Conflict in the Niger Delta

The current conflict in the Niger Delta first arose in the early 1990s over tensions between foreign oil corporations and a number of the Niger Delta's minority ethnic groups who feel they are being exploited, particularly the Ogoni and the Ijaw. Ethnic and political unrest continued throughout the 1990s despite the return to democracy[11] and the election of the Obasanjo government in 1999. Struggle for oil wealth has fueled violence between ethnic groups, causing the militarization of nearly the entire region by ethnic militia groups, Nigerian military and police forces, notably the Nigerian Mobile Police.[12] The violence has contributed to Nigeria's ongoing energy supply crisis by discouraging foreign investment in new power generation plants in the region.

Conflict in the Niger Delta

Map of Nigeria numerically showing states typically considered part of the Niger Delta region: 1. Abia, 2. Akwa Ibom, 3. Bayelsa, 4. Cross River, 5. Delta, 6. Edo, 7.Imo, 8. Ondo, 9. Rivers
(18 years)


  • ~15,000 militants signed for presidential amnesty program

Nigerian government

supported by:

Niger Delta Avengers (2016–present)
Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (2016–present)
Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (2016–present)
Niger Delta Red Squad (2016–present)
Adaka Boro Avengers (2016–present)
Asawana Deadly Force of Niger Delta (2016–present)
Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders (2016–present)
New Delta Avengers[6] (2017–present)
Niger Delta Marine Force[6]
Reformed Egbesu Fraternities

  • Red Egbesu Water Lions
  • Reformed Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta
  • Egbesu Mightier Fraternity

Biafran separatists (from 2021)[7]

Supported by:
IPOB elements[8]

Commanders and leaders

Muhammadu Buhari
Bashir Salihi Magashi
Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea Irabor
(January 2021–present)


Henry Okah (POW)
Government Ekpemupolo
Ebikabowei Victor-Ben
John Togo 
General "Busta Rhymes"[6]
Corporal "Oleum Bellum" (New Delta Avengers)[6]
General Benikeme Hitler (Niger Delta Marine Force)[6]

Ateke Tom
150,000 soldiers[10] Unknown
Casualties and losses
~15,000 militants surrendered as of 2016

From 2004 on, violence also hit the oil industry with piracy and kidnappings. In 2009, a presidential amnesty program accompanied with support and training of ex-militants proved to be a success. Thus until 2011, victims of crimes were fearful of seeking justice for crimes committed against them because of a failure to prosecute those responsible for human rights abuses.[13]