As the government becomes completely preoccupied with the oil sector, any disruption caused to oil production is often immediately visited by superior violence, often justified on the basis of national security. This conceptualization of national security is not only faulty but fictitious. The punitive attacks that take place whenever oil production is threatened too seriously create a burning sense of injustice, especially as, in most cases they are untargeted or acts of mass punishment for dissent as occurred in Ogoni in the 1990s. Over the years so called actions for national security have opened the question for ordinary people in the Niger delta of how and to what extent people should resist a state that has abandoned its responsibility to care for and assist the people from whom it should draw its authority. This is more so in our society that has for long existed on such a state of dislocation that people with grievances have little or no confidence in the capacity or will of government to address their concerns.

 

When the government and the oil companies talk of threat to national security by the crises in the Niger delta therefore what is meant is a threat to unhindered access to exploit oil and gas. This negates the very community’s assertion that the manner in which oil resources are exploited from their land destroys their very means of livelihoods, thereby making them insecure. Security or peace for them therefore is a condition in which there is a cessation of this irresponsible socially unaccountable exploitation of resources or the exploitation of the resources in a socially and environmentally friendly manner that in addition guarantees them a reasonable proportion of the resources of their land for their own development. This divergent view held about the import of security in the region underlines the very basis of not only how oil and gas resources are exploited in the country but also the crisis situation it has created in the region.

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