Introducing ‘Blood Money’, this month’s special citizenship series from YNaija.com

by Isime Esene, managing editor

Last month, YNaija.com launched its Monthly Citizenship Dispatches, which explores in detail, the lives and realities of Nigerian citizens across the country.

“There are too many untold stories across our country, too many incomplete stories,” this paper’s editor-in-chief noted in announcing the series.

“To tell these important stories, tragedy porn is wholly inadequate, even irresponsible, even if it is, for those of us who experience daily the upheaval in media business models and low barriers for entry, understandable.

“News should not just be about understanding why Muhammadu Buhari does what he does, why Dino Melaye is the way he is, why Kemi Adeosun speaks the way she does. News – especially in a time of global upheaval from #Brexit to #Bernie – should also focus on the very ones who society is really all about: every day people, communities, citizens.”

This month, the dispatches come from the Niger Delta, where our reporters have spent weeks digging deep into a part of the country oft reported about and sadly still mis-understood.

Caught up in the revenue wars of a country that has taken so much and given so very little in return, against the background of ethnic groups that have struggled to find a common ground, children have grown up to the realities of chaos and violence, seeing Nigeria through a prism that is ultimately negative.

Starting with a profile of Government Tompolo, a man who has, to hear some say it, declared war on the Nigerian state, and feeling through the major ethnic clashes that have defined Delta State, we also take a trip to Bayelsa where the government promised to clean up a damaged environment, yet another in a series of promises to a weary, and wary, people.

Niger Delta leaders have cried for decades that the oil revenues Nigeria spends lavishly have cost the lives, limbs and futures of its men and women. Blood money, militant leader Asari Dokubo insists, and there are many – through fiction, poetry, and essays – who have vehemently agreed.

These are just some from the stories we will share with you, daily over the next two weeks – for the voices, the issues, the realities that fellow citizens living in the Delta have dealt with, and continue to deal with every day.

Because these stories matter.

Because citizens matter.

Thank you for staying with us on this journey.

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