Nigeria: Current situation in the Niger Delta; whether authorities are looking for, arresting and detaining activist Ijaw youths (2002)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||5 June 2002|
|Citation / Document Symbol||NGA39272.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Nigeria: Current situation in the Niger Delta; whether authorities are looking for, arresting and detaining activist Ijaw youths (2002), 5 June 2002, NGA39272.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be84c.html [accessed 28 May 2015]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
An Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) article reported that in response to threats by "militants" of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) in the Niger Delta region, some 1000 anti-riot police officers were deployed in Eket around the ExxonMobil oil export terminal (21 May 2002). The article stated that threats of attacks on oil installations have increased since the Nigerian federal government was given control of offshore oil resources in April 2002 (ibid.). The chief of the navy reportedly said that the navy was "charged to remove whatever obstacle that [would] disrupt peace in the oilfields" (ibid.) and warned the IYC that it was "prepared to counter any attack by the group to disrupt the operations of oil companies in the Niger Delta" (Vanguard 21 May 2002a).
Youths of the Ijaw ethnic group, who claim that they have been denied employment opportunities with oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region (ibid. 14 Feb. 2002), held a "peaceful demonstration" on 3 May 2002 at the Agip oil company to protest the "unfavourable employment policies of the company" (IRIN 9 May 2002). After being undeterred by armed police firing into the air, the demonstrators were allowed to speak with managers of the company, as they had done with officials of Royal/Dutch Shell and Julius Berger the previous week (ibid.).
According to an Associated Press report, some 40 Ijaw youths from Amatu in Bayelsa state took 10 employees hostage aboard a Shell drilling rig off the southern coast of Nigeria (4 Apr. 2002). The youths demanded "employment, oil contracts and other help from Shell" in return for the safe release of the workers (ibid.). While no reports of the outcome of this event could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate, Vanguard reported, in response to the kidnapping, that the government "seriously frowns at the situation where youths take the law into their hands" and would "seriously deal with any person who engages in such criminal act[s]" (21 May 2002b).
In January 2002, the community of Ogulagha in Delta state appealed to the state government to enforce a law prohibiting youth associations from "molesting" oil companies in the state (ibid. 4 Jan. 2002). The Ijaw National Youth Movement had reportedly threatened to "unleash terror" on an oil company in the area (ibid.).
No information on whether authorities look for, arrest and detain activist Ijaw youths in the Niger Delta region could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Associated Press (AP). 4 April 2002. "Villagers Kidnap American, Nine Others in Nigeria's Oil-Rich Delta." (Boston Herald)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN). 21 May 2002. "Nigeria: Security Reinforced in Oil Region."
_____. 9 May 2002. "Nigeria: Focus on Dispute Over Offshore Oil Resources."
Vanguard [Apapa]. 21 May 2002a. John Ighodaro. "Navy Ready to Tackle Ijaw Youths, Says Afolayan."
_____. 21 May 2002b. Samuel Oyadongha. "Oil Communities Urged Anew to Shun Violence." (allAfrica)
_____. 14 February 2002. "Ijaw Youths Hold Job Rally." (Africa News 14 Mar. 2002/NEXIS)
_____. 4 January 2002. Neville Amorighoye. "Community Seeks Enforcement of Law Banning Organisation."
Additional Sources Consulted
Africa Confidential 2002
Africa Research Bulletin 2002
IND Country Assessments 2002
Internet sites including:
Council of Ijaw Associations Abroad (CIAA)
Human Rights Watch
Ijaw National Congress
Ijaw Resource Center
Kilima Nigeria News