DELTA DILEMMAS: Buhari and Nigeria’s South-South Zone

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The oil-rich Niger Delta region has been a policy and political challenge to successive administrations in Nigeria since the 1960s. Between 1999 and 2015 it featured prominently in the policy priorities of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

This has not been the case with President Muhammadu Buhari, whose election to office in 2015 was based on an overarching promise of ‘change’,
with a specific focus on tackling insecurity, corruption and youth employment.

There was no clear-cut policy agenda for Nigeria’s Niger Delta region at the beginning of President Buhari’s administration in 2015. But the challenges that made the Niger Delta a policy priority to previous governments
remained much the same as they always had.


The oil industry continued to be the main source of public revenue for the Nigerian government. The development deficits that contribute to
armed militancy and protests by ethnic minorities in the region also persisted.

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