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The Oil rich Niger Delta Region has been bedeviled with various security challenges over the years, such as Militancy, kidnapping, cultism, oil bunkering, piracy as well as chieftaincy and communal clash.

This report, x-rays the remote and immediate causes, implications and possible solutions to security issues  in the region. 

Incidents of security challenges in Niger Delta region keep reoccurring and manifesting in different forms. 

From kidnapping to ritual killing, piracy and cult related activities, leading to loss of lives and property as well as causing palpable fear among residents. 

Last year, the Divisional Police Officer, DPO of Ahoada Division, Superintendent of Police Bako  Angbashim was murdered and his body dismembered by suspected cult gang in Ahoada, Rivers State. 

Earlier this year, the media space was awash with the story of the gruesome murder of seventeen military personnel in Okuama Community Delta State.

Commercial and private vehicles have been attacked and passengers kidnapped. 

The water ways are not spared either, as seafarers have been waylaid and taken to custody.  

Just last week there was suspected  detonation of explosive device during a road match by political gladiators in Rivers State. 

In Cross River for instance, communal clash and cultism held sway leading to loss of lives and property. 

Former Security Adviser to former Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, Mr. Rekpene Bassey traced the issues to bad governance, proliferation of arms and land disputes. 

Mr. Bassey who is the current president of African Council on Narcotics believe that drug and substance abuse are equally contributory factors. 

Rekpene Bassey

To Bayelsa State Based Development Scholar and Public Affairs Analyst, Mr. Dan Orufa, the failure of Amnesty programme to achieve its main objective added to security issues in Niger Delta Region. 

Mr. Orufa argued that Amnesty was set up to actualize disarmament, demobilization and re-integration, but not much was achieved especially in the area of re-integration of former agitators to the society through skill acquisition, education and reorientation. 

According to him “most of them went back to violence due to their existing violence networks and lack of change or orientation. Secondly, the programme neglected non-combatants and made violence seem to be the means to gain attention, power and wealth. This gave some others a reason to indulge”

In his view, a security expert and Professor of intelligence and security studies, Professor Zems Mathias identified politics and quest for power in Rivers State for instance, as a security risk. 

Professor Mathias who retired as assistant commissioner of Police noted that some times political gladiators empower some group of boys to enable them win elections by  foul means which has led to violent confrontations during elections. 

He however expressed hope that with reorientation, education and skill acquisition, the situation could be remedied. 

in the same vein, the Managing Director Niger Delta Development Commission Dr Samuel Ogbuku said that the interventionist agency has  a robust empowerment initiative  for  youths of the region, called Holistic Opportunities Programmes and Engagement. 

Dr. Ogbuku explained that the initiative christened Project Hope is set up to train at least ten thousand youths in five different areas including, Agriculture, technology, internship, entrepreneurial development, music cum arts to take their minds off crimes. 

He stated  that NDDC is  constructing Army Jetty in Warri to assist security agencies combat crimes in the maritime environment. 

The MD NDDC insisted that part of the efforts to combat crimes in the region, as well as find solutions to other problems of ecology and environment, the Agency has put in place Niger Delta Stakeholders summit, to provide the people a platform to brainstorm and come up with lasting solutions to challenges facing the oil rich region. 

The respondents were unanimous that with job creation, good governance, even distribution of common wealth, education and skill acquisition, security challenges in Niger Delta region would be reduced to a barest minimum. 

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