Niger Delta Militants Company Nigeria Limited: Articles of Association?


Ifeanyi Izeze

Mischief, a major preoccupation of the human mind has been perfected by government and its people in Nigeria. This clearly manifests in the hidden tones of most government policies and pronouncements concerning the Niger Delta. The “constructive engagement” proposal of subjecting youths of the region into armed limited company aimed at safeguarding oil installation for more revenue for Nigeria is a clear case.

This interesting line of thinking was disclosed when the Defense Minister, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed told the House of Representatives Committee on Defense that for the sake of lasting peace in the troubled oil-producing region, the Federal Government was considering engaging the services of the militants to police the oil and installations and pipelines to check vandalism.

His words: “We will engage them (militants) to police the oil pipelines. But they must first form themselves into limited liability companies for us to discuss with them. This will check the activities of even oil companies who cleverly engage in oil bunkering.

“The proposal is for the transformation of militants groups in the region into limited liability companies for the monitoring of pipeline vandalisms.”

“We are mainly concerned now with the pipeline vandalisation and survey has been conducted on how other countries have done it and this would require deeper analysis.

But on the kidnap cases, the minister said “the Niger Delta states needed to demonstrate the political will to punish offenders while enjoying the backing of the federal government.

“We have discussed with the governments of the states and right now from what we have discovered of recent, we are going to hold a meeting with the Rivers state government in whose state the incident of kidnapping has become a source of concern. I believe that Mr. President is on top of this and he is wading in.”

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) aptly described the government’s plan to employ militants as consultants to police oil pipelines and other installations as laughable. However, the organization’s comment on the federal government’s mindset was even more laughable.

“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) rejects the desperate and laughable proposal offered by the Nigerian Government through its Minister of Defense that militant groups should convert to limited liability companies and be contracted to police the pipelines in the Niger Delta region.”

What is MEND’s business in the vandalisation of oil pipelines and hostage taking for monetary gains by criminals? The Movement, except they have been deceiving the people, is supposed to be purely a pressure group bent on bringing the federal government to a negotiating table. Or is it a criminal gang that ruptures oil pipelines to siphon either refined products or raw crude oil for sale? God forbid.

Question for the federal government: There are more cases of pipeline vandalisation in the Abia- Enugu flank of the PPMC pipeline route system and the Lagos- Ogun flank than in the Niger Delta whether core or peripheral. Is the federal government saying that the cases of pipeline tapping or destructions across the country were carried out by Niger Delta militants?

Nigerians would want to know if the Niger Delta Militants Company Nigeria Limited will be charged with the protection of pipelines outside the region or are we expecting other regional vandals’ companies incorporated?

One virtually media ignored and unreported development in the country is the fact that there have been far more recorded cases of kidnapping/hostage taking in the south east particularly Abia state that all the recorded cases in the entire Niger Delta. In the affected areas, the attraction is purely economic and to settle political scores. Anyway, this is just an information to the Defense Minister.

MEND actually got the description right by saying it was a mere joke or rather a careless talk by the Defense Minister.

From obvious indications, the minister does not understand the meaning of the term militancy. These are people who have vowed to disrupt the status quo ante by violent means or dialogue depending on the disposition of the structure they are opposing.

As was aptly capture by a concerned Nigeria, the defense minister’s proposal was an expression of the federal government’s complete lack of vision and direction on the matter. If this is the mindset of everybody in Yar’Adua’s cabinet, then obviously there is leadership vacuum in Nigeria.

President Yar’Adua aptly painted the picture of the situation in the Niger Delta in his comment a recent interview with a foreign media. He agreed that the Niger Delta problem is a problem where there are lots of interests, and lots of criminalities.

However, he failed to add that the covert interests and criminality of people in and around Government especially the Abuja government far outweighs any other interest and oil-related criminal acts that is going on in the Niger Delta. And that the insincerity of government in negotiating a workable solution to the agitation, every day has helped the struggle to grow in organization, sophistication and determination and has even helped the agitation to look more attractive to hitherto uninterested youths of the region and even mercenaries from other regions.

Niger Delta people would want to know any serious step by the federal government to address some of the issues in the conflict. None! And I mean not a single one rather it is coming up with a proposal of subjecting youths of the region into armed limited company aimed at safeguarding oil installation for more revenue for Nigeria.

TO enable a comprehensive packaging of the Article of Association or rather a Memorandum of Understanding for the proposed Niger Delta Militants Nigeria Limited, the Federal Government needs to clarify certain crucial issues.

First, how is the company going to be registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission- as a private militant business or a government parastatal/agency?

For effective policing of oil pipelines and other installations, will the militants be armed by the federal government or they will be allowed to continue to procure their arms and ammunitions?

Supposing the federal government will arm the staff of the militants company for effective community or rather oil facilities’ policing, how are they going to operate- like the police, vigilante or other armed forces?

The federal government would be surprised to know that everybody- old and young, men and women, in the Niger Delta is a militant dormant or active. If they are not directly involved in arms struggle now, they provide sympathy and support services to the active youths in arms.