THE NIGER DELTA STORY: A Tale of Betrayal and Rape By Abai Francis

updated 04 Jul, 2024

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful woman known by the name, Niger Delta. She was richly endowed with the wealth of nature. So attractive was her beauty that most admirers who came across this woman craved for a romance with her.

At the height of the reign of her beauty, many suitors began to woo her in their bid to win her over. Top among these suitors were some very influential ones, three of whom are popularly known as: the IOCs (International Oil Companies), the Government, and then there was one other simply named as Leadership. All of these suitors brought gifts and made promises of an everlasting and unconditional love if only she would choose to take one of them as her partner.

Not knowing where to begin, and quite fascinated with the strange looks of one of the suitors, the Niger Delta first decided to go on a date with the IOCs, who helped in using its global connection to boost her reputation as an attractive investment hub. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) began to trickle into her domain which gave her easy access to foreign luxuries as well as avail her with opportunities for improving the wellbeing of her people, especially in their gaining foreign education through sponsorships and also attracting some mild form of infrastructural interventions.

But in no time, the Niger Delta soon discovered that the IOCs promise of everlasting and unconditional love to her was only a farce as she learned that the IOCs was certainly an investor primarily interested in using her to make huge profits for itself. These selfish suitor cared less on the effects of its actions on her natural beauty which was slowly turning into filth from the toxicity she began to experience in the relationship. More painful was the sad truth she also learned, which was that all the wealth the IOCs had enticed her with could best be likened to just a drop of water in the ocean in comparison to how much wealth she had given it from her natural endowment.

Heartbroken, the Niger Delta soon turned from the IOCs to the Government, who had earlier, in addition to the promise of everlasting and unconditional love, confessed to use its might to protect her from abuse. She decided to give the Government a chance as she sensed that truly it commanded a great influence in the territory that the Niger Delta is domiciled in. Moreover, the Niger Delta believed that this new suitor will carry her people along in the scheme of things having had the privilege to replace her former suitor that cared less.

Truly, the Government propagated laws which appeared on the surface to project and protect her beauty as a pride to it. The Government (although after some protests from her) established some reliefs and benefits that were due to her as the queen that she was; afterall, her natural endowment opened gateways to more wealth for her second suitor, further expanding its fortune and fame.

However, the Niger Delta soon began to feel insecure when she discovered that, overtime, the Government was dancing to the tune of her former suitor, the IOCs. Infact, the Government began to play the role of a defender of the IOCs thereby betraying its commitment and promise to protect her. And just like the IOCs, she sensed that the Government lacks the will to protect her interests. Sometimes her resistance against the injustices and oppression perpetrated on her by the Government led to violent attacks on her that further degraded her once goddess look of beauty. Not long afterwards, the relationship turned sour.

The Niger Delta, who was now left with no option, then turned from the IOCs and the Government to her third suitor, known as Leadership. Without any iota of doubt, she believed that being at home with her own would guarantee her true happiness, fulfillment, and protection. Afterall, Leadership was more conversant with the way of her people. This is because, among her suitors, Leadership was the only one that was a native. She had first and secondly opted for her former two suitors, who were strangers, because she had saw it as an opportunity to expand her race beyond her native frontiers and also to learn more about the culture and tradition of her foreign suitors. Unfortunately, her decision proved fatal.

Leadership quickly accepted the Niger Delta's overtures. Both of them were so much in love that there was no need to waste any more time on going on dates. The two of them immediately tied the knot in a marriage ceremony that became an attraction in the global stage, even making the IOCs and the Government to begin to feel jealous.

Leadership, who always love to pamper his wife, when he saw how her beauty had been disfigured over the years by her romance with her exes, began to stage peaceful protests for compensation to be paid to her by them. But the peaceful protests soon turned violent when the two exes, rather than apologize, counted on the wealth they had gotten from the Niger Delta to brutally challenged the protest of her new found love. And so a battle of supremacy began, with Leadership on the one hand pitted against two powerful entities: the IOCs and the Government.

Fireworks amongst the trio began and intensified, prompting the intervention of neutral parties in the dispute. It was concluded at a public sitting that indeed the IOCs and the Government had taken advantage of the Niger Delta and ripped her off of her endowments. As such they were both guilty and are entitled to make reparations. After much resistance, peace was brokered among the trio and a fund was established to compensate her.

Leadership, as the head of the union with the Niger Delta, took charge of this windfall of fortune. But unlike the IOCs and the Government, Leadership has not been exposed to handling so much wealth, and soon it began to lose its sense of loyalty to the Niger Delta as the influence that too much money wielded overtook its mind. Things became worse to the extent that Leadership feasted on the wealth of the Niger Delta without ever thinking of remitting back a share to her to keep its beauty in shape.

It did not take long thereafter for the Niger Delta to come to the realisation that all three suitors, even though their backgrounds differ, were all the same: they were all consumed by greed and were only interested in using her endowed resources to their advantage. Till date, the goddess beauty of the once Niger Delta is yet to be restored fully even though frantic efforts are made in that direction by those who pitied her. But the most tragedy of all is the betrayal and rape on her dignity by those who she called her own.

The above narrative is an indictment on the majority of stakeholders in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, both foreigners and locals alike, who have over the years exploited the region for their selfish and greedy agenda while all the while pretending they care for her ravaged state of existence. So, are you one of her oppressors?

Image Credit: Ripples Nigeria

#penglobaldiscourse #NigerDelta

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