Natural resource disputes, leadership and pacification
: local claims and national interest in Nigeria’s Niger delta

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The recurrent controversies pertaining to the exploitation of natural resources, particularly oil, in the Niger Delta have mainly revolved around political leadership. This thesis examines this phenomenon from two mutually reinforcing angles: “Local Claims”, which are the agitations of the oil-producing communities for a legitimate control of their resources, and; “National Interest”, which is the government’s parameter for allocating resources to meet targeted needs. The persisting tension in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region epitomises the long-standing antagonism between local communities and the national government over the ownership and extraction of natural resources. This study essentially argues that democracy in Nigeria since 1999 is yet to sustainably resolve the natural resource crisis in the Niger Delta as the leadership responses of most administrations have not been suitably connected to both the root causes and the needs in the region. The laudable amnesty programme of Musa Yar’Adua’s short-lived administration remarkably charted a path for sustainable solution but has been poorly implemented by subsequent administrations. This study, through a comprehensive leadership approach, pays attention to pacification trends in the affected region. A critical conceptualisation of key terms – leadership and pacification – and a theorisation underpropped by systems theory, human needs theory, stakeholder theory and conflict transformation theory guides this qualitative case design study. The study relies on primary and secondary data collected via in-depth interviews, observation, publications and relevant documentations. A thematic analysis has been used to analyse data obtained from the field in three States – Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta of the Niger Delta region.
Date of Award1 Jul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorAbiodun Alao (Supervisor)

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