The strongest clue was provided by the militants themselves, specifically the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), via a list of demands released by spokesman, General Akotebe Darikoro on Friday, June 10, 2016.
The militants have launched several attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta, the surest way to bring Nigeria to its knees since crude oil is still its biggest export and source of income.
However, the strongest clue was provided by the militants themselves, specifically the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), via a list of demands released by spokesman, General Akotebe Darikoro on Friday, June 10, 2016.
The group demanded the “immediate release” of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki and Nnamdi Kanu.
It said further that “the government must direct EFCC to defreeze the bank accounts" of ex-militant leader, Government “Tompolo” Ekpemupolo.
Dasuki is alleged to have supervised the looting of $2 billion in funds which were meant for the procurement of arms for Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.
He is also facing charges of unlawful possession of arms after officials of the Department of State Security (DSS) found sophisticated weapons at his Abuja home during a 2015 search.
At the start of his trial, prosecution witness, Samuel Ogwu, a DSS operative, told the court that the agency decided to interrogate Dasuki because the weapons were not usually issued to “ordinary individuals”.
Former militant, Tompolo is also facing corruption charges after being accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of committing fraud to the tune of N34 billion.
Tompolo is alleged to have bled the accounts of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) dry with the help of former Director General, Patrick Akpobolokemi.
The ex-militant was also supposedly making about N1.5 billion monthly from a pipeline protection contract awarded to him by former president, Goodluck Jonathan.
To understand the connection of corruption to the renewed Niger Delta militancy, one simply has to ask: Who has the most to gain by threatening Buhari’s government? Who has the most to lose if Buhari is allowed to have a singular focus?
Buhari has made it clear that the fight against corruption is his government’s priority and he has backed up his statement with action. He and his officials also warned that corruption would fight back, and the Niger Delta attacks show that corruption is indeed putting up a fierce fight.
The persons who looted Nigeria’s public funds have money, plenty of it. This means that they also have the capacity to acquire weapons and the funds to arm militants with them.
Buhari’s administration has arrested many former public officials for corruption, but it is just gearing up to arrest the real bigwigs, the ones who are wealthier than Nigeria, as Information Minister, Lai Mohammed pointed out.
These bigwigs obviously don’t want to be arrested, and what better way is there to fight the government than attacking its already dwindling source of livelihood?
Corruption in Nigeria is a thriving trillion-dollar industry, so if Buhari plans to make even a dent in it, he needs to do more than talk tough. The president needs to apply wisdom, diplomacy, strategy and yes, even compromise in his fight against corruption, or the only thing which will be ended is his government.