THE NIGERIAN MILITARY COUNTERINSURGENCY IN THE NIGER DELTA NIGERIA, 1999-2009

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ABSTRACT

The study examines the constraints faced by the Nigerian military in carrying out counterinsurgency in the Niger Delta of Nigeria between 1999 and 2009. The study argues that there are significant problems in relying on conventional forces to engage in specialized COIN operations like the insurgency in the Niger Delta. The Nigerian military commitment to specialized COIN appeared negligible and it more often than not regarded its mission in the Niger Delta essentially in conventional military terms. As long as the COIN lasted, the military organization appeared to have been reluctant in changing the acceptable ways of conventional military operations, especially at the tactical level. Indeed, the Nigerian military COIN operation in the Niger Delta was distinguished more by its conventionality than by its adaptiveness. Consequently, continuity rather than change defined the COIN operations of the Nigerian military in the Niger Delta. Such continuity was made possible by the Nigerian military bandwidth problem and the Nigerian military organization. A unconventional coastal insurgency in a complex and difficult terrain was a significant departure from conventional war preparedness the Nigerian military were often exposed to in their training, composition and structure. Indeed, the entire military organization had to adapt and learn fast in response to changing realities evident in the Niger Delta insurgency. The Niger Delta insurgency required innovation and adaptation, but the Nigerian military were constrained by slow institutional modifications made possible by an overwhelming military bandwidth problem. In all, the Niger Delta insurgency was a new kind of war for the Nigerian military. In such a war, the Nigerian military was constrained by military bureaucracy and a democratic government almost to the point of ineffectiveness. The study submits that COIN operations invariably faced constraints when conventional oriented military assumes COIN responsibilities without making appropriate re-organisation to its force projection.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Abstract
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
List of Illustrations

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
Background of Study
Statement of the Problem
Theoretical Framework
Purpose and Significance of Study
Scope of Study
Literature Review
Method, Sources and Organization

CHAPTER TWO: THE NIGERIAN MILITARY AND COUNTERINSURGENCY OPERATIONS BEFORE 1999
Introduction
The Nigerian Military and Counterinsurgency Operations outside Nigeria
Nigeria’s Role in Congo Peace Keeping Operations
Nigeria and Chad Operation 1979
Nigeria’s Role in Lebanon Operations, 1978 – 1983
Nigeria’s Role in Liberia (1990-1998)
Nigeria-Sierra Leone Peace Keeping Operations (1998-1999)
The Nigerian Military and Counterinsurgency Operations within Nigeria before 199947 Conclusion

CHAPTER THREE:            THE NIGER DELTA INSURGENCY AND DEPLOYMENT OF THE NIGERIAN MILITARY
Introduction
Insurgent Groups and Insurgency in the Niger Delta between 1999 and 2003
Insurgent Groups and Insurgency in the Niger Delta between 2003 and 2005
Insurgent Groups and Insurgency in the Niger Delta between 2005 and 2009
The Deployment of the Nigerian Military in the Niger Delta
The Nigerian Military and Defensive Counterinsurgency in the Niger Delta, 2003-2005
The Nigerian Military and Offensive Counterinsurgency in the Niger Delta, 2006-2009
Conclusion

CHAPTER FOUR: NIGERIAN MILITARY COUNTERINSURGENCY CONSTRAINTS IN THE NIGER DELTA
Introduction
Interagency Constraints
Dealing with Multiple Insurgent Groups
The Physical Environment
Ambiguous Mandate
Intelligence
Hierarchical Issues
Logistics
Corruption

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
Bibliography
Primary Sources
Oral interviews
Archival materials/Government Gazzettes
Secondary Sources
Books
Journals
Articles
Book Chapters
Unpublished projects
Newspapers/Magazines
Websites

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of Study
Contemporary military history of the Niger Delta of Nigeria shows that the Nigerian military has been actively involved in counterinsurgency. A background of the geopolitics1 of the Niger Delta becomes necessary to explain why the Nigerian military assumed such responsibility for a role that would have passed for a police job. The geopolitics of the Niger Delta projects it as the single richest geographical region in Africa.2It wasas navigable waterways that the rivers of the Niger Delta became so important in the economic history of modern Nigeria.3Historically known as the Slave Coast and later as the Oil Rivers, the area was chiefly remarkable among British West African possessions for the exceptional facilities which they offered for penetrating the interior by means of large and navigable streams and by a wonderful system of natural canalization which connects all the branches of the lower Niger by means of deep creek.4


However, in contemporary political history of Nigeria, the term Niger Delta has taken on so many definitions in Nigeria that the actual meaning is almost lost to the politics of opportunism. In one broad sense, it refers to oil bearing areas of Nigeria, while in another rather restrictive sense it is employed to describe the ethnographic area with a peculiar ethnic make-up viz: Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Isoko, Ogoni, Eleme, Ibibio, Ikwere, Kalabari, Efik, Okirika, Andoni, the Obolo and Opobian as well as Etche, Ekpeye, Ogba, Egbema, Engenne and Abua.5 These body of controversy on the actual area that constitutes the Niger Delta has given rise to terms like the “historical Niger Delta,” the “political Niger Delta” and the “geographical Niger Delta.”

Figure: Historical Map of the Niger Delta

The historical Niger Delta is restricted to the areas now covered by five states namely; Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers States. It follows the original description of the Niger Delta as given by the Willink Commission of 1958.6 This description does not include the Igbo-speaking areas of Abia and Imo states as well as the Yoruba area of Ondo state as it is today.7 This leaves the Niger Delta comprising Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Edo states. Historically, Benin, as an area, came into the picture of the Niger Delta on February 22, 1890 when the term “Oil Rivers Protectorate” was employed in....

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