Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06LAGOS1372
2006-11-22 12:03:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Lagos
Cable title:  

NIGER DELTA YOUTH SUMMIT: A STARTING POINT FOR

Tags:  PGOV ASEC PTER PINR EPET NI 
pdf how-to read a cable
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 001372 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE PASS DOE FOR DAS GPERSON AND CGAY
STATE PASS DOT FOR MARAD
STATE PASS USAID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/2016
TAGS: PGOV ASEC PTER PINR EPET NI
SUBJECT: NIGER DELTA YOUTH SUMMIT: A STARTING POINT FOR
CHANGE?


Classified By: Consul General Brian L. Browne for Reasons 1.4 (D & E)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 001372

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE PASS DOE FOR DAS GPERSON AND CGAY
STATE PASS DOT FOR MARAD
STATE PASS USAID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/2016
TAGS: PGOV ASEC PTER PINR EPET NI
SUBJECT: NIGER DELTA YOUTH SUMMIT: A STARTING POINT FOR
CHANGE?


Classified By: Consul General Brian L. Browne for Reasons 1.4 (D & E)


1. (C) Summary. Niger Delta youth leaders are preparing a
plan of action and initiatives to bring peace to the Niger
Delta. These efforts follow an October 2-4 summit which
brought together fifty youth leaders, resulting in a 12-point
communique to address the root causes of violence in the
Delta. While the youth leaders' efforts are laudable, they
will not gain much traction without government collaboration.
End Summary.

--------------
ACTION PLAN
--------------


2. (C) Academic Associates PeaceWorks (AAPW) is working with
core youth leaders to develop a youth-driven action plan for
peace in the Niger Delta. Core youth leaders, those with
solid bases throughout the Ijaw, Itsekiri, Ogoni, Urhobo,
Ikwerre, and Isoko communities, are tired of being associated
with commercialized hostage-taking, said Kingsley Akeni, AAPW
Corporate Advisor in Delta State. In a conversation with
PolOff October 27, Akeni stated one of the youth leaders'
quick-win initiatives was to hold three youth rallies in
November. The youths were to rally against hostage taking,
thuggery, and pipeline vandalization. Akeni said the youth
leaders want to disassociate themselves from these criminal
acts and more clearly identify with the themes of political
participation, representation, and employment.


3. (C) While the Warri (Delta State) rally occurred without
incident in early November, two youth leaders on the Port
Harcourt planning committee were murdered by seven armed men
in AAPW's Port Harcourt office November 20. AAPW's Port
Harcourt Project Director Danjuma Sa'idu told Poloff that the
rally has been postponed as a result. Sa'idu did not know
the motivation behind the killings. Poloff has been informed
the murdered youth had defected from militant Ijaw leader
Ateke Tom's group. Their death was meant to assert

domination and prevent further desertion, sources report.
Sa'idu said the Yenagoa (Bayelsa State) rally will be held at
a later date.

--------------
50 YOUTHS ATTEND PEACE SUMMIT
--------------


4. (C) Akeni told PolOff that over 50 youth leaders attended
a summit October 2-4 to discuss peace and development in the
Niger Delta. In attendance were Ijaw, Itsekiri, Ogoni,
Urhobo, Ikwerre, and Isoko representatives from Delta,
Bayelsa and Rivers States. Delta State Government, State
Security Service (SSS),and a Joint Task Force commander
attended the last day of the summit, when the youths issued a
communique to address the root causes of violence in the
Delta. The SSS agreed in advance not to arrest participants,
AAPW's Port Harcourt Project Director said. The presence of
the SSS at the summit and their integrity in keeping their
word has served to build a modicum of confidence between them
and the youth, according to Sa'idu.


5. (SBU) A 12-point communique was drafted and signed by the
summitteers. In the communique, the youths demanded
demilitarization of and increased political representation
for the Niger Delta. One specific demand set forth in the
communique is that the corrupt practices of politicians be
investigated. These, like hostage-taking, are illegal means
of raising money, the youths said in the communique.
Referring to the 2007 elections, the communique states "...we
do not want to be used by politicians as thugs." The
communique also said that the creation of sustainable job
opportunities is key to Niger Delta peace. To help stabilize
the region, the youths suggested former militants be
integrated into security forces.

--------------
JOBS FOR NIGER YOUTH KEY

LAGOS 00001372 002 OF 002


--------------


6. (C) AAPW Project Director Danjuma Sa'idu said achieving
peace in the Niger Delta will be an arduous but achievable
task. The key is providing jobs. Many youths are used to
earning a living from work in armed groups or as
hostage-takers--they need an alternative. Kashmir Boatie, a
summit attendee who claims to be well-connected with Niger
Delta youth, told PolOff on October 20 that "hostage
laundering" benefits only a few militants and complicit
government officials. Boatie was confident that dialogue
with government and company stakeholders, if it leads to
viable employment opportunities, could help resolve the
problem. (Note: On October 26 press reports indicated that
the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) would hire
Niger Delta youths to guard oil facilities in the creeks.
The youths would complement, not replace, Joint Task Force
troops. AAPW's Akeni could not confirm whether the report
was tied to the summit or AAPW's efforts with the youths. He
did think a few companies may have begun hiring youth
independently. End Note.)


7. (C) Coast guard surveillance is another core youth
leader-driven initiative that would entail oil companies
hiring youths to protect facilities. A proposal is currently
being drawn up to attract the oil companies. Akeni said that
Shell Nigeria's country managing director, Basil Omiyi, said
he would support this initiative. The youth leaders would
like to become more political, reported Akeni. To become
more engaged in politics, the youth will identify individuals
within Government and Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) who might lend a sympathetic ear. Through
these efforts the core youth leaders hope to prevent the
arming of youth for political gain, Akeni said.

--------------
EXPAND SUMMIT TO INCLUDE MORE YOUTHS
--------------


8. (C) Sa'idu intimated to PolOff that in order to have an
impact, the summit effort must be expanded. Two recent
attacks on Shell vessels and the kidnapping of seven
expatriates in Akwa Ibom show how important it is to include
more youths and militants in the peace process, Sa,idu said.
Sa'idu said there are plans for another summit to include
militants and youths from all south-south states, whose
participation is needed to fully address Niger Delta
problems. Fear of being arrested or having to face enemy
youth groups will continue to deter some youths, Sa'idu
admitted.

--------------
COMMENT
--------------


9. (C) AAPW, with its 14 year history of working with youths
in the Niger Delta, is one of the few organizations to
involve the youths themselves in finding a solution to Niger
Delta violence. The creation of jobs and alternative
employment that will pull the youth away from the militias
and push them toward more economically productive activities
is an essential building block to resolving the Niger Delta
predicament. That some youth leaders participated in the
summit and support the drive for jobs is a good sign.
However, these leaders may not have the standing with their
militant, armed contemporaries to influence them to give up
the gun. Also, their programmatic objectives, although
ironic, do not have a long life expectancy if the GON does
not endorse and underwrite their efforts. Whether the GON
will adopt these recommendations remains to be seen. END
COMMENT.
BROWNE