WANTON destruction of lives and properties is now a viable venture in Nigeria. Not only is it viable, it is now a prerequisite to national attention and fame.
Never in the history of Nigeria had we poured so much blood, apart from the civil war, than in our present democracy. Even the military, with its brutality and high handedness, never governed nor presided over mass of corpses and destruction of our economic assets the way it has turned out to be in our democracy.
Recently, I saw a picture trending on Facebook; it was a contrasting picture of the Northern and Niger-Delta regions. The former was a Northerner posing on lush grassland and the latter, a young boy from Niger Delta, standing on a depredated area ravaged with oil spills. The pictures were self explanatory.
The renewed insurgency in the Niger Delta, under the aegis of Niger Delta Avengers, has not only worsened Nigeria’s economic woes, but has continued to worsen the environmental degradation of the area.
Our pipe lines are becoming ‘endangered species’ and like thunder promising storm, the Niger Delta Avengers has been erupting its volcanoes, leaving trail of destruction of our oil facilities in every of their passage with the sole aim of crippling Nigeria’s major source of revenue, unless their demands are met. However, looking at their demands, one is forced to ask what exactly the intentions of these avengers are? What do they intend to gain by these extreme environmental damage on their region, considering the deleterious effects of such environmental pollution on humans, plants and animals?
Out of their 10 point demand to President Muhammadu Buhari, the only one that is non-debatable is “Ogoniland and, indeed, all oil-polluted areas in the Niger Delta must be cleaned up and compensation paid to all oil-producing communities.”
There’s no doubt the area had long suffered extreme environmental damage from decades of indiscriminate petroleum waste dumping, pipeline vandalism, oil bunkering and other economic sabotage, but the latest launching/implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland, but the clean-up of oil spills in the area as recommended by UNEP in 2012, in fulfillment of president Buhari’s electioneering promise to the people of the Niger Delta, is worth commending. This is a feat the former president of Nigeria, a worthy son of the oil region could not achieve for his people.
For the Niger Delta Avengers, they are on a mission; a mission to cripple the already depleted economy of Nigeria, unless their demands are met, but what demand is worth more than millions of lives that are being exposed to environmental pollution daily? What demand is more important than destroying their green vegetation, farmlands and rivers?
It is very obvious Niger Delta Avengers are out on a vindictive mission to frustrate the government of the day just for the interest of few individuals and not representing the general interest of Niger Delta. Their actions are not in tune with the present realities and I join others to condemn acts capable of crippling our economy.
In all our struggles/agitations for a better representation, let us not allow the interest of few individuals or the corrosive acids from the mouths of their toxic sponsors lure us into taking the law into our own hands.
The worst may not have been seen of these implacable enemies of the state considering their modus operandi but the Niger Delta avengers should be cognizance of this trending proverb: “He who burns his father’s house inherits the ashes.”
- Onwukeme is a public affairs analyst.