Oil Wealth and Insurgency in Nigeria

By Omolade Adunbi | Go to book overview

7 PROCLAIMING AMNESTY,
CONSTRUCTING PEACE
OIL AND THE SILENCING OF VIOLENCE

Militant—75k/month,
Boko Haram—100k/month,
NYSC—19,800/month,
Minimum wage (civil service)—18,900/month.
Choose your career wisely

REMARK COMMON ON THE INTERNET
AMONG NIGERIANS, SUMMER 2013

ON A HOT Sunday afternoon in June 2011 at an elementary school in the Rumuola area of Port Harcourt, many youths had gathered for a soccer game between two opposing teams. The elementary school, like many in the region, is decrepit. There are no windows in the classrooms, the science laboratory exists in name only, and the soccer field is dilapidated. The game was organized by a group of youths, and I had been recruited as a coach for one of the teams. Soccer is my favorite pastime, and I played with many of the good friends I made while doing fieldwork in the Niger Delta. It is extremely popular throughout Nigeria, and often renders ethnic alliances irrelevant. It is only during soccer games that many Nigerians rally around the national flag. Politicians and militants both use soccer games to promote their causes, and games serve as organizing platforms. At the end of every game in the Delta, youths will gather to discuss the conflict in the region.

So it was on that June afternoon when many youths in Port Harcourt gathered to enjoy their favorite pastime. At the game were Fynecountry and Timipriye, human and environmental rights activists and “soldiers” for MEND. Both men had previously used soccer games to recruit members for the many organizations they are part of. When they organize soccer matches for youths, they also arrange for pep talks afterward to illustrate how things would have

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