In this Peace Briefing, the United States Institute of Peace examines the unfolding humanitarian and political crisis in the Niger Delta.
The demands of the population in the Niger Delta to enjoy greater benefit from the oil produced in their region continue to go unanswered. The people in the Delta complain that oil-spill pollution has made their water undrinkable, gas flaring has made the air unfit for breathing, while revenue from the oil has paid for mansions to be built in the capital, Abuja. Although well armed militias have suspended their attacks for a few weeks, they threaten to resume operations soon. A Technical Committee appointed by Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua to make recommendations for action relating to the Delta made its report nine months ago, but the government has taken no action on the report. The government has offered an amnesty to the militants for a period that expires in early October, but so far few militants have responded. Oil production continues to be seriously reduced by the militants' attacks and by the stealing of oil (termed "bunkering") by militants and others.