Saturday, July 07, 2007

Niger Delta: the abused mistress; constantly promised marriage

Margaret Hill, the three year old daughter of a British expatriate worker has been kidnapped in the Niger Delta on her way to school. The militant groups have reached an ultimate low as in desperation they have turned to the innocent children. Many people have raised an uproar and it was reported on the BBC UK website that the British Consulate is demanding an immediate release of the child.

So far, all those who have heard about this story, have heaped alot of curses and insults of outrage and disgust on whoever is responsible (as it is the usual culprits MEND have denied involvement); which of course is not unwarranted. But I am curious to see if anyone is aware of the bigger picture at stake.

I am not too sure of the geography of the niger delta but from my own understanding (and here I emphasise the word "my"), the niger delta probably began its decline after the Biafran war. The discovery of oil is probably the biggest catastrophe to befall the region. the last time I was there which was in 2002 when I made road trip through the east, we passed abandoned farm lands and riverways; made unusable and toxic by the resultant pollutants of exploration.

For a people who have been reliant on the land for their livelihood, the inability to use these must mean an immediate and destruction of their socio-economy. Now, I am not much of a politician and I am aniticipating the comments to this post to be lengthy discourses on how incomplete my analysis is; but I need to ask how any one is surprised that suddenly out of the ashes of a raped and defiled people arose a vigilante group emulating terrorist antics as their only means to garner attention.

The thing is though that just like their terrorist mentors, the only response their going to get is a reciprocated show of force. To appease their foreign masters, the Nigerian government is going to dispense on the offense military force instructed to take no prisoners and leave no stone unturned. What we are going to now see is an even greater disaster to the Niger Delta people than they are already experiencing.

For a region that gave Nigerians the audacity to walk around with the arrogant pride of people of means, they sure have very little to show for it. All their great minds have either been poached or fled to the south west or Abuja or worse still to the same foreign lands that are responsible for the abuse of their people. All those who remain are not skilled enough to manage what little they have or are more motivated by a sense or entitlement and greed that they covet it all for their private and personal gain.

I am in no way advocating for militant groups. Violence and intimidation never gets the desired result and only breeds hostility. As it is, many are forgetting that the most violent of Nigerians reside in the Sharia brainwashed states of the north (yeah, i said it, go burn what's left of Kano)and are writing the vibrant and colourful people of the Niger delta as a bunch of trigger happy, barely literate, errant individuals. Some of them are but the majority are just like you and I, praying for the morning to bring a respite to their problems.

I pray Margaret is returned home soon. She is only three and only God knows what the poor thing is going through. And her mother is probably loosing her mind.
I am also praying for an end to the rape of the Niger Delta. Like any woman who has been abused for so long and too long, she too adopts the characteristics of her abuse and uses it on others, whether they have anything to do with her condition or not.

23 comments:

O.šeyï said...

That was a well wrıtten opınıon but as they always say there are many sıdes to a story.

The Nıger Delta sıtuatıon ıs volatıle. I belıeve the government's hands are tıed ın that, yes many are sufferıng for the atrocıtıes of the few, but lenıency for such mısdeeds wıll only be encouragıng MEND and crımınous others to contınue such acts. The problem ıs our goverment ıs not beıng effıcıent ın ıts reprımand so the desıred effects are practıcally non-exıstent. Its almost lıke spankıng a chıld and the chıld ends up laughıng...you know youre not gettıng across.
We cant say for sure that MEND ıs actually responsıble for the kıdnappıng? Anyone could be doıng thıs, takıng advantage of the sıtuatıon, and earnıng quıck bucks. Who knows! Its really terrıble and ı hope more focus and energıes are geared towards quellıng the tensıon ın thıs regıon... takıng theır needs ınto consıderatıon and gıvıng them what they truly deserve. Its always Greed...thats whats really kıllıng us.

I have to say though...her parents were stupıd for exposıng her to such hostılıty. It ıs theır job be aware of the envıronmental condıtıons and to take approprıate measures to protect theır chıld. Its really a terrıble shame.

laspapi said...

your write-up was a balanced one, I think. There are many perspectives on this matter but the raping and pillaging of the Niger-Delta is wrong, as is the abduction of a three year old girl.

Koluki said...

Thanks for this lucid analysis. I cannot claim any expert knowledge of Nigeria, so even if you say your analysis is partial I got lived and fresh information from it.
I also hope the child is freed soon. But I don't understand why the police discouraged the parents from exchanging the girl with the father, as the kidnappers requested?

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Margaret Hill was just released accoring to BBC. Thank God for his mercies.

Nice write-up. Actually pretty inspiring.....

Akin said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a perspective on the matter.

Like I said in my original blog on the Margaret Hill kidnap, I have never had a forceful opinion on issues in the Niger Delta.

However, from an international observer's perspective a lot of what is going on there is wrong and it would appear 8 years of an ex-military man as president without a vision did not help the situation there either.

In my view, there is no cause that can justify the kidnapping of a child and I am implacable on that matter.

How a more "progressive organisation" like MOSOP which Ken Saro Wiwa represented lost out to criminal and terrorist organisations like MEND and their ilk is need of some serious research.

I think your write-up and comments are beginning to lift the lid on that matter.

But criminals most be caught and prosecuted - rape or desperation - notwithstanding.

יש (Yosh) said...

nice write up o! U'd sure give yrself catwalq points on this! :)

The ND is a ticking bomb! A road trip, just like you had, is the easiest way to have a surface feel of going-ons there...the closest I've felt is PHC (esp. the outskirts) and then Warri itself (everywhere, hinterland and mainland). It was everywhere, I didn't have to strap myself as a journalist to see it.

I'm tired of "hoping" things change, but looking at the situation, I wonder what else can be done, but to hope!

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I have to correct some of your "analysis".

You mentioned flight of some Delta money to South West Nigeria. Much of SW Nigeria was built up during the Awo years, on cocoa toil, not on money from the Delta. And a Yoruba man has only been president since 1999. Every other post-independence year before then was dictated by the Northerners, who ensured that any "flight" was to the North of Nigeria. The fact that one group of Nigerians decided to concentrate on educating their children, building infrastructure and living peaceful lives does not mean that they should be blamed for every problem in Nigeria.

NikkiSab said...

Information reaching me from the daily newspapers is dat the little darling has been returned. This kidnapping is getting out of hand and i really hate the look of this on our country. I am so proud of 9ja but shit like dis paints us blackker dan black. thanks for dropping by commorade!!

יש (Yosh) said...

@Anon: She didn't imply that the more thriving group in Naija is to blame for Naija's issues...or the mismanagement by the few. if you have to dig up a can of worms, by looking into "where" the oil wealth has gone and by "whom", you may find that such a conclusion isn't necessarily dangerously wrong, per se

catwalq said...

@Oseyi: Whilst I agree with you one must not forget that if you beat a child for stealing because he/she was hungry and not only do you not solve the peoblem by giving the child something to eat but you continue to abuse the child and force the child to work and do all sorts of things so that YOU can eat, then one day, the child will poison you.

@Laspapi:I agree and thank you for stopping by

@Koluki: The girl has been brought home. And I could not figure it out either. I guess the idea was not to go from frying pan to fire but anything to protect a three year old is acceptable. Funny though, we did not hear about child kidnapings until it involved a hald white girl....

@Solomomsydelle: thanks for the welcome news

@Akin: Mosop can give birth and way to MEND. Why? Where are its founders? Ken Saro Wiwa was killed... as were many others. Those left are too embittered or scared to fight.

@Yosh: weting man go do?

@Anonymous: me thinks you misunderstood me.

@Nikisab: as well as many other things

@Yosh:My voltron. *sigh*

The Last King Of Scotland said...

thank God she's been released

Ugo Daniels said...

In reply to your comment on Solomonsydelles Blog

@Catwalq: your comment reeks of an unbiased attitude and full of prejudice. You categorization adn generalization is another thing worthy of mention here. Is there a statistical result stating that the Igbos are the main '419' people like you mentioned. Instead of basing your argument on mere rumours, i would be glad you have a balanced report and not some myopic BS.

If you know a bit about the history of Nigeria, you wouldn't have made that assertion. It definitely goes beyond what you(we) see.

I don't wanna sound sentimental or tribalistic, but i believe no human being on this earth can make me feel underappreciated or undervalued.

You claim you're Yoruba, yet you have so much 'assumed' information on the Igbo's. I find this so satirical and at the very least, completely illogical.

Next time, try to base on your argument on facts and figures, cos someone somewhere may be greatly offended by your offhandedness.

'nuff said

:(

AbujaBabe said...

Love your write up.

Yes a small innocent child was kidnapped we thank God she is safe, well and home but there is a bigger picture like u rightfully said.

The Niger Delta Situation is indeed a volatile one if the place could explode it would have by now!!

We Just thank God Magagret is home safe.

Ciao..xx

catwalq said...

Dear Ugo,
I read your response to my post and I am convinced you misunderstood my point of view.
I am aware that many Igbos are not fraudulent. I am just saying that if the same amount of time it took them as "manufacturers" and "dealers" to create substandard knock offs and fake products, was channelled towards perfectng their craft, they would be a stronger foce to be reckoned with. I base my analysis on facts.
Substandard goods are "aba made". Whether or not that is your state, it belongs to the Igbos. Imagine if the "Aba Made" tag was an indication of superior quality and stamped on every good that we as Nigerians use, imagine how much power that will be.
Until your fellow nigerians are convinced that as a people you are committed towards the attainment of a higher standard and not personal gratification, they will continue to brush you as a people aside.
As it is, most of your leaders are always embroildered in one scandal or another. Some have imvolved pseudo mafias and shrines.
I do know a good amount of my country's history. I am not sure if you understood my comments about the Biafran war. I am very aware of its effect on the Igbos and national status. I have lived with people who survived the atrocities. All I am saying is that in today's world, if Igbos did more to benefit themselves as people and not as individuals, then it would not be so easy for them to be ignored on a national scale.

Ugo Daniels said...

REJOINDER: CATWALQ

Seriously, my dear, i would have preferred you didn't answer my comment than add more salt to the injury. Your extent of generalization baffles me. See, i stay in a flat, 2 bedroom flat, fully furnished and presently accomodating 2 NIgerians, one is from Osun and the other is from Kogi state. I never met them before here.

I cannot because of that generalize that Yoruba's or MId-Eastern's are squatters. it cannot in any wau becloud my sense of reasoning as i know everybody, regardless of ethnic group is guilty of all the crimes you're listing.

Ok, lemme ask you? have you ever drank satchet water in Nigeria..YES, NO! If yes, do you know that it's substandard and you're still drinking it. Have you entered Okada before? YES? Ok, do you know it's substandard. There are countless Taxi's around, if you cannot afford a car.

There are countless reasons to prove your allegations wrong. I'm not trying to be biased or sound tribalistic at most. I just feel peeved when peeps i respect so much come around to say things that are better left not said.

Are you aware of how many families that are alive today because of what they earn from the so called inferior 'Aba Goods' Does that mean if a Nigerian manufactures a car (not assemble one), it'll be inferior?

I'm sorry to say this, but the tone of your words sounds biased and prejudiced, not like i care less. So, is it the yoruba's that have attained a higher standards or what? You really amaze me with your assertions.

I don't know about people being brushed aside. All i can speak is for myself. I have always been in positions to help fellow NIgerians and most of them are yoruba's cos i spent part of my life in lagos and know them very well.

LOL@ igbo leaders inmeshed in one csandal or the other. I cannot disagree with that. My problem with you is you have this 'FIXED MENTALITY' or better still 'A MINDSET' about the igbos. The funny thing is i've actually met alot like you and i'm not disappointed.

For the records, all you've said is true and happens all the time BUT for you to throw it at Igbo's saying and generalizing absolutely, no relativity whatsoever, is completely fallacious, illogical and untenable

Do have a lovely day Ms Catwalq

PS: probably, you've been living with the wrong neighbours, well, depends on the hood or zone :)

Ugo Daniels said...

Hey, 'sup. hope ur ok? :)

Pink-satin said...

thank God they have returned that margaret hill girl

exschoolnerd said...

Heard she was released yesterday or so.Thank God!!!

IJEOMA said...

THANK GOD MARGARET IS HOME AND SAFE.. I WISH I COULD SAY THE SAME ABOUT THE PEOPLE OF THE NIGER DELTA.. AN EXCELLENT POST ONCE AGAIN!

Mr.Fineboy said...

Very good post. That was insightful and interesting....hmm pink-satin, well done. Different angle.

Afolabi said...

hi catwalq, how's life, the situation in the niger delta is confusing and pathetic. It has different arguements based on what side of the bar you are. But the truth is that there is so much suffering and poverty in the regions where oil is exploited. Yet, most oil companies set up programs for the benefit of the people. Though the benefits really don't go to the people, but some stupid bunch of men. Even, the oil companies are to bllame. I don't have any proof or backing for this, but I am quite familiar with this issue and the area. thank God, she's been returned to her parents.

pamelastitch said...

HMM!!! I HAVE NEVER SEEN UGO UPSET!!
:(

ANOTHER CHILD HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED!!

catwalq said...

@PAMELA: MY SISTAH, HELP ME BEG UGO O

OYA, UGO: IGBOS ARE PERFECT AND NICE.