Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The Niger Delta region is, indeed, not a stranger to attention and controversies. For more than a decade, it presented Africa’s most populous country with its most profound security challenge, a situation that was only recently changed with the emergence of the Boko Haram Islamic insurgents. It also threatened to undermine the flow of oil in Africa’s most important oil-producing country, a country which produces more than 2.5 million barrels of crude oil daily, with attendant implications for global energy supply. While different aspects of the Niger Delta controversy have been addressed by particular scholars, there remains an aspect that seems to have attracted only superficial attention. This is a detailed analysis of the role of ethnicity in the array of complications that have unfolded in the region. Indeed, beyond the platitudinous mention of the plight of the minority in the country’s zero-sum politics, not much attention has been given to the complex impact of ethnicity on the politics and intrigues’ of the Niger Delta.
The purpose of this thesis is to interrogate the ethnic dimension of the perspectives of key groups in Nigeria on what their rights are in sharing natural resources wealth and the consequences of a natural resources conflict driven by these agitation for a fair share among different ethnic groups in the Nigeria Federation. This thesis investigates one of the most pressing, yet neglected issue in the Niger Delta conflict: ethnicity and who has right in the sharing and ownership of natural resource wealth in the Niger Delta.
However, in light of the commonly stated thesis that corruption and miss-management of oil revenues is frequently said to be the causes of armed conflict in the Niger Delta, this study challenges the accepted premises and enter unfamiliar territory, and stimulate new ideas by arguing that corruption, lack of security, and miss-management of oil revenue is only a causal factor. Therefore, the role of ethnicity is the key factor regarding who will hold political power and thus control natural resource wealth—a factor hitherto underplayed in the Niger Delta case.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorReinoud Leenders (Supervisor) & Abiodun Alao (Supervisor)

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