CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION1.1 Background to the StudyThe Niger Delta Militants are organized agitating armed groups that operate in the Niger Delta region as social movements to express their anger, sometimes violently arising from the perceived frustration and marginalization by the Nigerian State and its agents in the region. They are classified into three groups, the militia groups, the cult groups, and gangs, who operate independently in the region. This research is aimed at identifying the characteristics and activities of the non-state security actors and their impact on development trajectory of their host communities.Amidst the national development disequilibrium in the country, Nigeria is also confronted with daunting developmental challenges which pose serious threat to socio-economic development. These developmental challenges include endemic rural and urban poverty, high rate of unemployment, debilitating youth unemployment, low industrial output, unstable and deteriorating exchange rate, high inflation rate, inadequate physical and social infrastructure, very large domestic debt, and rising stock of external debt (Ewetan, 2013)In this light Chandler (2007) sees development as a broader concept that recognizes psychological and material factors that measure human well-being. Development therefore is a multifaceted phenomenon and man centered. It is the process of empowering people to maximize their potentials, and develop the knowledge capacity to exploit nature to meet daily human needs (Rodney, 1972; Nnoli, 1981; Ake, 2001). The transformation of the society and the emergence of new social and economic organizations are critical indicators of development (Stiglitz cited in Nwanegbo and Odigbo, 2013).This research work will focus mainly on the activities of the Niger Delta militants assessing the challenges they pose to Nigeria as a country in the aspect of national development.1.2 Statement of the Research ProblemSince the mid-2000s, national security crisis in Nigeria has been escalated by the rise of ethnic Ijaw militant groups in the Niger Delta region. On the one hand, militancy in the Niger Delta is regarded as a response to poverty, environmental degradation and oil pollution within the region occasioned by oil exploration and the operations of oil multinationals and by years of government neglect and insensitivity to the plight of the people (Ogbonnaya 2011).The Niger Delta remains an important region to Nigeria due to the massive contribution to the economy of the country through its oil resources. However, the insurgence of militancy in the region poses serious challenges to not only the region but also the national development of the country. These challenges as they appear in the Niger Delta area include; bombings of oil facilities, kidnapping, oil bunkering etcetera.Responsibilities for most of the recent attacks in Niger Delta have been claimed by a group named Niger Delta Avengers, which intends to deal consequent attacks on the region, with the futuristic motives of crippling the Nigerian economy. Militancy in the Niger Delta region is not a recent development, but it has been suppressed to the barest minimum in the past through several policy and military actions by the government and supposed contribution from the oil majors, such as; Amnesty Programme, JTF operations, etc.Despite the supposed importance accrued to the Niger Delta region and efforts in combating militancy in the region, there has been resurgence of military and incessant security crises which have undermined development. Is the Niger Delta really the bedrock of the Nigerian economy? Policy and development measures have been introduced, why does it always seem to be short lived? Or are the development and policy actions of the government as gimmicks to explicit the region of the oil resources? Do the activities of both government and multi-national corporations in the region contribute to development challenges?