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Niger Delta and the struggle for resource control: Parradigm from the Old Testament

Niger Delta and the struggle for resource control: Parradigm from the Old Testament

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Published by: Bernard on Jan 27, 2010
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NIGER DELTA AND THE STRUGGLE FORRESOURCE CONTROL:PARADIGM FROM THE OLD TESTAMENTA SEMINAR PAPERPRESENTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTSFOR THE AWARD OF MASTER OF ARTS (M.A.) RELIGIONBYITEBIYE, BERNARD OZIEGBE (REVD)REG. NUMBER: PG/MA/04/35639COURSE: MASTERS RESEARCH SEMINAR (REL. 502)SUPERVISOR: DR. MALACHY I. OKWUEZEDEPARTMENT OF RELIGIONUNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NSUKKA.JULY, 2006.TOPIC: NIGER DELTA AND THE STRUGGLE FOR RESOURCE CONTROL: PARADIGMS FROM THE OLDTESTAMENTOUTLINE1.Introduction2.definition of Terms3.The Issues Involve4.Paradigm from the Old Testament:An Analysis of Numbers 31:27JusticeEquity5.Conclusion and Suggested SolutionBibliography1.INTRODUCTION
 
א׃ ןבל לכןתא־ ל החכנן חמא בןחרב הלשכי־ כ ךמעח קןחרמ הקדצו טפשמ ךןחא נסהו
(“And judgment is turned away backward and justice stands far away; for truth isfallen in the street and equity cannot enter.”) Isaiah 59:14.Peace is the work of justice indirectly, in so far as justice removes theobstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity,according to its very notion, causes peace.-Saint Thomas Aquinas(As quoted in Braining quotes, 2005)
 
Justice (Hebrew =
הקָדָצִ
) and equity (Hebrew =
רשָימֵ
) are the hall mark of everysociety that operates under the rule of Law, both in the Old Testament era andnow. It entails rendering to everyone that which is his due. The “Justice of theLORD” (Hebrew =
הוָהיְ תקַדְצִ
) or God’s justice (Deuteronomy 33:21) as revealed inthe Old Testament is not only the perfection of his nature, whereby he isinfinitely righteous in himself and all that he does, but an important requirementof all his rational creatures.In recent years, oil production in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region has beencharacterized by heightened restiveness, resulting in loss of man hours and inmany cases lives and property. The people of the Niger Delta are claiming thatthey have been unjustly treated; they have suffered from environmental degradationof their land and the displacement of their communities and have received nobenefits from over 40 years of oil extraction. They are therefore agitating forResource Control (Adenikinju, 2002: 3).Much has been written, especially in form of journals, periodicals, articles,field reports, essays, seminal papers, et cetera, on the issue of Resource Control(and other related crises in the Niger Delta region), but all appear to see thesubject as political or economic problem and nothing seems to change. Moreover,there has been a clear case of the theoretical limitations of trying to apply warand conflict theories or what Soremekun (2004: 21) refers to as “the nexus betweenone general and useful interaction and conflict” to the Niger Delta worseningcrisis, while paying little or no attention to what Omoweh (2004: 11) refers to as“the dialectics of the conflicts”. The dialectics of the Niger Delta crisis in ouropinion is what we ought to do that we failed to do and what we ought not to dothat we did – a clear apparent lack of Justice, equity and fairness.2.DEFINITION OF TERMS:Struggle: A.S. Hornby’s Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary of Current English(2000: 1190) defines struggle as, “to try very hard to do something when it isdifficult or when there are a lot of problems”. It therefore maens a great effortmade over a period of time to overcome difficulties or achieve something.Resource: It has been defined as “Every natural element which is of use” to man(Ugwu, 2004:2). The list of the natural element is very long and even includes“conditions of climate and land forms”. In addition to these, man uses some of theinorganic materials of the earth and some of its natural vegetable and animallife. These are not grown or manufactured by human enterprise but simply exist asparts of the natural earth, and unlike climate and land form, man actuallyconsumes them or fashions them into more useful forms (Ugwu, 2004:2). Because theyeither are obtained from the earth or exist in or upon it, they are callednatural, or earth resources.Control: To control means three things: (i) to manage- command, supervise, run,direct or organize; (ii) to rule- manipulate, influence, dominate, have a holdover, hold sway over or dictate; and (iii) to oversee- monitor, regulate, inspect,etc.Paradigm: A paradigm is a typical example of something or a model that forms basisof something. It is an example that serves as a pattern or model for something,especially one that forms the basis of a methodology or theory.In other words, the struggle for resource control means making great effort to
 
manage, organize and rule over the natural elements – organic or inorganic withinones domain or territory. But the struggle in the Niger Delta is assuming whatNaanen (2004: 4) refers to as “a hugely complex enigma that is difficult tointerpret”. What are the issues involved?3.THE ISSUES INVOLVED IN THE STRUGGLE FOR RESOURCE CONTROL IN THE NIGER DELTA:Patterson Ogon (2006: 12) submits that the Land Use Act, which he described as “acontentious piece of legislation” is the main issue in the Niger Delta crisis.Ibeanu (2003: 17) agrees and said that the land issue is “mirrored in the variousprotest and demands by ethno-nationalist, community groups and social movements inNigeria’s oil belt”. Indeed, the Ogoni Bill of Rights (1990) and the KaiamaDeclaration of 11 December 1998 made strong reference to this Act. Part of thedeclaration states:1.All land and natural resources (including mineral resources) within the Ijawterritory belong to Ijaw communities and are the basis of our survival.2.We cease to recognize all undemocratic decrees that rob ourPeoples/communities of the right to ownership and control of our livesand resources, which were enacted without our participation and consent. Theseinclude the Land Use Decree and The Petroleum Decree etc (Kaiama Devlaration,1998: 3)However, the issues can better be articulated as follows:1.Oil spillage.2.Gas flaring.3.Environmental degradation.4.Poor health status5.Poverty6.Pipeline explosions.7.Limited government/public sector presence8.Distrust of the government/petrobusiness alliance.9.Lack of basic infrastructure.10.Political marginalization.(Ile and Akukwe, 2001)Oil Spillage: The issue of spillage is as old as drilling itself. In every areawhere there is oil exploration, oil crude spills on the surface of the earth andsurrounding waters. This kills plants, defertilizes the earth, harms animals,fouls farmlands, and destroys aquatic life. Consequently, farming and fishingindustries, the major sources of economic sustenance in oil producing areas havesuffered irredeemably from oil exploration.Gas Flaring: Nigeria flares more gas than any other nation in the world. At least75 percent of Nigeria's total gas production is flared, and about 95 percent ofassociated gas, a by-product of crude oil extraction from reservoirs. According tothe Nigeria's Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), between 1998 and 1999, thetotal volume of gas utilization for industrial and domestic use in Nigeria wasapproximately 916 million standard cubic meters. However, during the same period,the oil producing companies flared about 1.7 billion standard cubic meters ofassociated gas (Ile and Akukwe, 2001: 15). Much of the flared gas, it must benoted, is methane, with high warming potentials, and prone destructive healthhazards.Environmental Degradation: According to the World Bank, there are five greatplagues of mankind: war, famine, pestilence, environmental pollution, and death.The Niger Delta is in the throes of becoming an environmental wastebasket. DimieriVon Kemedi ( 2003: 17), quoting David Moffat and Professor Olof Linden ofStockholm University, the World Bank environment specialists, gives this vividpicture:Even official statistics suggest that every year the delta is polluted by 2.3billion cubic metres of oil from some 300 separate spills, almost one a day, but

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