Published July 10, 2014 | By Nate Haken*
With 1.7 million people, Bayelsa is one of the smallest states in the country, by population. Most residents are of Ijaw descent. Bayelsa produces between 30-40% of Nigeria’s oil and gas. In addition to the petroleum sector, the state has an extensive commercial fishing industry and produces oil palm, raffia palm, rubber, and coconut. In February 2012, Henry Dickson (PDP) was elected as governor after a period of uncertainty in the wake of Governor Timipre Sylva’s termination in January 2012. Since then the number of fatalities has reduced, but has fluctuated with periodic instances of cult violence, abductions, and attacks on energy infrastructure.