, 2005-Completed health centre.

STATE Government- construction of one primary school and one secondary school.

 

INFRACTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:         There are two primary schools and one Secondary school. There is a health centre without equipment, and an uncompleted Town hall. There is no electricity, no water and no market.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS: They are at peace with their neighbours. There is no recent history of conflicts with any of their neighbours except in the 1970s when they had a clash with their Egbelu Neighbours. They are bounded by Bunu Gbene-ue, Horo, Korokoro, Afam (Oyigbo LGA) and Egbelu (Oyigbo LGA) communities.

 

SECURITY:      There is security of lives and property. There is no standing vigilante. They promised to provide a building for the project.

 

REMARKS:      Koroma is on the boarders of Tai. Apart from Gbene-ue and Bunu, it is relatively a long way from other Tai communities. The paramount ruler of Koroma is a cooperative minded man, he is also a member of the police public relations committee, and he assured our team that strategic security measures are in place in the community. The immediate past executive Chairman of Tai LGA, Chief Hon. Barry Mpigi is from Koroma. They seem to have failed in Maintaining Manual water pumps that were installed in the community. They have all gone bad.

 

CONTACT:       Chief Sunday Nsanen 08035454865                                                          (Paramount ruler)

 

SOURCE:          Paramount ruler.

 

 

 

No. 18   BUNU

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

The Paramount ruler of Bunu is Chief Timothy. K.L. Oeberi. He has a thirty-two man Council of Chiefs with whom he makes decisions. The Chiefs are selected from hereditary stools and families in the community. They serve   as members of the council of life but change the members of their executive every four years.

 

C.D.C:       There is a twenty-four-man Community Development Committee, (CDC) that coordinates the development projects in the Community. They have four year tenure. There is cordial relationship in the leadership.

 

FINANCE:        They do not have common bank account. They raise funds through levies and donations.

 

YOUTHS:          The Bunu Youth Council is the central Youth body in the Community. They also have about ten Youth clubs.

 

WOMEN:          There is a women Council with about fifteen women clubs.

 

AGE-GRADE:  There are about six age-grade associations.

 

COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES:  There are about seven cooperative Societies in Bunu.

 

POPULATION:             The population of Bunu is about thirty-two thousand, five hundred persons.

 

OCCUPATION:                   Their major occupation is farming.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:    There are about fifteen oil wells in Bunu but only three have been drilled. There is a pipeline belonging to SHELL.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:       2003-Federal government uncompleted water project (NDBDA). 2005-NDDC uncompleted six classroom block at the Secondary school. 2005-LGA completed fifty market stalls project. Manual pumps installed by state government are now bad. There is no SHELL, MPP3 or any other NGO projects in Bunu. The people through self help built one secondary school and six primary schools.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:         There are six primary schools and one secondary school. There is a Market and a dilapidated health centre. There is no water, no Town hall and no electricity.

 

RELATIOSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:     They live in peace with their neighbours. There is no history of conflicts with any of their neighbours. They are bounded by Koroma, Ban-ogoi, Borobara and Nonwa Tai Communities

 

SECURITY:      They have a very active security arrangement under the supervision of the Youth leader. Safety of lives and property is guaranteed.

 

REMARKS:      Bunu is the largest and most populous community in Tai. The School-to-land project of the Rivers State government is located in Bunu, it occupies a large expanse of land. Bunu is the only community that is nearest to Ban-ogoi which is another relatively large community. The CDC Chairman who fielded questions from our term was sometimes under pressure by some villagers who were around but always refused to give us any false information.

 

CONTACTS:    Chief Timothy. K.L. Oeberi 08060622678 (Paramount                              ruler) ASEPIE DAVID 08065887917 (C.D. C                                 Chairman).

 

SOIRCE:  C.D.C. Chairman, Youth leader and some villagers present.

 

 

 

No. 19   BAN-OGOI

 

LEASDERSHIP STRUCTURE:

The paramount ruler of Ban- Ogoi is Chief Godfrey Nwakor. There is a Council of Chiefs that assists him in making decisions. There are eight chiefs on this council who are selected from the families in the community and serve for an indefinite period.

 

C.D.C:       There is a twelve-member Community Development Committee (CDC) which has three year tenure. They are selected by the villages, and work under the authority of the paramount ruler and the council of Chiefs. There is a cordial relationship between the various leadership structures in the Community.

 

FINANCE:        There used to be a common bank account, but it had ceased to exist. They raise funds through levies.

 

YOUTHS: The Ban-Ogoi Youth Council in the Central Youth body in the community, but there are about ten youth clubs.

 

WOMEN:          There is a central women council. It is called Ban-Ogoi women Council.  There are also about ten women clubs.

 

AGE-GRADE:  There are over twenty age-grade associations in Ban-Ogoi.

 

COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES:           There are two registered cooperative societies.

 

POPULATION:         Their population is estimated at about twelve thousand, five hundred persons.

 

OCCUPATION:         The Ban-Ogoi people are predominantly farmers.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:    There are six oil wells and two pipelines belonging to SHELL in Ban-Ogoi.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:       2004-MPP3 completed market project (50 market stalls); 2003 L.G.A. installation of manual water pumps, 2005 L.G.A. Construction of Health center project; 2006 NDDC construction of six classroom block at Community Secondary school Ban-Ogoi, The people built two primary schools and one secondary school through self help. No SHELL project.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:         There are two primary schools and one secondary school. There is a market and a health centre. There is no electricity and no town hall.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS: They enjoy a peaceful coexistence with their neighbours. There is no recent history of conflict with any of their neighbours. They are bounded by Bunu, Nonwa Tai, Nonwa Uedume, Sine, Ebubu (Eleme LGA), Ogale (Eleme LGA), Egbelu (Oyigbo LGA), Ayama Ndoki (Oyigbo LGA) Okoloma-Afam (Oyigbo LGA) and Obuama (Oyigbo LGA) Communities.

 

SECURITY:      They have adequate security measures in place to guarantee safety of lives and property. There is no standing vigilante. The Youths themselves ensure the security of the community. They promised to provide a building for the project.

 

REMARKS:      Ban-Ogoi has more neighbours from other local government areas than from Tai. They are far away from other Tai communities. There is a sense of trust and harmony between the paramount ruler and his subjects. As soon as our team arrived his premises, he cunningly sent for the speaker of the Council of Chiefs and chairman of the C.D.C. to come to his house, and they stylishly came in on us.

 

CONTACTS:    Chief Godfry Nwakor 08067490246                                                          (paramount ruler)

Chief Ebenezer Kpininwa 08077826143                                           (spokesman)

Prince Evans Nwaninor 08036908855 (CDC                                   Chair)

 

SOURCE: Paramount ruler, spokesman Council of                                      Chiefs and C.D.C. Chairman.

 

 

 

No. 20          DEEYOR KIRA

 

LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE:

 

Chief Ndinen Charles is the paramount ruler of Deeyor Kira. There is a Council of Chiefs with members selected from the individual areas of the community. The Council of Chiefs has eleven members whose tenure is indefinite.

 

C.D.C:       A forty-man Community Development Committee (CDC) oversee the development issues of the community. They have two-year tenure. There is harmony between the paramount ruler, his Council of Chiefs and the C.D.C.

 

FINANCE:        There is no common bank account. They raise funds through levies.

 

YOUTHS: There is a Youth Council that is the Central Youth body in the community it is called Deeyor KiraYouth Council. There are also eight Youth clubs.

 

WOMEN: There is a Deeyor Kira women Council and about ten women clubs.

 

AGE-GRADE:  There are four age-grade associations in the community.

 

COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES:  There is no cooperative society in the community.

 

POPULATION:         Their population is estimated at about six thousand persons.

 

OCCUPATION:         Their major occupation is farming.

 

OIL INSTALLATIONS:    There is a pipeline belonging to SHELL. There is no oil well in the community.

 

HISTORY OF PROJECTS:       LGA-uncompleted health centre project. There is no other state government project in the community.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT:          They share primary and secondary schools with Kebara Kira. There is an uncompleted town hall project (community initiative). There is no market of their own, no electricity and no water.

 

RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURS:  They live in peace with their neighbours. There is no history of conflicts between them and any of there neighbours. They are bounded by Kebara Kira, Boro Bara, Gio, Kporghor and B. Dere (Gokana LGA) Communities.

 

SECURITY:      There is safety of lives and property in the community. The youth provide security for the community.

 

REMARKS:      Deeyor Kira is in the Central region of Tai, as Borabara Kebara Kira and Gbam Communities. They share a lot of things with Kebara Kira and are almost like an appendage of that community

 

 

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The IDASA – STAND project has a bright prospect of success in Tai local government Area. Tai Local government area is like an oasis in terms of the relative peace that pervade the various communities in the area in relation to what obtains in the neighbouring local government areas and elsewhere in Rivers State. The entire Tai is seemingly insulated from the incidence and impact of the ugly phenomenon of secret cults and gangster groups.

 

In virtually all the communities we visited, the issue of security of lives and property is seen and treated with the sense of a

shared responsibility. On the whole, inter and intra community relationship could easily be described as harmonious and at a satisfactory level.

 

Besides, the communities in Tai are generally poor rural communities with little or no infrastructural development. They are mostly small communities with small populations. There is need for joint effort and partnership between the communities in order to accelerate the development of the various communities.

 

Tai Local government area has two broad sections- the Tua Tua, Kingdom and the Barasi Nonwa Kingdom. These two sub kingdoms are under the overall Tai kingdom which is headed by the absolute monarch (The Gbene mene Tai).

 

In the course of our visits we discovered that these geopolitical sections have not in any way divided the people of Tai. There is a harmonious interrelationship between the paramount rulers across the length and breath of the area. This sense of unity and harmony is further enhanced by the leadership style of the executive chairman of Tai local government Council. Chief Hon. Dr. Jacobson Mbina. He has spread his development projects in such a way that virtually all the communities have had to benefit one way or the other from his administration.

 

To effectively locate the project, we suggest that the issue of centrality should be considered so as to cushion the effects of heavy cost of transportation on the beneficiaries who are mostly the rural poor. In the course of our visits and from the responses we got, we found out that the central communities in Tai are the two communities of Kira, the Borobara community and Gbam community. Of these Kebara Kira and Borobara are most central to others.

 

However, Borobara tends to be less susceptible to political party tensions than Kebara Kira, but the ability of these communities to provide a Building for the project beyond mere promise has to be ascertained before commencement.

 

Borobara, Gbam and the two Nonwa villages are also central to the communities in the Bara si Nonwe axis of Tai.

 

In the Tua Tua axis, the small village of Horo is the most central. Other communities that could fit the location of the project in Tua Tua axis are Korokoro and Botem.

 

There is also the issue of village clusters which exist in Tai, Thee are four major clusters-Ueken, Korokoro, Horo, Kpite, Botem and Gbene-Ue Cluster; Kporghor, Gio Gbam, Kebara Kira, Deeyor Kira, Bara-alue, Borobara cluster; Bunu, Ban-Ogoi, Koroma, Nonwa Kebara, cluster; and Sime Bara-ale, Barayira, Norkpo, and Nonwa Uedune cluster.

 

The first two clusters could be merged somehow into one cluster while the last two clusters could also be merged into one cluster. However, the issue of distance will somehow plague such an arrangement.

 

On the issue of maintaining and sustaining the project after the initial two years, it is doubtful whether any of the Tai communities can singularly do this. To guard against any possible failure of the project, we sincerely suggest that a sort of partnership arrangement should be brokered between the communities that would be involved in the project as a way of fostering joint ownership and responsibility to the project among the communities. To achieve this a memorandum of understanding should be developed to facilitate such joint ownership.

 

Finally, the following communities strategically fit our recommendation for the location of the project; they are Borobara Botem, Bunu, Horo, Nonwa Kebara, Kebara Kira, Gbam and Korokoro. This should not in any way prejudice your judgments based on our community by community report.

Oil and livelihoods in the Niger Delta

IMPACTS OF OIL POLLUTION ON LIVELIHOODS IN NIGERIA1
By
Nenibarini Zabbey
Head, Conservation
Rivers State, Nigeria. (zabbey1@yahoo.com)
INTRODUCTION
“The number of registered oil spillages is increasing…Depending on the area, oil
pollution could cause adverse impact on people (water quality), vegetation
(smothering mangrove trees, crops, shore vegetation and fauna (fish, shellfish, soil
fauna). This is demonstrated in several post impact studies on the recent or old spill
sites. The 25 year old ‘mystery spill’ of the trunkline in the Ejama-Ebubu caused
during the Civil War is a well-known – but not sufficiently studied yet – example”.
SPDC, Nigeria (1993)
I, deliberately, chose to start with the above excerpts from Shell
Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) Handbook of 1993
because, qualitatively, it highlights to some extent, the degree of
disempowerment and frustrations that oil production had and is still
causing the peoples of oil and gas-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
Above all, it exposes the extent of corporate negligence being
perpetrated by the oil and gas based multinational corporations who
delight in neglecting their primary social and corporate responsibilities
towards the host communities. After thirty-nine (39) years since the
Ebubu-Ejama (located at Eleme in the Ogoni speaking area of Rivers
State, Nigeria) oil spill incident, the spill site still remains a very sorry
sight to behold, inadequately studied, and incredibly unclean.
Available records indicate that, the Niger Delta region of Nigeria
experiences on the average 273 oil spills resulting to about 115,000
barrels of crude oil worth US$5.64 million (valid the current rate of
US$49 per barrel) spilled annually from 1976-2001, making the region
most vulnerable to oil spill than anywhere else in the world. These spills
and other environmental threats associated with oil production in the
region, tremendously, impact on the fundamental rights to existence of
local communities. This is, especially, so when we consider the fact that
their normal sources of sustainable livelihoods are continually being
disrupted by these structures coupled with the lack of the relevant
legislative backings required to protect them from these man-made

1
Paper presented at the conference on “Petroleum and Pollution – how does that impact
human rights? Co-organized by Amnesty International, Forum Syd and Friends of the Earth,
Sweden. At Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden, 27
th April, 2009.
2
environmental destructions and degradations with their associated social
exclusion.
This paper discusses the magnitude of oil pollution and oil-related
environmental damages in the Niger Delta. Attempt is also made herein
to highlight the nexus between oil production and rights violations, and
how accumulated years of oil-induced frustrations and neglects have
deepened insecurity and crises in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Ultimately, it
challenges the European Union (member countries) to evolve deliberate
schemes for stricter monitoring of their Trans-National Oil Corporations
(TNCs) operating in Nigeria with regard to environment friendly
operations and best practices as is applicable in the industry elsewhere
around the global community. Thus, provision of platforms that will
enable communities whose rights have been violated to have access to
justice, through the EU Countries’ arguably fairer justice system is a
minimum demand passionately recommended.
OIL PRODUCTION IN NIGERIA
It is no news that Nigeria is one of the leading oil producers in the World
(the 9th), and that the fragile Niger Delta region is the seat bench (or
hub) of oil and gas production of the country. Presently, 90% of
Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) comes from revenues accruing
from crude oil sales. The country operates a joint venture with the
TNCs. The government, through the Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC), owns 55% share in the Joint Venture; SPDC 30%,
ELF Petroleum Nigeria Limited (a subsidiary of TotalFina) 10% and Agip
5%. Table 1 below shows the physical presence of the oil industry in the
Niger Delta. As at 2005, Nigeria’s daily production of crude oil reached
2.2 million barrels (b.p.d.) and was still on the increase. In recent times,
however, production rates keep fluctuating due to insecurity occasioned
by threats of local militias in the delta.
3
Table 1: The physical presence of the oil industry in Nigeria.
1) Land area within which the networks of pipelines are located 31,000 km
2
2) Number of oil wells drilled 5,284
3) Number of flow-stations 257
4) Length of main oil and gas pipelines in the region (flowlines
between oil wells and flow-stations not included) 7,000km
5.) Number of export terminals
6). Number of communities hosting oil/gas facilities
10
1,500
Source: After Steiner (2008)
NIGER DELTANS: WHAT DO THEY LIVE ON?
The rich alluvial soil of the delta coupled with copious web of fresh and
salt-water bodies provide the necessary incentives for the people who
are, predominantly, farmers and fishers. Loubser (1995) defined
livelihood as the totality of means by which people secure a living, have
or acquire in one way or another, the requirements for survival and the
satisfaction of needs as defined by the people themselves in all aspects
of their lives. According to the UNDP (2006) Niger Delta Human
Development report, the environment is very important for the Niger
Delta people where 60% of the population depends on the natural
environment – living and non-living – for livelihoods. The degree of
dependency upon one livelihood structure or the other will be a
determining factor for how a household is affected when the proceeds
from that activity are blocked. Regardless of the conditions that tend to
limit the socio-economic opportunities available to a large proportion of
the population, people will, out of necessity, look for means to ensure
their survival needs are met (Olawoye, 2000).
FREQUENCY OF OIL SPILLAGE IN NIGERIA
According to Steiner (2008), oil spills in the Niger Delta have been
extensive, difficult to assess (?) and often under-reported. In my
opinion, one uncomplimentary value shared by the bulk of oil companies
operating in Nigeria is the deliberate under-reporting of the actual
environmental impacts of such oil spills, especially those resulting from
equipment failures, in terms of volume of crude oil spilled into the
already fragile and over-stretched ecosystem. Government and the
operating companies maintain their own data on spills but these cannot
be considered reliable as both the government and operators seek to
limit their legal liability for commensurate claims and compensations
from oil spill damage (Steiner, 2008). In worst cases, oil spillages in the
4
delta are never reported or merely branded minor without minimum
post-spill containment, recovery and remediation responses.
Recordes between 1976 and 2001 alone indicate that 6,817 oil spills
occurred in Nigeria resulting in the loss of approximately three million
barrels of oil (UNDP, 2006). This represents an average of 273 oil spills
and 115,000 barrels/year spilled in the Niger Delta during the
aforementioned period. However, Shell’s report for the period 1990-
2007 has it that a total volume of 284,000 barrels of oil were spilled or
about 28,000 barrels were spilled/year. In a related report by
IUCN/CEESP (2006), it was shown that between 9 and 13 million barrels
of oil were spilled into the Niger Delta ecosystem over the past 50 years.
Some notable oil spills recorded in Nigeria include Bomu 11 oil well
blowout (1970), GOCON’s Escravos spill (1978), Forcados Terminal
Spillage (1980), Oyakama pipelines spill (1980), Texaco Funiwa 5 blow
out in (1980), Abudu Pipeline Spill (1982), Ikata Pipeline Spill (1984),
Okoma Pipeline Spillage (1985) and Oshika Pipeline Spill (1993), the
massive Oloibiri Well 14 oil spill (2004), and very recently, Bodo oil spills
(August 2008 and February 2009) and K. Dere spill (April 2009) – I
chose to refer to the latter spill as SPDC ‘Easter Gift’ to the Ogonis
because while others were celebrating Easter this year, the Ogoni
people of K. Dere were running helter shelter to escape the deadly flame
from Bomu flow station which exploded on Easter eve.
OTHER SOURCES OF OIL CONTAMINATION IN NIGERIA
1. Discharges from nearshore operations.
2. Urban and industrial effluents discharge.
3. Ballast water from oil tankers.
4. Accidental spills during loading.
5. Equipment failure at loading sites.
OIL POLLUTION IN NIGERIA: DOES IT REALLY MATTER
GLOBALLY?
Situating country-specific oil pollution within the context of global
concerns, I have noticed an unfortunate trend of lopsided priorities.
Apparently, it seems the rate of attention given to oil spills on the global
scale depends greatly on the place of occurrence. For instance, Exxon
Valdez Spill (260,000 barrels) of 1989 is highly referenced, probably,
because it occurred in the United States, whereas there are numerous
spills of higher magnitude than the said Exxon Valdez oil spill (that is, in
terms of volume spilled, sensitivity of impacted ecosystem, etc), that
5
had occurred in underdeveloped countries but are, rarely, considered as
bench marks. Cases in point for Nigeria include the GOCON Escravos
spill of 1978 (300,000 barrels), Forcados Terminal tank failure of 1978
(580,000 barrels) and the Texaco Funiwa 5 blowout of 1980 (400,000
barrels) yet, with such untold devastation to plants, birds, fisheries
resources and ultimately livelihoods of the people no serious attention
was paid to their impacts till date.
IMPACT OF THE OIL INDUSTRY ON THE ENVIRONMENT
The Niger Delta is densely populated by about 20 million people. The
density in the region continues to expand as oil operators recklessly
occupy available lands, and as people, often times, are forced to migrate
when hitherto residential areas become uninhabitable due to industrial
mess. Oil exploration by seismic companies involves surveying, clearing
of seismic lines and massive dynamiting for geological excavation
(seismic testing). A thorough review of the environmental impacts of the
oil industry in Nigeria would take up an entire book! This is because,
virtually, every aspect of oil exploration and exploitation has deleterious
effects on ecosystem stability and local biodiversity – which the peoples’
livelihoods depend upon (Zabbey, 2005). Thus, UNEP (2006) summed
the impacts of Oil spill in the Niger Delta as follows:
1. High mortality of aquatic animals
2. Impairment of human health
3. Loss of biodiversity in breeding grounds
4. Vegetation hazards
5. Loss of portable and industrial water resources
6. Reduction in fishing and farming activity
7. Poverty, rural underdevelopment and bitterness
Extensive mangrove area in the delta have been converted for one form
of oil facility or the other, or degraded by oil pollution. The Niger Delta
boasts of the largest mangrove belt in Africa and the fourth largest on
the world scale. Mangroves provide coastal communities 46 ecosytem
goods (seafood, fuel wood, dye, stakes, etc) and 9 ecological services to
other productive ecosystems (such as coral reef) in the seascape, and
for man. No doubts, mangroves are a strong livelihood support-base of
the delta inhabitants, and I have argued elsewhere (Zabbey, 2008) that
mangroves are to the local communities what taxes are to national
governments! Studies have shown that 60% of fishes in the Gulf of
6
Guinea breed in the mangroves of the Niger Delta. A cursory look at the
area of mangrove converted in Rivers and Bayelsa States alone for oil
development illustrates the depth of erosion of communal livelihoods
that have taken place (Table 2).
Table 2: Mangrove conversion in Rivers and Bayelsa States of Nigeria
by SPDC alone.
Activity Area covered
1) Seismic line 66,000km
2) Drilling 349 sites
3) Flowline 700km
4) Pipeline 4ookm
5) Flowstation 22 sites
6) Terminal 1 site
Source: World Bank report (1995)
Scientific and socio-economic data abound that accord to UNEP (2006)
observations above. The explosion of dynamites in water bodies
produces narcotic effects and, readily, outright mortality of fish and
other fauna. Mortal damages arising from dynamite shooting is nonselective, killing all stages of fishes and other edible and non-edible
living materials within the system. Powell (1998) studied impacts of the
GENECO barge, Ikata, Okoma and oshika oil spillages on fish and
fisheries. He reported 50% reduction in fish abundance, total loss of
species lacking accessory air-breathing organs and major loss of species
without any obvious physiological pattern. Moreover, oil buried in
sediments due to tidal pumping undergoes resurfacing, having long-term
sublethal impacts on growth, reproduction, predator-prey behaviour,
diseases outbreak, etc on biological communities including potential
seafoods. Studies on Water quality, species composition and abundance
of phytoplankton indicated that the condition of Ejamah-Ebubu
Swampland polluted in 1970 had not improved significantly (Hart et al.,
2006).
In a study on the impact of gas flaring on the environment by Okezie
and Ekeke (1987), it was found that about 100% loss in yield of all
crops cultivated occurred 200 metres away from Izombe flow station;
7
45% loss in yield of crops planted 600 metres away, and 10% loss for
those cultivated one kilometer away from the flare point. And to know
that most inhabitants in the rural areas where most of the oil facilities
are located are farmers and fisher folks makes the scenario even more
worrisome as there are significant losses in their livelihoods even as far
as one kilometer away from the source of the pollution. In a recent
study, Anyanwu and Tanee (2008) observed dramatic reductions in
Cassava yield parameters (growth, fresh weight of shoot and tubers,
total fresh weight, etc) in the Niger Delta due to oil pollution.
JUSTICE FOR IMPACTED COMMUNITIES: CAN THE EUROPEAN
UNION ASSIST?
Recently, the Nigerian judiciary receives encomium for appreciable
improvement in terms of independence and quick dispensation of
justice, especially compared to the pre-1999 military era. The applauded
upgrading notwithstanding, it seems judicial mechanisms in Nigeria are
still under the recalcitrant grip and manipulation of a few individuals
(within and outside the corridors of power) and some corporate entities.
This has resulted in wide-spread distrust in the judicial system. Granted,
the prevalence of discontent and lack of confidence amongst Nigerians
as to the viability of the supposedly temple of justice (the Court) to
guarantee them fairness account for the current rising trend in the
number of people seeking justice outside the country. Four Niger Delta
communities have dragged Shell to the Dutch Court over oil pollution.
Similarly, the families of the nine Ogoni martyrs (Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8
others) just sued Shell in the US. This latter legal battle may start few
days from today if the ongoing out-of-court dialogues between both
parties crash.
It must be emphasized again that the government’s lack of political will
to implement court decisions, is to say the least, very worrisome too. For
example on 14th November 2005, Justice V. C. Nwokorie delivered a
landmark judgment in Suit No. FHC/CS/153/2005 between Mr. Jonah
Gbemre (for himself and as representing Iwherekan Community in Delta
State, Nigeria and SPDC, NNPC and Attorney General of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria. The judgment proclaimed that gas flaring was both
illegal and an abridgement of human rights. Four years afterwards, the
judgment has not been implemented.
Desperate problems require desperate solutions! Thus, EU countries
whose companies operate in the Nigeria’s oil industry should respond
8
speedily to the cries for justice by the impacted communities of the
delta. There are two ways, in my opinion, that the EU can ensure justice
for the delta Communities: 1) by strengthening the capacity and
independence of the Nigerian Judicial system, and (2) by creating
platforms for holding operators accountable in their home countries
where justice delivery is, arguably, fairer.
More so, analyses of past and ongoing violations of community rights by
oil companies with impunity reveal over-dependence of EU countries on
subverted social and corporate responsibility data supplied by the TNCs.
My candid opinion is that reasonable difference from the unjust and
filthy status quo could be achieved if the EU can commission
independent monitors that will provide it with on-site information
pertaining to TNCs practices in Nigeria.
I surmise, therefore, that unless the EU takes urgent steps to correcting
the monstrous ills committed by the TNCs, the moral burden of
immeasurable sufferings in the Niger Delta will continue to seat heavily
on the conscience of her member states, and the respect for
fundamental rights which the organization professes will remain
questionable!!!
9
REFERENCES
Anyanwu, D.I. and Tanee, F.B.G. (2008). Tolerance of Cassava (Var. TMS
30572) to different concentrations of Post-planting cruse Oil
Pollution.Nigeria Journal of Botany, 21 (1): 203 – 207
Hart, A. I., Amah, E. and Zabbey, N. (2007) Biocenosis of Planktonic Flora in a
36 years Old Crude Pollution freshwater pond in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.
African Journal of Zoology and Environment Biology 9: 63 – 69.
IUCN/CEESP (2006) . Niger Delta natural resources damage assessment and
restoration Project – Phase I scoping report. May 31, 2006 report from
the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy,
14pp
Loubser, J. (1995). Sustainable livelihoods: a conceptual exploration. Paper
presented at the workshop of civil society, sustainable livelihoods and
women in development, 6 – 8 November, 1995, Kala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Nwankwo, N. and Ifeadi, C. N. (1988). Case studies on the environmental
pollution of oil production and marketing in NIgeira. In Sada, P. O. and
Odemorho, F. O. (eds). Environmental issues and management in
Nigeria development. Evans Brothers, Ibadan.
Okezie, D. N. and Okeke, A. O. (1987). Flaring of associated gas in oil industry:
Impact on growth, productivity and yield of selected farms crops, Izombe
flow station experience. Paper resented at NNPC Workshop, Port
Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
Olawoye, J. E. (2000). Making extension relevant to sustainable livelihoods for
poverty alleviation. Proceedings of Agricultural Extension Society of
Nigeria (AESON).
Powell, C. B. (1988). Effects of Freshwater oil spillages on fish and fisheries. In
the Petroleum Industry and the Nigerian Environment. Proceedings of
1987 international seminar.
Steiner, R. (2008). Double Standards? International Standards to prevent and
control pipeline oil Spills, Compared with Shell practices in Nigeria. A
report submitted to Friends of the Earth, Netherlands.
World Bank (1995). Defining an environmental development strategy in the Niger Delta.
Zabbey, N. (2005). Impacts of extractive industries on the biodiversity of the
Niger Delta region, Nigeria. Paper delivered at National Workshop on
coastal and marine biodiversity management, 7 – 9 Sept, 2005, Pyramid
Hotel, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
Zabbey, N. (2008). Shrimp farming in Nigeria: implications for mangroves and
rural livelihood in the Niger Delta. In: ERAction (quarterly magazine of
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN),
May – August, 2008. Pg 19 – 21.

Home

EXPORTING SHRIMP FARMING TO NIGERIA

EXPORTING SHRIMP FARMING TO NIGERIA: IMPLICATIONS FOR RURAL LIVELIHOOD AND MANGROVES IN THE NIGER DELTA.

Nenibarini Zabbey
Head, Environment and Conservation Programme, Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), Eleme Nigeria rising rates in Consumption in Europe, USA and Japan, email Zabbey1@yahoo.com.

Recently, Africa has been identified as a potential new frontier for the expansion of shrimp farming. And three biologically-rich and culturally important large, river deltas are among the areas that have been targeted for shrimp aquaculture development: The Niger Delta, the Tana Delta and the Rufiji Delta. (EJF, 2004) Shrimps are highly relished, and amongst the leading priced sea foods on our global menu. It is increasingly becoming obvious that per capital shrimp consumption most probably correlate positively with economic growth. According to the United States Trade Representatives (2005), the global market for shrimp and prawns is increasing by three percent per year largely due to increased consumption in the United States, Europe and Japan

With the soaring appetite for shrimp in the North, Shrimp farming is intensely promoted in the developing South to augment for the shortfall from capture fisheries.

Nigeria is one of the tropical countries endowed with rich shrimp resources. With rich organic deposit arising from runoff the Niger Delta region is the heartland of shrimp and oil production in Nigeria. Having a production capacity of 12, 000 metric tons (MT) per year, Nigeria’s shrimp supply are presently from capture fisheriesShrimping in both the small-scale and large-scale fisheries sub-sectors in Nigeria is unregulated. Issuances of trawl-permit to industrial operators by the Federal Department of Fisheries (FDF; the regulating agency), is driven principally by the permit fee and foreign exchange that export from the sub-sector generates; thus, least attention is paid to Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) of the shrimps stocks, which no doubt, is the panacea for sustainable fisheries.

In 2000, shrimps worth US and 46, 495 (N5.58 billion) were exported from Nigeria and 43.35% revenue generated by the federal government from fish production in 2001, came from shrimp and shrimp licenses (FDF, 2003). It is instructive to note here that shrimps caught by trawl vessels are strictly meant for export to the US, Europe and Japan. Farfantepenaeus notialis (the pink shrimp) contributes greater proportion of shrimp in both small scale and largo scale fisheries in Nigeria. This is in line with the pattern of global production. According to Ronnback (1999), penaeid shrimps are, in terms of volume of catch and value per unit catch, one of the most important fishery resources worldwide. These shrimps constitute a major part of world-wide fisheries catch, which ranged from 2.1 to 2.5 million MT annually in 1993 – 1997 (FAO, 1999).

Besides penaeid shrimps, members of the the paleamonidea particularly Nematopaleamon hastatus, estuarine prawn, misnamed cray fish in Nigerian markets contribute significantly to artisanal catches. Production from this sub-sector is consumed internally with minor export to neighboring West African Countries, with unregulated production in every front. Nigeria’s shrimp fisheries are on the decline, and industrial shrimp farming is considered a “viable” alternative option or complement. There seems to be unguided excitement amongst corporations, fisheries scientists and professional institutions as efforts are made to export shrimp farming from Asia to Nigeria.

Shrimp farming started in the 1970s; experienced rapid incremented output in the 1980’s-1990’s and is now showing increasing signs of stagnant production. Annual production of farmed shrimp in 20001,083,641 MT valued at over US$6.8 billion (World Bank, NACA, WWF and FAO, 2002). Most of the shrimp farming activities occur in developing tropical and sub-tropical countries; predominantly in Asia and Latin America. In Africa however, shrimp farming assumes commercial scale in the 1990’s. As at today, industrial shrimp aquaculture practical in Egypt, Eritea, Gambia, the Seychelles, Madagasea, etc.

In Nigeria, however, the culture of shrimp which started in the late 1970’s remains unprogressive, consigned to institutions at different experimental stages. The production of young prawn species under controlled condition was attempted in Nigeria without success (FAO, 1980). Interplay between rising demand, declining production from capture fisheries and the bait of foreign income earning has triggered renewed efforts to making Nigeria shrimp aquaculture producer at all costs. Multi-national oil corporations like the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) a subsidiary of the Foyal/Dutch Shell – were amongst the first to indicate interest in investment in commercial shrimp culture in the Niger Delta (Businessday, 2004). Most recently, Sulalanka, a Sri Lanka consortium secured the approval of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the FAO to commence inland culture of marine black tiger shrimp (Thisday, 2008). Research institutions like the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) consider investing in shrimp farming a top priority (The Guardian, 2008). The diversity of these shrimp farming proponents notwithstanding, their objective is shared to boost Nigeria’s foreign exchange earning through shrimp export.

Issues and attributes that are never mentioned by the prospective shrimp farmers include human rights abuses, deepening poverty in coastal communities, environmental damages, etc, associated with industrial shrimp culture in practicing countries such as in Asia and Latin America.

No Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies mandated by law (EIA Act Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) have been done to determine whether or no the emerging shrimp farming industry would be and environmentally compatible with local sustainable, especially in the fragile and overstretched Niger Delta region. Already, environmental degradation in the Niger Delta is alarming due to operational recklessness and environmental negligence by the oil and gas companies operating in the region. It is common knowledge that industrial shrimp farming is a boom-and-burst industry, and the collapse in shrimp ponds production is primarily due to self-pollution and diseases epidemics associated with such foul condition. A synergy between the worsening state of oil/gas pollution and the inevitable pollution that will result from commercial shrimp farms if allowed will be the proverbial last straw that will break the camels back, by rendering the Niger Delta an irredeemable wasteland.

What I may consider an unfortunate irony is the fact that oil companies operating in the Niger Delta, having unrepentant history of environmental negligence and records of blatant disregard for regulatory policies in Nigeria simplecity4u@yahoo.com

made the earliest (in 2004) attempts to kick-start industrial shrimp farming in the delta region – already suffocating under pollution caused by their known activities – and interestingly then, they sworn to the high heavens that best practice would be adopted. What a dramatic penitent!

This time around, however, the corporations’ receipted agendum was to be easily deciphered. The Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) and other civil society groups in the delta took a hard position against the oil-giants shriup culture proposals. CEHRD contends that the project is targeting the fragmentary mangroves of the Niger Delta, which are multi-resource ecosystems that have sustained livelihoods of local populations since remembered time (BusinessDay, 2004).

Nigeria’s mangrove, in terms of area coverage, is the largest in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. According Spalding et al (1997), the mangrove area of Nigeria is estimated at 10, 515 Km2; the estimate is based on hitherto surveys and does not reflect the current status. Significant chunks of Nigeria’s mangroves (concentrated in the Niger Delta) are losts to crude oil toxicity following frequent spillages. Generally, mangroves provide wide range of natural ecosystem goods and services for man directly and indirectly other productive habitats (such as coral reefs and grasses) in the seascape, ultimately to the benefit of man. Mangroves, therefore, are to the local communities, what taxes are national governments.

Other threat to mangroves in Nigeria are over logging, clearance for the passage of oil pipes and seismic lines, swamp reclamation for urban development and settlement, the spread of nypa palm, etc. Current estimate is that more than 50% of the world mangroves have been removed, and the conversion of mangrove forests into shrimp farms constitutes the main threat to mangroves in share up-culture practicing countries.

What strike me most, is that hastily and freely lend full support to Sulalanka Nigeria Limited to start inland culture of marine black tiger shrimp which it clans would diversity the country’s mono-product economy. As reputable as the FAO should be, and given its repository of technical expertise, one would supposedly expect the world body to situate the proposed shrimp culture project in Nigeria within the context of her primary concern of ensuring rural food security, which convincingly would have led to an outright rejection of the project proposal. Farmed shrimps are rarely consumed by the poor, but almost exclusively sold to luxury consumers in domestic and international markets! Thus, the FAO’s endorsement of Sulalanka, to say the least is a betrayed of confidence, and an abandonment of key statutory responsibility.
FAO brief, suppose includes alleviating the soaring hunger of the Niger Delta people and other poor Nigerians (at least 40% of Nigerians goes to bed at night on an empty stomach).

More so, sustainable diversification of any economy (including Nigeria) can only be achieved on balance development; the intervention initiatives must be compatible with the natural environment this includes alternating poverty by empowering the people to use their strengths and assets like mangroves to improve their livelihoods. This point has recently buttressed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In her 2006 Niger Delta Human Development Report, UNDP stresses that the environment is very important for the Niger Delta people. “The report adds” nearly 60% of the delta population depends on the natural environment – living and non-living for their livelihoods”.

Niger Deltans are predominantly farmers and fishers due to the rich-alluvial farm lands and copions surface water-web that characterizes the basin. It is a universally acceptable fact that mangroves act as nursery grounds for many marine fishes. Diverse estimates emanated from various geographic environments as to the role mangrove play in the larval biology of commercial fishes. It has been estimated that 60% of the fishes in the Gulf of Guinea breed in the mangrove of the Niger Delta. Therefore, converting the remnant mangrove forests in the Niger Delta to shrimp farms portends and other coastal peoples in the Gulf of Guinea.

Rural women and children will be the worst hit mangrove swamp fisheries such as hand-picking of periwinkle (Tympanotonus spp and pachymenalia spp) is almost a preserve of the womenfolk in the Niger Delta. Besides livelihood of man, women in littoral communities depend solely on fish and mangrove fire wood trading.
On the average, fish constitutes 40% of animal protein intake in Nigeria. Percentage fish consumption is generally higher for residents of the Niger Delta region. A decline in fish availability will simultaneously have serious consequences on the nutritional status of the people, especially children who require adequate fish intake their brain development.

From the foregoing, it is safe to surmise that shrimp farming will add salt to the injury of food insecurity in Nigeria and the West African sub-region, whose significant output from capture fisheries depend on mangroves in the Niger Delta. Presently, per capita fish consumption in sub-saharan Africa is amongst the global least of 6.8kg person yr -1 compared to 17.7kg person -1 yr -1 in Asia.
Local fish supply in Nigeria in put at 500,000 MT as against the national demand of 1.2 million MT, at the minimum. Importation provides the difference of 700,000 MT. The Scenario, no doubts demands for aggressive investments in environment friendly and sustainable culture of herbivorous fishes for local consumption rather than export-driven aquaculture. Such aquaculture systems must to be situated in non-mangrove landed areas truly intended to complement capture fisheries production. The FAO defined food security as a condition when all people at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Thus, to enhance animal protein intake of unsecured population, aquaculture intervention must be pro-poor and rural-driven, given that 75% of the absolute poor live in rural areas.

References

(1) Business Day (2004). Shell/USAID N266bn shrimp project on shaky start.
Business Day Newspaper, December 13, 2004, vol. 3 (374): 1 – 2.

(2) EJF (2004). Farming the sea, costing the earth: why we must green the blue
Revolution. Environmental, UK.

(3) FAO (1980). The collection of catch and efforts statistics.
FAO Fisheries Cir No. 720 Rome.

(4) FAO (1999). FAO year book: Fisheries Statistics, Capture Production.
Rome 84p.

(5) FDF (2003). Report of the presidential forum on aquaculture development in
Nigeria.

(6) Ronnback, P. (1999). The ecological basis for economic value of seafood
Production supported by mangrove ecosystems. Ecological economics
29: 2235-252.

(7) Spalding, M., Blasco, F. and Field, C. (Eds.) (1997). World mangrove atlas.
The International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, Okinawa, Japan.
178pp.

(8) The Guardian (2008). Instate, private firm partner on shrimp farming training.
The Guardian Newspaper, Nigeria. Sunday June 22, 2008.

(9) This Day (2008). Nigeria needs $200m to boost shrimp farming. This Day
Newspaper, Vol. 13 No. 4707, March 11, 2008.

(10) United State Trade Representative (2005). African Growth and Opportunity Act
Competitiveness Report. June 2005.

(11) World Bank, NACA, WWF and FAO (2002). Shrimp farming environment.
A consortium programme analyze and share experiences on the better
Management of shrimp aquaculture in coastal areas. Synthesis published
by the consortium.

Conflicts Resolution and Peace Building in the Niger Delta

Conflicts Resolution and Peace Building in the Niger Delta: The Role of Government Institutions and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)

Introduction:

I consider it a great honour to be given the opportunity, by the Women Advocates,

Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), to speak at this unique “summit” on the deepening conflicts in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

The intensifying conflicts in the oil rich delta has become a topical subject of serious and unserious discussions in beer palours, market places, government, civil society, security, media, academic circles among others. I deliberately use the word “serious” and “unserious” because of the characters of those talking about how to resolve the conflicts.

In some assemblies, the deltaic crisis, out of sentiment is considered irrelevant for mere discussion. Some down play on the enormity of the crises by corrupting efforts aimed at resolving it and rather use the conflict as a money-spinning venture.  However, there are a few open-minded, detribalized nationalists who subscribe to the fact that the Niger Delta basin needs special attention in terms of development and to find lasting solution to the resource-driven conflict plaguing the region.

 

Our Abiku

Indeed, there is nothing I am saying here that has not been said, but it is necessary to keep on saying it, to continue to remind ourselves and those who care to listen about the looming catastrophe that might entrap the Nigerian state if we all fail to act now, and save our dying delta and its people. The trouble in the Niger Delta is not peculiar to the zone. It is the type of crisis experienced in Angola, Burma, Colombia, Indonesia, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia etc; it is resources-driven (Winston, 2003). Especially when there is a weak, corrupt and irresponsible government controlling such enormous resources like we had in the past and we are having now. At the roots of the crises in the belt (Niger Delta) is resource mismanagement, corruption and lack of transparency on the part of state operators and their business partners, the transnational corporations (TNCs). A situation where a handful of perfidious cabals who squander state resources with utter disdain and contempt for the people without providing any form of remediation to their environment or their lives; let alone talk of providing  basic amenities to the people on whose land oil and gas resources are exploited.

 

Not Only Oil

In pre-colonial Niger Delta, the same resource-propelled conflicts we are experiencing today also manifested then. The Royal charter which was granted to the National African Company on 10th July 1886, and which empowered the company to govern the Niger area, in which, it already had extensive trading interests, was the result of the efforts made by Sir Goldie, to create those conditions which would enable it to exploit the economic resources in the region to its best advantage (Ukpabi, 1987). As Ukpabi also documented, a military force through the approval of their home government (Great Britain) was established by the company, to protect their interests through the force of arms, and the excesses of British merchants. That in itself engendered a major conflict between the Brass people in the present day Bayelsa state and the former. Around 1871, the frosty relation between the British company and the local inhabitants deteriorated and the local people used the same guns that were supplied to them by their European business allies to attack the English merchants, and the situation later resulted to a bloody conflict. The company dabbled into local politics, exploited inter-town rivalries and allied itself with one group while fighting another indigenous group (Ukpabi, 1987).

A major conflict brew from the way and manner the company ran its business in the region. On 12 November, 1886, an expeditionary force led by one commandant Vetch set out, to wipe out local villagers who had complained about their practices in the Niger Delta and burnt down their villages. In December 1886, some British soldiers attacked Agberi, Mbiama and proceeded to Patani where they repeated the deadly attack on the local people. In October 1887, British soldiers also destroyed and looted Obe. The month afterward, November 1887, colonial soldiers also destroyed several villages in the Warri creeks. The rampaging British soldiers spread terror, destructions, pains and agonies all over the region in their bid to protect the flow of money into their home treasury from their business cartels (palm oil trade) etc.

Given the above historical instances, we can now see that the Niger Delta from colonial period had been a strip of violent conflicts by contending desperadoes and merchandising alliances because of resources not just oil.

 

The Boroic Phenomenon    

Oil production in commercial quantity started in the late 50s (precisely 1956) in the tiny poverty-stricken Oloibiri village community in the Ogbia clan of Bayelsa state (in the central Niger Delta). Later, discoveries of oil deposits and exploration continued in quick succession in Bomu, Bodo West in Ogoni, and other places in the delta. Oil later became one of the most used products in the world and most important primary commodity in international trade (John Wangbu, 2005). The surge in oil revenues coincided with centralization of political powers in Nigeria.

As a consequence, the interest of oil companies came to play a much greater role in government policy than the interests of farming and fishing communities in the Niger Delta and elsewhere (George Frynas, 2003).

Around December 1964, Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro left the University of Nigeria, Nssuka (UNN) as a student leader and activist without completing his course in Chemistry and went to Lagos to work. As at early 1965, Boro started an armed revolutionary campaign under the aegis of Niger Delta People Volunteer Service (NDPVS) to free his Ijaw people in the Niger Delta. In 12 days he seized shell facilities in Ijawland and ruled as the head of the Niger Delta Republic (Patrick Naagbanton, 2005). A combined force of the military, police and other security operatives later captured him; followed by his trial and conviction by the then Ironsi junta. He was later pardoned by the Gowon regime. He died on May 16, 1968, while fighting on the side of the Nigeria army in very controversial circumstances. The death of Boro angered a lot of people. The contradiction of his death is yet to be resolved and has added flavour to the crisis of the Nigerian state.

 

The Umuechem Massacre and The Rise of Ken Saro-Wiwa

At the opening chapter of the 90s, a poor village community, which play host to Shell oil facilities was nearly wiped out. On November 30, 1990, poor Umuechem villages in the Etche Local Government Area of Rivers state, saddened by mindless devastations of their community had embarked on a peaceful protest; to demand for better environment practices and corporate responsibility from Shell. Shell unleashed their mad dogs fondly called “kill and go” (mobile policemen). They killed hundred of villagers, looted their properties and burnt their houses (Naagbanton, 2006). The Umuechem massacre became an instant source of inspiration and springboard for environmentalists, writers and campaigners around the world.

The Umuechem massacre was intended to spread fear across the rural communities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Before long, however, the people of the delta summoned courage and confronted their tormentors again. Thus, there were reports of isolated cases of peaceful processions carried out by families and villages affected by oil pollution. In the same 90s, Ken Saro-Wiwa organized his Ogoni people on the platform of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), to confront the government and oil companies about issues bordering on denials of human and Environmental Rights. In 1994, “government” secret memo revealed that Shell provided financial support to the infamous Rivers State Internal Security Task Force (RSISTF), a force set up by the government to clamp down on Ogoni protesters (Geoge Frynas, 2003). A lunatic Major Paul Okuntimo who boasted to the defenseless Ogoni people that he has over 200 methods of killing but had just applied one on them headed the Gestapo. Major Umahi Obi, who incidentally was also a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God while he headed the task force, took over from Okuntimo. He also trafficked in the blood of poor Ogoni villagers.  Members of the task force raped, killed, maimed and looted in Saro-Wiwa’s Ogoni nation (Naagbanton, 2006). The pacification of the Ogoni people for demanding their rights attained a peak when Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nigeria’s famous writer, satirist, columnist and green campaigner was hanged on November 10, 1995. He was earlier tried on tramped-up charges of murder in a kangaroo court presided over by Justice Ibrahim Auta.

Rural Women Under Siege

The exploitative activities of the Nigerian state and oil multinational companies have impacted more on the women than any other group. They suffer from gross exploitation, loss of viable farmlands and water pollution. During military occupation of communities, the women suffer psychological, emotional and physical impacts. They are raped and maimed. They suffer as their sons get arrested and killed; they also feel it most when their brothers, husbands and lovers are tortured, maimed and killed the military and armed police have brutalized and sacked whole communities, assaulting and beating them indiscriminately. The objective is to humiliate, intimidate and eliminate those who resist oil exploitation activities (Emen Okon, 2007). Okon argued further that women organizations and their protestations against oil politics are part of the history of the Niger Delta struggle. It seems there have been more protest actins undertaken by women in the Niger Delta because they are worst affected by environmental degradation and conflict than their male folks. On March 29 and 30, 1986 Bonny women shut down Shell’s operation. The women blocked the helipad with bodies in efforts to win the compensation that the communities demanded from Shell for destroying their environment and for eroding their livelihood structures.

On January 4, 1999, Soldiers of the Nigeria state came by air and by water and raided Opia and Ikebiri communities in Delta state. Women and children were killed. The soldiers were contracted by Chevron Nigeria Limited (Donpedro and Naagbanton, 1999). Such cases of killings of unarmed women protesting against the destruction of their livelihood sources are common place in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

The Restive Spirit of Boro?

Perhaps only a few persons might have attached importance to Saro-Wiwa’s prophetic thoughts when he predicted from his detention cell before his death. Saro-Wiwa made it clear that the other oil communities who have been watching to see if MOSOP’s non-violent stand will draw Shell out its cocoon shall decide that force is what Shell wants. And that there will be trouble on the oil fields, costing Shell a lot of its investment, and military force will not secure them peace on the oil field.

The dust from the brutal and barbaric hanging of Saro-Wiwa had hardly settled when we started receiving reports of pockets of armed rebellion across the region especially by some youths who witnessed their relatives being killed, raped, maimed and their villages completely wiped out by armed agents of the Nigerian state acting under monetary inspiration from the transnational corporations (oil compainies).

On December 11, 1998, near the grave of Jasper Adaka Boro in Kaiama in the Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa, Ijaw youths drawn from all over Ijawland met and proclaimed the now famous Kaiama Declaration. The Ijaw charter derived inspiration from similar documents such as the Ogoni Bill of Rights, Urhobo Economic Summit of the Urhobo People, Ikwerre Rescue Charter of the Ikwerre people etc. But, the military junta of General  Abubakar Abdulsalami responded by ordering soldiers to kill unarmed Ijaw youths dancing in several Ijaw towns like Yenegoa etc. scores of Ijaw Youths were killed.

 

Our Road to Perdition  

In late 2003, Alhaji Dokubo-Asari, then president of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) provoked the ex-governor of Rivers state, Dr. Peter Odili who he (Asari) once described as his friend, when he issued a statement condemning the outcome of that low intensity arms smuggle, euphemistically referred to as 2003 elections. Odili asked Dokubo to retract the statement, but Asari refused. The then state Governor rented “godfather” Tom Ateke, the leader of the Icelander (German), a rightwing cult group, whose origin and funding are linked to the Odili’s state, to assassinate Dokubo-Asari

(Ibiba Donpedro, 2006).

Dokubo-Asari on leaving the leadership of the IYC, later joined “General Brutus Ebipade and others to “resurrect” the late Boro’s movement. They formed the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), a slight modification of Boro’s Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Service (NDPVS). Dokubo and his comrades-in-arms amalgamated a whole lot of equally disenchanted and disillusioned youths in and outside Niger Delta communities and started acquiring arms with money from bunkered oil, or exchanged with crude oil from pipelines in the delta. Asari’s insurrectionary movement also secured funds from individuals sympathetic to his cause. As we all know, the arms market is saturated. European arm dealers and thir middlemen and women from Eastern Europe, Asia, South Africa and America were and are all over the delta doing the illicit business with NDPVF militants.

Asari waged several deadly armed battles against Ateke and his Icelander cult groups and the Nigerian state. In October 2004 he participated in a peace negotiation with the Obasanjo’s government.

A quasi disarmament of NDPVF combatants was put in place. The Federal and Rivers state governments gambled with the process. The pressures to disarm was more on Asari than Ateke their own. When Ateke surrendered 6 weapons in government house the state government said he surrounded 600. Dokubo-Asari later surrendered 3,000 weapons openly at 2nd Amphibious Brigade, Bori Camp Port Harcourt, Rivers state (Steyvn Obodoekwe, Constance Meju and Patrick Naagbanton 2005). A lot of NDPVF combatants were angry with Dokubo-Asari for surrendering the groups weapons to a state they do not trust. After that, Asari remained vocal on issues on justice, self determination and true federation. In August, 2005, he was arrested by the Federal government and put on trial for treason and conspiracy against the Nigeria state.

Several other ex-combatants of NDPVF later sprang up here and there on different and new platforms such as Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Movement for the Niger Delta People (MONDP), Martyrs Brigade and others. The groups have one thing in common; armed agitation for the release of Asari. The methods they adopt include taking foreign oil workers hostage, destroying oil facilities and killing of armed soldiers in the creeks.

Today, the situation is getting out of control. The political militant groups such as MEND, MONDP and others are still up in arms. Fringe groups such as the criminally cult groups are also involved in hostage taking and demand for ransom and also unleash senseless violence on rival cultists and unsuspecting innocent person. Because of injustice some of the criminal cult combatants have now metamorphosed into political militant groups and vice-versa (Naagbanton 2007). Presently, the likes of Tom Ateke who killed, maimed and destroyed communities of political rivals of Peter Odili the immediate past governor of Rivers State has transformed into a political militant. His new group is now the Niger Delta Vigilante Movement (NDVM). He proclaims his new formation in the media and carries out attacks, to demand for justice for the Niger Delta people. The situation now seems hopeless, but something can still be done to reverse the deepening crises in the Niger Delta.

The Footpath to Amity

It is tragic that the crooked characters that occupy our political theatre do not understand the problems of the Nigeria state, not to talk of understanding the problems of the Niger Delta. The problems are beyond mere setting up of agencies like the Oil Mineral Producing Area Development Commission (OMPADEC), the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and to fly people to Abuja every week to wine and dine in the name of Niger Delta stakeholders meetings. The Niger Delta cries for justice, development, transparency and good governance.

There is the urgent need to restore the degraded environment or the region and observe an oil moratorium (stop oil activities for a period of at least 3 years), to ensure natural recovery of the dying ecosystem through well-planned integrated remediation measures.

Furthermore, there is the need to redress the fragrant violations of the rights of the people of the delta as experienced in the region over the years.

I wish to adopt the solutions proffered by Alfred Fawundu (2006) in his forward to a report on Niger Delta Human Development published by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

  1. Government should promote peace as the foundation for development. There cannot

be any meaningful development without peace. A peace agenda must include education, easy access to justice and a more equitable distribution of resources.

Make local governance effective and responsive to the needs of the people. Government is very central to achieving meaningful development outcomes.

 

  1. Improve and diversify the economy – The Niger Delta region, with its stock of natural

and human resources, offer immense opportunities for developing a diversified and growing economy. Over-dependence on oil is causing so much conflict.

 

  1. Promote social inclusion and improved access to social services – a major concern is

the nation’s longstanding exclusion of some people from the mainstream of Nigeria’s

socio-economic and political activities. The majority of the people in the Niger Delta

live on the margins. Reducing exclusion and achieving more even handed

development implies the empowerment of socially marginalized groups and individuals, stronger social institutions and infrastructure, and the development of the capacity of existing local groups.

 

  1. Promote environmental sustainability to preserve the means of people’s sustainable

livelihoods – the mainstreaming of environment sustainability into all development

activities must be complemented by proactive steps to conserve natural resources, to

reduce pollution, especially from oil spills and gas flares; and to set and achieve adequate targets for clean air and water and soil fertility. These should be backed by

rigorous enforcement of environment laws and standards.

  1. Build sustainable partnerships for the advancement of human development –

stakeholders must work together to achieve meaningful change. All levels of

government and NDDC, the oil companies, the organized private sector, civil society organizations (CSOs) should form partnerships around plans for sustainable development and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Non-State actors (CSOs) should initiate and facilitate genuine process of development and protection of rights of the people. I therefore challenge this forum to brainstorm and put forward pragmatic suggestions to the intractable conflicts in the delta.

References

Morton Winston, “(2002) Corporate Responsibility for Preventing Human Rights

Abuses in Conflict Area”, in, “Transnational corporations and Human Rights” 2003, edited by George Frynas and Scott

Pegg. New York, USA.

Sam C. Ukpabi (1987), “Mercantile soldiers in Nigerian History – a history of the.

Royal Niger Company Army (1886-1900)” Kaduna, Nigeria.

John Wangbu (2005), Niger Delta, Rich Region Poor People”. Enugu, Nigeria. The

159 page books is a compendium of 5 lengthy secular articles written by 5

Scholars, including Wangbu who edited the book.

Patrick Naagbanton (2006), “In memoriam; Isaac Adaka Boro” The Midweek

Telegraph newspaper, Port Harcourt, Rivers state.

Ibiba Donpedro (2006) “Oil in the water; crude power and militancy in the Delta”,

Lagos state.

Emen J. Okon (2007)” Rural Women Under Siege” Port Harcourt, Rivers state,

Nigeria.

Ibiba Donpedro and Patrick Naagbanton (1999), “Blood Trail; Repression and

Resistance in the Niger Delta” a publication of the Civil Liberties

Organization (CLO), Lagos, Nigeria.

Steyvn Obodoekwe, Constance Meju and Patrick Naagbanton (2005), “The Big

Disarmament Gamble; The comeback of Small Arms and Light Weapons

(SALW)” a publication of the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and

Development (CEHRD), Ogale-Nchia, Eleme, Rivers state.

Patrick Naagbanton, (2007) “The Metamorphosis of Soboma George” The Midweek

Telegraph, February 7 – 13, 2007, page 13.

Niger Delta Human Development Report (2006), Garki, Abuja.

CEHRD 1ST EDITION

Police Kill 7, Raze Community

…Over The Death Of 2 Of Their Officials

On September 14, 2006, at about 3.00pm, following the killing of a Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Mr. Elias Allison over 800 armed mobile policemen invaded the Afiesere community killing, maiming, looting, burning of properties. Scores of people were also captured and whisked away into detention. The community is a huge oil-producing one, a semi-urban community of a sort, in the Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.

Chief John Akponana, the community leader and a high school principal told CEHRD investigator that, “We never had problem with the police. We are a peace loving people. In the early hours of that fateful Thursday, September 14, 2006, about 2 kilometres from our residential quarters, at the upper Afiesere road, the police had a problem with the motor park boys over motorpark management in Ughelli township and the police shot dead 3 of the boys. The motorpark boys later avenged the death of their colleagues by killing a DPO and an inspector. Not all the boys hail from Afiesere. The police know the boys who committed the crime because they have been working together. I say it again, it was not an Afiesre problem”.

Chief Akponan had consistently granted interviews to the media repeating the position above. He further said that when the community wrote a petition to the government over the police action, the community representatives, top government officials from the Delta State Government and the police were summoned to a meeting at the Delta State Government House in Asaba, the capital of the state. “The police lied at the meeting and I stated our community position, but the police at the meeting threatened to arrest us, it took the intervention of the Deputy Governor to save us”. The community spokesperson alleged.

The police had later told CEHRD monitor that a neighbouring community attacked Afiesere and looted their properties and not the police as the community claimed. But, CEHRD’s further findings proved the police allegation contrary to the facts and implicated the police in the killings, sacking  of the community and looting.

CARE FOR VICTIMS

“Care and Nutrition for People’s Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs)”

A lecture, delivered by Dr. (Mrs.) Bernadetta Korubo at a workshop at Alueken Town Hall, Ogale Village Community in the Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria.

Tuesday, January 17th and Wednesday, 18th, 2006.

The workshop was organized by The HIV/AIDS Project of the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) with support from the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA), Abuja, Nigeria/World Bank, USA.

© Copyright 2006 by Dr. (Mrs.) Bernadetta Korubo and CEHRD.  All rights reserved, in accordance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs).  Readers may make verbatim references and/or copies of the information here within for non-commercial purposes, provided that this copyright notice appears in all such copies and references.