Categories
Government

Guns for…Guns?

A serene sunset in a war-ravaged Niger Delta / Photo: Sigma Delta, flickr
A serene sunset in a war-ravaged Niger Delta / Photo: Sigma Delta, flickr

To say the new Nigerian guns-for-amnesty plan faces “difficulties” is, well, understated at best. Some observers see it as a full-on theater of the absurd.

The ill-conceived peace plan was designed to bring militants out of the Niger Delta swamps to hand over their weapons in exchange for a daily stipend lasting a couple months. Unfortunately, harsh reality is already steering far from lofty conception: Not only are the anti-government militias not lining-up to make peace, but some experts say that common criminals are actually expected to capitalize on the deal.

“The money realized will be used to rearm,” Anyakwee Nsirimovu, chairman of the Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition told the NY Times. “Criminals who claim to be militants will come forward and take the amnesty, and that will be delaying doomsday […].”

It’s not just that $13 a day for 60 days doesn’t sound like much of a deal to the battle weary militants; it’s that they’re fighting for something more fundamental. For years, these guerrilla warriors have battled injustice, squalor and poverty for their share of the Niger Delta’s vast oil wealth. Experts agree that without a real redress of the local population’s grievances, fighting will continue.

“As long as the equity situation is not solved, you will continue to have people who will blow up pipelines,” Nsirimovu concluded.

Categories
Government Business and Finance

The Politics of Oil Prices, the Price of Oil Politics

US$147/B One Year On: Political Winners and Strategic Losers
US$147/B One Year On: Political Winners and Strategic Losers

In 2009, the oil price fell sharply after a five-year honeymoon. You’d have expected it to take a number of political casualties with it. In a new analysis by the Center for Security Studies (CSS), Matthew Hulbert explains why it’s not been the case. Looking forward, he thinks that consumers will pretty likely face another price crunch as investment lags and demand rises. But he concludes with a warning to Russia, Venezuela and co:

“Some producers will no doubt see this as a ‘strategic victory’: but unless they have learned the lessons of 2008/9 to diversify their economic bases beyond narrow resource wealth, once the next bubble bursts, they will no doubt need to batten down the political hatches once more.”

Matthew is the CSS’s energy expert; he used to work in the City of London, advising on energy markets and political risk.

The paper is available for download here.