THE RESURGENCE OF MILITANCY IN THE NIGERIA’S NIGER DELTA REGION AND ITS DEVASTATING ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES

Abstract: The Nigeria’s Niger Delta region is the home of oil and gas industry, which accounts for 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings. But the unbridled exploitation of these natural resources has left the Niger Delta environment and people’s livelihoods devastated. The youths in the region in a bid to draw the attention of the International community to the sorry state of their environmentaround 2003 constituted themselves into militant groups and began attacks on oil producing facilities. These violent acts which heightened in the first instance between 2005 -2009 and again between 2015 – 2016 periods left the Nigerian economy prostrate. Nigerian government’s initial military approaches to containing the crisis in each case only succeeded in its escalation. It was only when government adopted peaceful approaches, first through the granting of amnesty to the militant groups and secondly through the employment of dialogue and continued engagement with the oil bearing communities was relative peace restored in the troubled region. One very important lesson from the Niger Delta crisis is that it’s only through dialogue and continued engagement with the people of the region that permanent peace can be restored in the troubled region.