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Reference
Akani, Christian  (2005) Youth's Restiveness in the Niger Delta. Department of Political Science Rivers State College of Education: -.

Summary
INTRODUCTION
Since the early 1990s, the Niger Delta sub-region of Nigeria has become
prominent and a topical issue in every intellectual and development
discourse. This has created an awareness on the role of the region to the
economic and political survival of the Nigerian State. The region played a
monumental role in solidifying the economic foundation of colonialism
through its massive production of cash crops like palm kennel and oil.
Other commodities such as ivory, camwood, timber and dye-woods were
produced, but palm oil was the most essential and economically significant.

According to Dike, 'the existing sources of animal fats were not only
inadequate but sometimes unsuitable. West African palm oil was found to
satisfy these needs. In 1830 the Delta was known to be the Chief source of
this commodity. Henceforth to the British merchants prohibited by the law
to deal in men, the slave coasts gained a new prominence as the oil rivers.1

The Niger Delta which was a major supplier of slaves to European slave
merchants in the nineteenth century, suddenly became an indispensable
supplier of palm oil and kernel for the production of industrial goods in
the twentieth century, and in the twenty-first century, it has become a
major supplier of oil and gas not only to Nigeria, but to the global
community.

This means that for centuries, the region has been exposed to the
exploitative and market tendencies, which in most cases have not been
favorable for its internal growth and regeneration. In fact, the peoples of
the region have spent most of their time defending their identity and
protecting their environment from external expropriators. The Akasa raids
of 1885, abduction of king Jaja in 1897, Benin Massacre in 1897 to mention a
few, are reflections of the crises which the region have been subjected to
because of its natural resources.

In the area of human capital depletion the Delta formed one of the
pre-eminent ports of call of European slave 'merchants' given its proximity
to the coast. It was also important as it had transit camps where slaves
from the hinter lands were kept while the 'traders' awaited ocean vessels.

Such camps also served as shown-rooms of some sort where prospective buyers
inspected captured slaves already labeled with red-hot iron and claimed
together, as in Bonny, Ndele, Weja and Ohambele markets.2

By the twenty-first century, the exploitation and appropriation of Niger
Delta resources has reached a crescendo that it engendered a rising
frustration among the people. The intensification of the exploitative
tendencies of the Nigerian State, particularly on the peoples of the region,
and the deepening frustration have combined to turn the region to a boiling
one. Thee is a meterioric rise in the awareness, consciousness and global
curiosity about the skill and peculiarity of the region.

It is important to note that the reason for all these rapid processes in the
estimation and conceptualization of the Niger Delta, can found in the
corresponding reaction of the youths, to the dwindling fortune of the region
in the face of enormous natural wealth. In other words, the response of the
Niger Delta youths to the present crises of the region, can only be located
within the historical dialectic of wealth production and consumption in the
region. To do otherwise, is to ensure the acceptance of subjective
conclusions, and avoidance of dialectical thinking. It is against this
backdrop that this chapter will look at youths restiveness in the Niger
Delta.

In looking at this problem, we shall briefly examine the territoriality of
the Niger Delta as a point of departure. We shall also x-ray Nigeria's
political economy and how it impacts on the impress ionic feelings of the
youths who are always at the receiving end of every government policy, and
the avunt guard of the region's restiveness. The last section will be
summary and some useful suggestions.

TERRITORIALITY OF THE NIGER DELTA
The territoriality of the Niger Delta includes its territorial boundaries,
limitations, peculiarities of its geographical environment and the peoples
that inhabit the area, inducing their mores and culture. The comprehension
of the territoriality of the region is of immense importance because, it
would make us properly appreciate the distinct problems of the region and
why the youths have responded and reacted the way they have done.

It has been a Herculean task for geographers and demographers to
distinctively delineate the area called the Niger Delta. The main reason is
largely because of the political undertone in the delineation exercise, and
the over lapping nature of the region. Obviously, this has complicated the
Niger Delta crises.3 Attempts to resolve these crises led to the division of
the Niger Delta Development Commission into two Directorates - Niger Delta
and Oil Bearing Communities. We are concerned here with the former.
Therefore, in looking at the territoriality of the Niger Delta, we are
concerned about the geo-territorial identity of the region, its history and
means of subsistence within the Nigerian geo-political boundaries.

There are two deltas in Africa - Niger and Nile, and these are associated
with two important rivers. While the 'River Niger which is about 2,600
miles long flows from the Gulf of Guinea across many African countries such
as Mali, Niger and Nigeria, the River Nile which is the longest in Africa
from the Indian ocean traversing Djibouti, Ethiopia Sudan, and Egypt as it
empties into the Mediterranean sea.4

It is important to state that the two Rivers laid the foundation for the
civilization of the coastal areas such as Egypt and the Niger Delta
communities. Apart from the above, fossil and alluvial materials which were
deposited on the surrounding land, sediment over a long period of time to
fertilize the soil for agricultural purposes and formation of oil and gas.
This is why it is often possible to say that without the Nile there is no
Egypt. As the river empties into the Mediterranean sea, a V. shaped figure
representing the Nile delta is formed in Cairo (Egypt).

In the same vein, as the River Niger flows from the Gulf of Guinea and
empties into the Atlantic ocean in southern Nigeria, a delta is formed with
a criss-cross of rivers, rivulets, streams, and mangrove first. According
to the new Lexicon Webster Dictionary of the English Language, a delta is a
tread of alluvial land formed by the precipitation of river mud when the
river water meets the tidal water, with the structure akin to that of the
fourth letter of the Greek alphabet.5 It has a triangular shape with an
alluvial deposit at the month of a sea where it splits into several channels
forming the creeks and streams we mentioned.6

Our concern here is the Niger Delta. According to Darah,

The Niger Delta wetlands and mangrove territory is the third
largest in the world and most extensive in Africa. It accounts for
77.4% of Nigeria's wet lands or 3.2% of the total landmass of the country
and the tenth largest drainage in the world.7

As a wetland region, it is located at 6 North of the equator and surrounded
in the south by the Atlantic Ocean, the Bight of Benin and Biafra at the
West and Eastern side respectively. It covers an area of 70,000 sq
kilometers and about four distinct ecological zones, characteristics of the
delta of a large river in tropical regions, coastal barriers, mangroves,
fresh water swamp forest and low land rainforest.8 It is also the world's
largest wetlands, with about 20,000 sq km in the south, a very high annual
rainfall, raining from 3,000mm to 4,500mm from July to September and dry
season from December to February.

On the Atlantic coast, it covers about 270 miles and straddle from 'the two
months of the Niger-- the forcados and the Nun ., such rivers like Benin,
Brass, Bonny and the Cross found in the region are linked by a 'Labyrinth of
creeks and lagoons'.9

Dike opined that the Niger Delta occupies the greatest part of the Benin
river on the west and the cross river on the east including the coastal
area. While the northern section is drier and higher than the area of swamp
land, to the south., the low land belt is dank with humid surroundings that
are interspersed with vast structures of dry land, a mass of islands
intersected by creeks, and rivers.10

A cursory look at the region which covers about 25,640 km2 of the Nigeria's
total land mass,11 will discover that it is a melting point of centuries of
migrations of more than twenty five million people. The future, mode of
existence and world view of these peoples have become synonymous with their
environment, such that to disorganize the natural equilibrium in their
habitat is to seriously affect their economic vein and could disorient them.
These peoples are the Ikwerres, Ognonis, Ijaws, Ibibios, Anangs, Tsekiris,
Ogbas and Urhobos Ekpeeyes to mention a few. They can be found in six states
of Nigeria's thirty-six states namely, Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross-rivers, Edo,
Delta, and Akwa Ibom.

The artistic and literay productions of Dr Elechi. Amadi in the Concubine,
Leopold Bellgam's, Orukoro, and the poetic effusions of Dr Gabriel Okara in
the 'Call of the Rivers Nun' and Prof J.P. Clark's 'Night Rain; not only
depict the pain and hardship which the peoples of the region have been
subjected to, but demonstrate the interrelatedness and influence the
environment has on the socio-cultural existence of the peoples.

Not surprisingly, it has abundant natural resources, especially oil and gas.
These have attracted many transnational organizations who settle in the area
to exploit, prospect, drill, produce and refine oil and gas. In the process
of this oil and gas activity, the natural, serene and rich environment of
the region in flora and fauna is dislocated, devastated and in most cases
abandoned, leaving the people in penury and pain; just as in the colonial
era when palm oil was produced and exported. It is germane at this point to
state that '.Europe's plunder of the Delta, and indeed the entire continent,
dates much further back to 1444, when the Portuguese adventurer and former
tax collector Lancarite de Feitas, sailed to the West African coast and
stole 235 men and women whom he later sold as slaves.12 From 1444 to 1803
when slave trade was abolished, the Niger Delta was the major source of
slaves for the European slaves merchants before the introduction of
legitimate trade in cash crops.

THE WORLD OF THE YOUTHS
It maybe an uphill task to distinctively define who is a youth. This is
because of the fluidity of the concept, and its meaning to different people.

It is, therefore, not surprising that some people define the concept not
based on definitive age bracket or position in the social strata, but
attitude of the mind. In other words, some body maybe far above the
statutory age limit, but his/her conduct, may portray and reflect the
notable attributes of the youth. Such a person may be seem as an adult, but
has a youthful mind.

According to the New Lexicon Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary of the
English language, 'youth is the state of quality of being young, the period
from childhood to maturity. 13 It is the period of adolescence, juvenility
and pupilage, and this phase of life is experienced only once in a lifetime.
This is why it is often said that 'you're only young once'.14

Statutorily, we can categories a youth as somebody that has attained the age
of eighteen to forty years. Somebody within this age bracket is approaching
maturity and can be allowed to participate in some vital functions in the
community or state, such as attending village assemblies, accomplishing
specific roles and exercising his/her franchise. It is this group that
constitute the military might and the productive forces of a country.
They also embody the innovations, frustrations, emotions, beauty, and
aspirations of a society. It is against this backdrop that Ihonvbere
opined that,

The place of the youth in any society is often determined by
the nature and solidity of the state, the hegemony and
accumulative base of the custodians of a state power, the
intensity of class coalition and contradictions, and the location
and role of the social formation in the global divisions of
labor and power.15

The youths are by nature, militant, aggressive and energetic. Most often,
they do not consider any thing an obstacle in their impressionic
characteristics, dreams of abundant life, and often deceived by appearances.
To them, reality is an inhibition and a complete hindrance to their natural
freedom, just as conventions, and rules should be set aside so that they can
accomplish their dreams. This is why most of the agitations and protests
against the status quo emanate or receive the support of this vibrant group.
This lies their importance as catalysts of change, and leaders of tomorrow.
It is, therefore, not out of place to see rational and responsive
governments, designing an all - inclusive youth programmes and policies so
that their energies, potentialities and dreams could be channeled to an
objective and purposive end. To do otherwise, is to make the youths become
nuisance and liabilities to themselves and the society. In this situation,
they easily go astray, feeling frustrated, abandoned and ready to vent their
bottled up rising frustration on a system or leadership that has truncated
and become an obstacle to the realization of their dreams and
self -actualization.

Youths crises in Nigeria, particularly in the Niger Delta can only be
objectively appreciated within this prism of state- induced frustration.
Self identity and realization expressed in their protests, demands and
violent actions have become means of satisfying their vision of the future,
since man is a creative and productive being always craving for economic
satisfaction. As Malcom X noted, ' a race of people is like an individual
man, until it uses its own talents, takes pride in its own history,
expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill
itself'16

Pre-colonial communities, especially the Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality had
socialization processes so that the energies and militancy of the youths
could be directed to progressive ventures that would ultimately prepare them
for future challenges. Even in the colonial period, Nigerian youths
directed their talents to complete liberation of the country from colonial
thralldom, and engaged in activities which alarmed the colonial state and
its agents. Such youth bodies are the Borno Youth Movement [BYM) the
Nigeria Youth Movement (NYM) in 1938 and the Zikist Movement. The Zikist
movement was the most militant and radicalized youth movement this country
has ever produced. It did not leave any one in doubt about its mission and
vision of a united Nigeria and Africa.

The Movement which was formed on February 6, 1946 was motivated by the
Pan-African content of Beyond Bitterness written by A. A. Nwafor Orizu, and
fired by the ideology of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe encapsulated in his Renascent
Africa. According to Mokwugo Okoye, 'the Renascent Africa did for Nigeria
what Rousseau's Social Contract did for the 18th century France or Marx's
Das Capital did for 19th century Germany' 17. Zikism represented the
philosophy of the youthful in mind.18 It does not look at physical age. It
is concerned with the age of the mind.19 The Movement championed the cause
of the Enugu Coal Miner's strike action in 1949 when some of their members
were killed by trigger-happy colonial police. Their doggedness, consistency
and determination to achieve their goal of a free independent Nigeria
unconditionally, led to their ban in 1951.

All over the world, leaders have risen from their selfless participation in
youth movements and activities. In South Africa, the Defiance Campaign in
1952 which marked a departure from the conservative tactics of African
National Congress (ANC), and the eventual fall of that ignoble apartheid
system was triggered by youths such as Nilson Mardela, Oliver Tambo and
others. The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s in the United states was
pioneered by two African - American youths - Martin Luther King Jr and
Mlalcom X . It was their bold, fearless and aggressive campaign for race
equality that led to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as in the
fifteenth amendment of the American constitution. 20

Having examined the world of the youths, let us look at how Nigeria's
political economy has been able to satisfy the yearnings, dreams and
aspirations of the Nigerian youths, particularly the Niger Delta.

Nigeria's POLITICAL ECONOMY
Simply put, political economy is the study of the nature of production,
consumption and exchange of goods and services within a given society. It
underlies the fact that society is in a dialectical process of unfolding and
transforming itself. This dialectical process is energized by the economic
foundation of the society. In other words, it defines the economic
sub-structure of the society and its relationship with the political and
other super structural variables. This is why it is often seen as a
holistic science that combats subjectivity, and the theory of external
causes, or of an external motive force, advanced by metaphysical materialism
and vulgar evolutions.21

Therefore, to look at Nigeria's political economy, is not only '.a study of
the socio-political dynamics of society,'22 but to examine the
characteristics of the Nigerian economy, nature and character of the ruling
class, their competition for primitive accumulation, and the effect of these
on the exploited segment of Nigeria, particularly the Niger Delta youths.

Nigeria inherited an economy that was colonized. The colonial economy was
not designed to stimulate growth and development in the colonial
territories. Rather it was mainly an acquisitive economy for the benefit of
the metropolitan economy in Europe. Whatever projects and programmes it
initiated was ultimately geared towards the enhancement of surplus
acquisition, and control of raw materials at minimum economic cost.

In the same view, the colonial state was interventionist, authoritarian,
exploitative and provided the political and legal leverage for the easy
penetration and manipulation of Nigeria's pre-colonial economy. The result
of this was that the colonial economy, was characterized by disarticulation
or in coherence.23 It also led to the dictation of the economy by the needs
and desires of European economy, and the incorporation of the Nigerian
economy into a hostile world division of labour. 24 Ake noted that 'the
barbarity of colonialism stood in stark contradiction to the idea of a
civilizing mission and created strong antipathies to the colonial system. 25

The bourgeois class that replaced the colonial masters only inherited
political power, and had a porous economic base. This means that they did
not have a firm grip of the post- colonial political economy. The tendency,
therefore, was to use their political power to consolidate and sustain their
material economic base through many programmes, projects and policies.
These were not limited to Nigeria, but to other African bourgeoisie.

Ake noted that '.with few exceptions the Petit-bourgeois leadership of the
African nationalist movement was more interested in inheritance than in
revolution, and it was inevitable that its policies would locate development
and amenities to the convenience of the dominant class'.26 He went on to
say that 'when the British saw that "independence" was inevitable they
decided to choose their successors. Essentially they tried to create an
African subsidiary bourgeoisie imbued with British values and with a vested
interest in neo- colonial decadence who would ensure that the new African
government would be capitalist, docile and dependent.27

Unfortunately, the docility of African leadership and its dependant
capitalism has adversely affected its capacity to initiate independent
programmes for good governance and qualitative life for the greater
majority. The result is that the state is highly militarized and almost in
most cases used as an instrument of primitive accumulation, anti-people, and
the struggle for power becomes fierce and ferocious .Such a state cannot be
impartial, would hardly rise beyond class contradictions because of its lack
of relative autonomy and unhegemonic. Ihonvbere, unreservedly stated that
'once a state is militarized, it loses the capacity to mediate
contradictions within and between political communities, becomes intolerant
of opposition, and becomes extra-sensitive to criticism. It diverts scarce
resources to defense and security and punishes minority and vulnerable
communities.28

The accumulative tendency of the Nigerian bourgeoisie was exposed with the
discovery of oil in the Niger Delta. Hitherto, cash crops was the mainstay
of the Nigerian economy. Export production accounted for about 57% of
Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1929. Oil palm products alone
accounted for between 85% and 90% of total volume of exports during the same
period. 29 Dudley noted that '.whereas the proportions of agricultural
exports and petroleum to total domestic exports was of the order of 61.6 per
cent and 23.9 percent respectively in 1965, the proportion had changed to
4.6 percent and 94.0 percent respectively in 1975. 30

The reason for this monumental change was because of the discovery of oil
and gas in the Niger Delta region. The three colonial ordinances which laid
down to basic framework for the development of petroleum and its natural
resources, 31 include the Petroleum Ordinance of 1889, the Mineral
Regulation (oil) ordinance of 1907 and the Petroleum Ordinance of 1914. In
fact it was the 1914 ordinance that metamorphosed into the Petroleum Act of
1969 with little amendments. The first petroleum company was the Nigerian
Bitumen company in 1908. This company did not have a successful operation
because of WW 1. It was in 1938 that a Britain company Shell D'Arcy
Petroleum Development Company resumed operation and in 1956 at a little
community called Oloibiri, it struck oil. By 1958 the first shipment of oil
was made and gradually Nigeria's fortune drastically changed. From a daily
production of 5,000 barrels, it has tremendously increased to 2,265,000
barrels per day (bpd). It is estimated that this will increase to about 4m
bpd, with a proven reserve of more than 40 b barrels of oil in 2010.

From N1.8m in 1958, oil revenue increased to N509.6m in 1970. Average
production per day correspondingly increased from 4096m (11,000 barrels p/d)
in 1959 to 395,836 p/d in 1970. 32 '.oil revenue alone was N196.4m in 1970
and by 1974 it has catapulted to N4,133.8m. Federal government revenue rose
from N758.1m in 1970 to N5,177.1m in 1979.'

According to former Presidential adviser on Petroleum and Energy and
Secretary of organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Aihaji
Ruwanu Lukemen, 'Nigeria earned $300b (N38.4 trillion) between 1970 - 1990
from the export of petroleum. During this period under review, the socio -
infrastructural investments in the country failed to deliver the
expectations of the people. 33 Apart from the above, the Managing Director
of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Mr Andrew jamieson, noted
that crude oil contributes USD $13 billion a year to Nigeria's GDP while
NLNG at six trains capacity will add over USD $4 billion a year to GDP.
This means that completion of the sixth train in 2007, Nigeria would be
earning over USD $17 billion a year from crude oil.34 Also, from 1995 to
2003, the country has earned the sum of $853.260m from production sharing
cost (PSC) in the joint venture business. 35 Revenue from oil was boosted
with the export of liquefied gas in 1999, the construction of the sixth NLNG
train since the country has a proven gas reserve of 187.5 trillion. 36

The enormous amount of petro-dollars that flowed into the country
transformed the agro based economy, deepened the externalization of the
economy and changed the taste and psyche of the bourgeois class.

Anyanwu, etal, observed that, since independence the role of
agriculture in the economy has been on the downward trend
especially its contributions to GDP. Its share to GDP fell from
61.50% in 1963/64 to 14.63% in 1983. This situation has
been partly due to the emergence of oil as an important
commodity and partly to the poor performance of the sector.37

While oil constituted 25.9% of the total revenue in 1970, the share by 1974
had risen to 80.8%.38 The taste and appetite of Nigerians for foreign food,
especially those of the custodians of state power tremendously changed
'.Nigeria which previously produced enough rice for its domestic needs,
imported some 60 million kilos of rice by 1977, that figure had risen to 246
million kilos (a rise of 340 percent) and was to rise again in 1978 to
1939.4 million kilos can increase of 688 percent).39

In other to influence, control and keep the petroleum industry within their
firm grip, the bourgeois class enacted series of legislations and engaged in
a private accumulation which made it possible for the huge amount of money
realized from oil to be privatized among themselves and their cronies, to
the neglect of the wealth bearing areas of the Niger Delta. Such obnoxious
legislations include the Land Use Act of 1978, Petroleum Act of 1969,
Anti-sabotage Decree of 1975, Decrees 16 of 1977, 18 of 1988, and 30 of
1999. The aim of these decrees '. was to ensure an uninterrupted production
and distribution of oil in the oil companies profit maximization and capital
accumulation bid.40

Nwankwo (1999) and Akani (2000) have stated the enormous amount of petroleum
wealth stolen by successive Nigerian leaders. In a special report on
Nigeria the Business African Magazine described Nigeria as a 'gangsters
paradise'. It noted that 'corruption is so much a way of life that evidence
of it is thrown about with impurity, because there is no rule of law.
Public officials flaunt wealth they could not have ordinary afford at home
and abroad. 41 According to Dr Pius Okadigbo's report, the sum of $12.4m
oil windfall in 1991 was spent by President Ibrahim Babangida on projects
that did not contribute anything to public interest. It was therefore, not
strange that the only legacy President Babangida bequeathed to Nigerians
before he was removed from office was the democratization of corruption and
the corruption of democracy. 42 According to the 2004 UNIDO report, the sum
of $107b belonging to Nigerians are in various foreign accounts as a result
of capital flight.43

The oil windfall also attracted many multinational companies in the country,
especially those in oil and gas industry. In fact there are about seventeen
oil producing companies from different parts of the world especially Europe
and North America.

As the multinational oil companies forage for oil and gas in the Niger Delta
region, nothing is an obstacle to them. Sacred forest, family graves,
historical sites, mangrove forest and aquatic life are mindlessly uprooted
and destroyed. Their seismic activities sometimes cause some cracks on the
walls of houses and affect the ears.

This is not surprising because, the oil industry is by its very nature a potentially massive polluter. Accidents arise from human error and equipment failure. In addition, the oil industry generates waste and other by - products potentially harmful to the environment in its routine operations.44

The environment is not only destroyed, but polluted beyond redemption and
human use. The gases these companies emit into the atmosphere not only
diminsh the protective effect of the ozone layer in the atmosphere, but the
constant gas flares into the atmosphere without the necessary regulation,
undoubtedly place the people in a never ending discomfort, reduction of
agricultural yield and acidic rain. The effect of this can be harmful to
the skin. Since the ozone layer serves as a shield to cover the earth
from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.45

The situation in the Niger Delta becomes more pitiable and pathetic when we
look at the world Bank Report which stated that 'Nigeria flares 76 percent
of natural gas in contrast to Libya's 21.0 percent, Saudi Arabia's 20
percent, Algeria's 4.0 percent, USA 0.6 percent and the Netherlands zero
percent.46 Again, from 1980 to 1997, the Niger Delta recorded about 2.209
oil spills with about 32,884.77 barrels of oil lost on the environment.
This is important considering the fact that the lackadaisical attitude of
the oil company officials and agents of the government makes it difficult to
properly record, clean, and recover these spills from the environment. 47

Sadly, the Niger Delta which was seen as the 'Venice of Africa' in the
colonial period, is now the 'internally colonized backwoods' of Nigeria's
new colonized capitalist social formation48. While the major capital cities
in the country expand in their munificence, the bourgeois class flaunt
their stolen wealth at any occasion in contrast to the rising frustration,
wailing, painful poverty, and land hunger. From 1974-1992, graduate
unemployment increased from 0.2% to 30.0%, decreasing to 12.1% in 1997. 49
Majority of these are Niger Delta youths. It is, therefore, natural as Okowa
asserted that,

A society driven by systemic corruption
and systemic injustice can only move
in a negative direction, for corruption
injustice and oppression are socially alienates force.

A society, which alienates the majority, is doomed to crises, and must incur the wrath of the youth (emphasize mine) 50

DIALECTICS OF YOUTHS RESTIRENESS IN THE NIGER DELTA.
By the 1990, the Niger Delta region was enveloped by a crisis of
unimaginable dimension. Unfortunately, while the government tried in its
cosmetic effort to mediate the crisis and contradictions, its dimension and
intensity have continued to deepen in our body politic, and widen the socio-
political confusion in the Nigerian state. The result is that Niger Delta is
not only in the hands of militia groups, but regarded by many as a 'bunker
of sorts', because of the sophistication of military and weapons of mass
destruction that can be found in the area.

This is not surprising because, the incessant restiveness, crises and
contradictions that have come to characterize the Niger Delta can only be
understood within the dialectical process of resource distribution,
production and consumption of wealth in the country. It is also germane to
state that it is not the exploited youths of the Niger Delta that have been
negatively affected by the skewed distributive system in the country, but
the profundity of the exploitation and contradictions combined to
determine the extent of the restiveness, especially in the 1990s. This was
when the youths were exposed to the affluence and beneficence of the ruling
class, especially Abuja the Nation's capital, in contrast to
increasing poverty and hopelessness in the country. Since the Nigerian
state could not assist them fulfill their dreams, assuage their rising
frustration, and protect their environment from destruction, the need for
self- identity and assurance became inevitable. As Fanon asserted 'every
generation must out of relative obscurity, disco

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