THE NIGER DELTA CRISIS: ITS IMPACT ON NIGERIA’S NATIONAL SECURITY
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In 2002, an international observation proclaimed the Niger Delta as one of the most volatile regions of the world. This observation came on the heels of incessant crisis which the region have been witnessing for decades but which took alarming dimension in losing years of the 1990’s and the opening years of the new millennium. The region from one decade to another has witnessed unprecedented crisis which revolve round political and most importantly economic factors. Also from one decade to another the nature and dynamics of crisis in the region have changed, the transformations which the crisis took from the one period to another have paved way for its institutionalization in the history of the region and Nigeria in general.1 If the institutionalization in the history of the Niger Delta crisis in the politics and economy of the country is something to discuss, the threat which it has been posing and still posing to domestic and international security of the Nigerian nation state is an aspect which requires critical academic enquiry.
A systematic analysis of the crisis is informed by my intention to identify the changing dynamics of what constitutes national security over the years and how the nation state of Nigeria have been contending with the threat which the Niger Delta crisis is posing to the so called national security. National security questions is a complex of political, legal, social, economic, ideological and military problems that arises in the course of a people struggling for political and economic independence and for the establishment of equal and friendly relations with other people in the bilateral and international affairs.
It is imperative to see how regional based crisis affect the survival of the entire country and how the political entity called Nigeria have been dealing with the changing dynamics of the crisis, the current study therefore understands that the concept of national security is fluid and dynamic. All nations of the world contend and will continue to contend with the challenges arising from the national security. To Nigeria, the complicated nature of the Niger Delta crisis poses serious and enduring threat to the fragile nature of Nigerian democracy and the ever volatile national security.
What this work explores is the complexity involved in the maintenance of national security which arose as a result of the crisis in the Niger Delta. For the purpose of this research, the concept of National Security questions and the contributions of Niger Delta crisis are both international and domestic in nature.