For those who do not genuinely understand what the issues are in the current Russian – Ukranian conflict, those who pretend not to understand & those who chose never to understand because for them, the West do no wrong, let’s therefore break the issue at stake down & bring it home.
The source of the River Niger is in the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea near the Sierra Leone border from where It runs 4,180km in a crescent through Mali, Niger Republic, on the border with Benin Republic & then through Nigeria, discharging through a massive delta in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria into the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. Its main tributary is the River Benue
The bulk of Nigeria’s electricity comes from over 3 massive dams built on the River Niger in Niger state & numerous other dams connected to the River.
The vast Agricultural potential & actual bumper yearly agricultural output of Nigeria including fishing & vegetation for cattle depend largely on the River Niger & it’s tributary River Benue. The River Niger is equally a major transportation artery of the Nigerian economy.
The River Niger, so vital to the survival & sustenance of Nigeria, passed over 4,000km before it got to Nigeria through the sovereign nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger Republic & Benin Republic.
Despite these countries being sovereign nations, Nigeria has never willingly allowed them build dams on the River Niger in their countries for any purpose as that would spell doom for Nigeria’s electricity output, agriculture, food security & transportation with its attendant socio-economic problems as a result of losses of means of livelihoods for millions of Nigerians. Also, building of dams by these sovereign countries on the River Niger will threaten Nigeria’s very existence with floodings each time the dams in these countries, if they are allowed to build, are opened to release excess water.
That’s why Nigeria will do everything to prevent these countries, though sovereign nations, from building dams on the River. Rather Nigeria build dams & offer them electricity at prices which are as good as free of charge as well as using other incentives like loans, grants, infrastructural development in these countries & favourable trade relations etc to dissuade them.
Now, there is little else Nigeria can do in terms of the use of force to stop these countries if they are adamant on erecting dams on the River other than appealing to them or offering them incentives to stop them.
Because Nigeria doesn’t have the military power to counter the military bases France stationed in these countries who will come to their aid should Nigeria attack them to prevent them building dams that will threaten Nigeria’s existence. If Nigeria had the military power to counter France in Cameroon, Nigeria would have used military force to stop cameroon from building the Lagdo Dam on Lake Lagdo in Northern Cameroon that inflicts devasting destruction on thousands of lives of Nigerians, properties, livelihoods, businesses, hundreds of thousands of acres of farmlands, fish ponds, thousands of tons of agricultural produce & displacement of millions of Nigerians especially in Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Kogi, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Rivers & Bayelsa states. This is just one dam in Cameroon causing this immense devastation on Nigeria every year & Nigeria cannot intervene militarily as the last option to prevent Cameroon building that dam or blow up that dam threatening our very existence by our ‘sovereign’ neighbour because of the presence of the French military which our sovereign neighbour allowed to build military bases there to strangulate us.
Now, that’s the Russian situation with its ‘sovereign’ neighbour Ukraine. But unlike Nigeria, Russia has the military power to prevent her neighbour, Ukraine from holding a knife to her throat & daggers at her back. Beyond Ukraine’s historical & cultural ties with Russia that holds deep political relevance to both countries, Ukraine holds geographical, economic & military strategic relevance to Russia which if properly asessed & managed will equally be of huge strategic relevance to Ukraine.
But the inexperienced Ukrainian leader, Zelensky allowed himself & his government to be deceived by America & their Western allies to go pro West & NATO, despite Russia’s juicy concessions to Ukraine to dissuade them, thus threatening in the process the strategic interests & the very existence of her Superpower neighbour & brother Russia. Russia cannot fold her hands & watch Ukraine her ‘sovereign’ neighbour bring foreign powers militaries, equipments, logistical support systems & nuclear missiles to her border to threaten their very survival, sustenance & existence as a nation. No Super power including America itself or any nation with significant military capability to stop such will allow that, sovereignty or no sovereignty.
What Russia is looking for in Ukraine since 1997 but has consistently been rebuffed, ridiculed, disrespected & ignored by America & NATO is a documented guarantee from Ukraine, America & NATO that Ukraine will not join NATO. If they get that document today, Russia will withdraw from Ukraine within 24 hours. If not, Russia will seize Ukraine in the next 3 days, remove the pro NATO government of Zelensky & install another government that will guarantee to be neutral & live in peace with Russia.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.