Nigeria: Conflict Responsible for Poor Investment in Niger Delta Region - Report

19 August 2019

A documentary research conducted by African Initiative for Transparency, Accountability, and Responsible Leadership (AfriTAL) has attributed the absences of key industries in the oil rich Niger Delta region to the activities of what it called, 'Conflict Entrepreneurs.'

These group of persons who cut across government, its agencies and the host communities are said to be feeding fat on the current rent seeking system they operate and ready to stall investment in the region that is not to their personal benefit.

The documentary which was sponsored by Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform in Nigeria (FOSTER) is titled : "The Impact of Corruption and Conflict on Investments in the Energy Rich Niger Delta Community."

Citing the example the Gas Revolution Industrial Park, Ogidigben in Delta State and the Gelegale Seaport in Edo State which has failed to kickoff despite the preparedness of foreign and local investors to invest in projects and the enormous economic benefit, the documentary report communities leaders in collaboration with their allies in government sabotage the process by initiating conflicts.

Speaking at a ceremony to unveil the documentary in Abuja at the weekend, Dr. Zibima Tubodenyefa, Lecturer, Niger Delta University, who was a consultant to the project said the conflict entrepreneurs mobilise violence against planned investments as such give them an opportunity access to rents.

"We realised that what this conflict entrepreneurs do mostly and very effectively is to stuck legacy issues, ethic issues, land disputes etc.These rent seekers use the instrument of ignorance against the people to their personal advantage.

"We realised that they have information and they control information around this investments very well, so what they let out is oftentimes half-truth or a misrepresentation of the facts. They stuck sentiments and people act. They become key stakeholders when it gets to a point of negotiations," he said.

Also speaking Dahiru Modi, AfriTAL consultant described what is currently happening in the region as a functional conflict market.

"To understand what has happened and what is happening, we have to understand that just like we have the very functional political market place in Nigeria, we have a functional conflict marketplace in the Niger Delta and like every other market, it functions on demand and supply.

"The conflict entrepreneurs we talk about in this communities, talk about Ogidigben, Galegale, Obioku in Brass, Nembe, you realise that across this communities, there are specific individuals who play this role. Before now it has been taught that this individuals are desperate and disconnected one from the other.

"You have the government officials, you have the commissioners, the ministers, governors, presidents, on the other hand you have the people who have money, that is investors and then the communities. We have thought them to be isolated but from our research and engagement and arising from a trend analysis of the specific outcomes associated with plan investments in oil rich communities we have come to realise that the dynamics are evolving, you realise that the actors we thought are disconnected are actually connected," he said.

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