Published August 10, 2017 | By Partners for Peace, Fund for Peace, PIND
Ogoniland has long been an area symbolic in the minds of people both inside and outside of the Niger Delta for its struggle against environmental degradation caused by resource exploitation. In the early 1990s, the region came to international prominence after the death of environmental activist Kenule Saro-Wiwa. The struggle of Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni activists eventually led to the cessation of oil production activities in the area in 1993, but widespread environmental damage was already done. A United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) assessment on the impacts of decades of resource exploitation in Ogoniland, commissioned in 2006 by former President General Olusegun Obasanjo and released in 2011, has informed a wide scale government clean-up of the region. At the same time, Ogoniland has been beset by many of the same conflict dynamics that affect the wider Niger Delta; including cultism, militancy, the proliferation of weapons, intra- and intercommunal conflict, chieftaincy tussles, and widespread youth unemployment. The region has become highly polarized during recent election cycles, with politicians, militants and security figures recruiting cultists and restive youth to intimidate and coerce adversaries and opponents.