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Energy security in the delta of Nigeria

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Nigeria is the first African country to produce oil commercially. The essence of its energy resources is concentrated in the Delta of Niger, a prolific basin, overflowing on the territories of Cameroon, Guinea Equatorial, and Sao Tome and Principe. It is necessary to distinguish the ?geographical' delta from the ?political' delta. The former is related to the low plains of the river Niger; the second one comprises the regrouping of the States of Nigeria that is rich in energy resources. The delta of Niger counts approximately 10 million inhabitants.

It is one of the most populated rural areas of Nigeria, divided into 40 ethnic and sub- ethnic groups. Profiting from a large biodiversity, the delta is rich in natural resources and especially rich in hydrocarbons. Nigeria thus became the sixth biggest producer of OPEC, and oil accounts for 90% of the amount of exports. It produces nearly 25 million barrels per day and the oil reserves of Nigeria are estimated today at approximately 30 billion barrels. Although strategic, the Delta of Niger is an area shaken by recurring violence, which led to a true degradation of the situation in the Delta.

This factor is explained, inter alia, by the divergent visions of the ethnic communities, the State and the oil companies on the use and the exploitation of the energy resources. We also speak about the oil civil war where each actor wishes to capitalize on the operating profits of oil. In this document, we analyze the causes for the violence and the growing insecurity in the area. We also examine why the Delta of Niger is a true paradox: it is the crucible of the wealth of the country, and is also marked by persistent poverty and continuous violence. The revenues from oil did nothing but feed the conflicts between communities, oil companies and the State, instead of profiting with its rise.

The Delta lies in the region of low plain of the River Niger. It is bordered on the north by the confluence of the River Niger and River Forcados, to the south by the Isle of Nun, to the west by Benin, and to the east by the Imo River. The Delta extends over three states. This name has yet been extended to neighboring states- Imo, Anambra, Abia and Edo - which, because of the presence of oil, are subject to the same issues that states the heart of the delta. This delta therefore pertains to a wider political dimension; and the Delta ?policy" includes about 20 million people.

The Delta region is now divided into nine states in Nigeria: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, Rivers and Cross Rivers, and is home to nearly 20 million people. Forty ethnic or clans/groups - separate from each other, each with its own language ? benfit from this delta: they are divided into ethnic groups such as Ikwerre, the Etche, the Urhobo, the Efik, Ibibio, theKwale, the Isoko and Isekiri.

Tags: Nigeria, energy resources, biodiversity, ethnic communities, Delta of Niger, theKwale, the Isoko and Isekiri.

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