Niger Delta under colonial rule, says former U.S. ambassador

NIGER Delta is under colonial rule and its people are being subjected to suffering by both the Federal Government and the oil companies operating in the area, former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has said.

Campbell spoke in Rhode Island, United States over the weekend at the second yearly Chinua Achebe Colloquium hosted by Brown University and the famous Nigerian author during a panel discussion entitled, “The Niger Delta Crisis: The Political, Economic and Environmental Conundrum”.

Campbell spoke just as the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) condemned the renewed hostilities in the region, especially the alleged excessive use of military force last week in seeking to dislodge some alleged armed militants in Ayakoromor community in Burutu council of Delta State which led to the reported killing of an undetermined number of civilians.

The former U.S. ambassador said what is happening in the oil producing area can also be described as “an insurrection that goes on for 50 years,” adding that it goes beyond poverty and criminality.

“Too many people in Niger Delta actively supported the insurrection because they are alienated from their government and excluded from the political process,” he said.

Explaining why he thinks the Niger Delta situation is comparable to colonial rule, Campbell described what is happening there, as recurring insurgency. “We should think of colonial rule. Is Niger Delta a colony of Abuja and the oil companies are the junior partners?” he said.

Going further, Campbell who was U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria up till 2007 when Dr. Robin Rene Sanders took over, added that while Niger Delta should be viewed as a colony, the “imperialists in that case are not some foreign country, but some other parts of Nigeria.”

Source: The Guardian, Nigeria, 7th December 2010.

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