Between Boko Haram, Biafra and the Niger Delta

Between Boko Haram, Biafra and the Niger Delta

When Boko Haram captured territory in Nigeria’s northeast last year and declared a caliphate, there were real fears for the sovereignty of Africa’s most populous nation. A deadline is looming for the military to end the six years of violence, with signs that troops have wrested back control of most of the towns and villages lost to the Islamists.

But now President Muhammadu Buhari is facing another potential headache with the revival of separatist sentiment in the country’s southeast and renewed debate over the sharing of oil wealth. Recent weeks have seen a wave of protests calling for an independent state of Biafra, 45 years after the end of the brutal civil sparked by a previous declaration of independence.

Now, campaigners in the oil-producing Niger delta are demanding total control of resources to develop the region, which remains under-developed despite billions of dollars earned from crude. Last Friday, the Niger Delta Self-Determination Movement (NDSDM) lobby group, declared the current agreement, whereby oil revenue is divided among Nigeria’s 36 states, was unfair.

“The 13 percent (share for the Niger Delta) enshrined in the 1999 constitution by the military is depriving us of our God-given resources,” the group’s convener Annkio Briggs told reporters in Lagos. Read more

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