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Financial Times: Timeline: Origins of the Niger Delta crisis

1966: Isaac Boro, a young delta revolutionary, proclaims a Niger Delta Republic to comprise mainly the delta’s majority tribe, the Ijaw. He launches a “twelve day revolution” in the Niger Delta which is eventually crushed by the Nigerian military.
1967-70: Nigerian civil war sparked by the secession of eastern states. Boro released from prison and used by the Federal government to fight against the secessionist Biafran republic. Boro killed in mysterious circumstances in 1968. Biafra surrenders in 1970.
1993: Military annuls elections. Protests in Nigeria including the delta.

1995: Writer and delta activist Ken Saro-Wiwa hanged by military junta of Sani Abacha after a hasty trial on charges of conspiring to murder. Saro-Wiwa, from the minority Ogoni tribe, had been an outspoken critic of Shell and the military regime. Nigeria is expelled from the Commonwealth until 1998.

1999: End of military rule after President Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military ruler wins civilian elections. Scores of people massacred in the delta town of Odi by security forces after the killing of 12 policemen by delta militants.
2000: 12 northern states declare Islamic Sharia law.
2003: Scores die in ethnic fighting after an Ijaw uprising in the western delta forces oil companies to shut down 40 percent of the country’s oil production.
2004: Delta militant Mujahid Dokubo-Asari threatens an “all out war” against the Nigerian oil industry saying elections in 2003 were rigged. His men battle Nigerian troops from their jungle hideaways. He eventually disarms after the government brokers a peace accord with a rival militia.
2005: Military raid devastates the delta town of Odiama after a land dispute with a neighbouring community results in the killing of local councillors. Nigeria’s Senate goes on a fact finding mission but never publishes its report.
2005: Dokubo-Asari teams up with other civilian activists who accuse President Obasanjo of presiding over a “civilian dictatorship”. He draws comparisons with himself, Isaac Boro and Ken Saro-Wiwa. Nigerian authorities arrest and charge Dokubo-Asari for treasonable felony after he allegedly calls for the disintegration of the Nigerian state in a newspaper interview.
2005: Government starts locking up leaders of various separatist groups and militia across the country.
2005: British police arrest Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Nigeria’s only Ijaw governor, at London’s Heathrow airport and charges him with three counts of money laundering. The governor escapes back to Nigeria where he resumes office before eventually being impeached. Alamieyeseigha is one of several prominent Ijaws who have called for more oil revenues to be shared between oil-producing delta states. Many Ijaw leaders complain Alamieyeseigha’s arrest is an example of selective attacks on corruption.
2005: Political tensions rise across as Nigeria heads towards elections in 2007, when President Obasanjo is due to step down after two terms in office. Opposition rises across the country against rumours of a possible third term bid by Obasanjo. The president neither refutes or confirms the rumours.
2006: Delta militants calling themselves the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta start carrying out serious attacks against oil facilities. Four foreign hostages are kidnapped in January and later released. Militants step up attacks in February in an apparent retaliation against military operations in the delta, taking nine more hostages and destroying part of an export terminal. The militants say they are partly fighting for the release of Dokubo-Asari and Alamieyeseigha and demand $1.5bn in compensation payment for environmental damage from Shell.
2006: Security forces move Dokubo-Asari to an undisclosed location for “his own safety”.
2006: At least 15 people die after a protest against Danish cartoon depictions of the prophet Mohammed turn bloody. Tensions are high in the north after the federal government puts a ban on Islamic police in a northern state. Analysts say political tensions across Nigeria could feed into the delta’s crisis.

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