The Niger Delta was violently thrust on the attention of the world during its 2005 -2009 militancy crisis. This conflict reduced oil production by two thirds costing Nigeria over $15 billion a year in lost revenue. Weekly kidnappings, pipeline attacks and militarisation of the region made for newsworthy stories, whilst the population continued to face the challenges of poor governance, limited service delivery and environmental devastation. This newsworthy violence and militancy turned attention away from an on-going low intensity local conflict fuelled by inter and intra community conflicts over oil related contracts, political contracts and political control. The Niger Delta Amnesty process ended the militant attacks and ensured that oil production has returned to pre-crisis levels.
However, the underlying issues driving conflict and tensions in the region remain and there are regular examples of intra community violence as community representatives fight over the spoils of contracts from oil majors and the government. These local conflict dynamics are reinforced by the absence of the state and functional service delivery, which escalate the short term focus of those fighting for survival. These local tensions are further compounded by the challenges placed on traditional livelihoods via the widespread environmental devastation caused by oil spills as a result of oil major equipment failure and third party sabotage for oil theft.
Download the full report on community perceptions of violence in the Niger Delta (pdf 10mb)