2.1     Introduction
            In this chapter we shall examine the literature that discusses the legal regime of ownership of petroleum and land use in Nigeria. Particularly, we intend to examine how scholars have treated the relationship between the legal regime of ownership of petroleum resources in Nigeria and non-participation of the people of the Niger-Delta region in the petroleum industry. We shall also consider how the literature treats the question of land expropriation by the Land Use Act and how this affects the lives of the people of the Niger-Delta region. This chapter shall also consider the views of authors on the nature of surface rights and quantum of compensation paid for breach of such rights in Nigeria, especially in the Niger-Delta. A lot of literature have also dwelled on the causes of militancy in the Niger-Delta, this work is specifically interested in literature that establish the link between expropriation by the Federal Government of mineral resources, including land and militancy in the Niger-Delta.

2.2     Relationship between Legal Regime of Ownership of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria and Non-Participation of the People of the Niger-Delta Region in the Petroleum Industry
            In the municipal jurisdiction, the concept of economic self-determination is limited to the provisions of state law. Therefore, state law on the ownership pattern of natural resources is exclusively within the prerogative of the federal authorities. According to Lorenzo Cotula, “the ability of states to regulate activities within their territory is a key attribute of sovereignty.  It is also important for the quest for economic development and, and sustainable development of the environment in such a way that long term benefits would be sustained and derived from their natural resources”.[1]
            Kaniye Ebeku, in his work, “Oil and the Niger Delta People: The Injustice of the Land Use Act”[2] painted a gloomy picture of how the expropriation of natural resources and land by the Federal government of Nigeria from the people of the Niger-Delta region has negatively affected their participation in the petroleum industry in the country, in spite of the fact that the commodity is exploited from and on their lands. According to him, prior to the enactment of the expropriatory legal regime[3] on the ownership and exploration of crude oil in Nigeria, the people who live in the region where the product is exploited, derived satisfaction in the level of their participation in the industry through the rights over their lands in the region. In his words:-
It is significant to note that before the promulgation of the Act oil companies that had obtained mining rights from the federal government approached oil-bearing/land-owning communities for a right of access to the land for its operations. This was a way by which the communities had some sense of participation in oil operations, as they received some compensation for granting access and for any damage to land and any surface rights thereon. It would appear that this sense of participation has been lost since the unity of land rights with oil rights in 1978.[4]
In the case of the Petroleum Act, the Act (continuing a colonial policy) vests the entire property in petroleum (mineral oils) in the country, in the state (federation). The result is that the federal government has absolute right and control over oil resources in the country, which is found only in the Niger Delta region of the country. It therefore, exclusively farms out oil mining rights to oil companies and receives rents and royalties from them, money which accrues to the Nigerian state rather than the people. The Land Use Act on the other hand, (promulgated as a Decree by a military government) vests all the lands comprised in the territory of each state of the federation in the governor of the state in ‘trust' for all Nigerians. The Act thus, removed the radical title to land in Nigeria from the people and vested same on the Governor of the various states, a situation which has led to a lot of perceived injustice against the people of the oil rich Niger-Delta region.
For instance, Ebeku exhaustively treated the question of the impact which the Land Use Act has had on the people of Niger-Delta region. This includes: the erosion of the powers of traditional authorities, thereby leading to chaos in the communities; and loss of the right of compensation for the intrinsic value of land rather than merely surface rights.[5]
Other literature has sought to establish the relationship between the legal regime of ownership of petroleum resources in Nigeria and the loss of livelihood of the people of the Niger-Delta region. Thus, the literature focuses on how the activities of oil companies have led to the depreciation of the way of life of people of the Niger-Delta through oil pollution, environmental degradation and gas flaring, and how the people of the region are sidelined in the aftermath of such deleterious activities. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for instance, describes the region as suffering from “administrative neglect, crumbling social infrastructure and services, high unemployment, social deprivation, abject poverty, filth and squalor, and endemic conflict.”[6] They observed that the majority of the people of the Niger Delta do not have adequate access to clean water or health-care.[7] Meanwhile, the poverty in the region contrasted with the wealth generated by oil, which has become one of the world’s starkest and most disturbing examples of the “resource curse”.[8] According to Mukagbo, Cable Network News (CNN) anchorman for Inside Africa 2007, the Niger Delta “is a region where time seems to have stood still and where people live the most meager of existences, leaving them bitter and angry from not having benefited from the black gold that makes Nigeria Africa’s largest producer”.[9] The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) quite rightly observed that the developmental challenges of the region are:
“widespread poverty; severe dearth of infrastructure and amenities in the rural areas; being the world’s third largest wetland with fragile ecosystems; high unemployment, rural-urban migration, urban decay; and environmental degradation and pollution”.[10]  
            The fact that the people of the Niger Delta have not benefited from oil wealth is only one part of the story. The second and most unfortunate part is the deleterious effect which the exploitation of crude oil has had on the people’s livelihood, health, human rights and local economy. Widespread and unchecked activities related to the oil industry have pushed many people in the Niger Delta deeper into poverty and deprivation, fuelled conflict and led to a pervasive sense of powerlessness and frustration. The multi-dimensional crisis is driven by the actions of the security forces and militant groups, extensive pollution of land and water, corruption, corporate failures and bad practice and serious government neglect.[11] According to UNDP, more than 60 per cent of the people in the region depend on the natural environment for their livelihood.[12] For many, the environmental resource base, which they use for agriculture, fishing and the collection of forest products, is their principal or sole source of food.[13] Pollution and environmental damage, therefore, pose significant risks to their survival and basic human rights.[14] According to a study carried out by a team of Nigerian and international environmental experts in 2006,[15] the Niger Delta is “one of the world’s most severely petroleum-impacted ecosystems”. They stated:
“The damage from oil operations is chronic and cumulative, and has acted synergistically with other sources of environmental stress to result in a severely impaired coastal ecosystem and compromised the livelihoods and health of the region’s impoverished residents.”
            While oil spills[16] and gas flaring[17] are the most frequently referenced forms of oil-related pollution in the Niger Delta, there are in fact several other ways in which the oil industry has continued to harm the environment, such as disposal of wastes and effluents,[18] dredging, drilling, and seismic activities.
            Coupled with the deleterious effect of oil activities on the people, Ebeku has shown that Since the enactment of the LUA, the oil companies no longer approach the communities to negotiate access to land for oil operations, on terms of payment of compensation, as was the case before. In fact, "it is possible for the government to acquire a vast area of land for petroleum purposes, i.e. granting the operator a lease over a large area, yet the villages will know nothing about the acquisition";[19] they wake up one morning to find that the government has given out their farmland to oil operators. Hence the feeling of participation in the exploitation of oil found in their land has been lost and this has accentuated a sense of deprivation.
            Another set of literature has focused on how oil legislation in Nigeria is a consequence of power politics in the country, in which the ethnic majority groups who control the central government use their power to deprive the people of the oil region participation in the oil industry, through hijacking of jobs/employment in the oil industry for their people and reduction of the derivation principle. Ejibunu, for instance, clearly shows how unemployment is a major concern in the oil region, which has had tremendous and adverse impact on peace and stability.[20] Amnesty International confirms that as a result of poor management of the oil industry, especially the downstream sector,[21] the entire industry employs only 35,000 people directly or indirectly.[22] The agricultural sector in the region has been totally destroyed by the oil industry, and nothing else is done by the government to engage the youths.[23] Thus, the rate of unemployment in the Niger Delta is extremely high compared to other parts of the country.[24] It is claimed that less than 5% of the people in the Niger Delta are actually employed in the oil industry, and that rather, most of the available chances are given to beneficiaries from other parts of the country.[25] Indeed, a survey of members of armed groups in three Niger Delta states underscores the link between unemployment and violent agitation. The survey concludes that:
at least 50 per cent of the armed group members who responded to the AAPW [Academic Associates PeaceWorks] questionnaire claimed that they were unemployed, had no profession, or worked in unpaid jobs,
            The literature has also shown the connection between legislation, the dwindling fortune of the derivation principle in the constitution and non-participation of the people of the Niger-Delta region in the petroleum industry. Thus, Mahler noted the progressively diminishing revenue accruable from oil that has been allocated to the region by the federal government since independence from colonial Britain.[26] He noted that while the percentage of oil revenues refunded to the producing regions was almost 100% between 1953 and 1959,[27] it was pegged at 50% by the 1960 constitution,[28] and reduced to 30% in 1970.[29] Subsequently, Obasanjo reduced it by 5%, Shagari by 20%, and under Buhari, it was pegged at 1.5%.[30] In fact, some writers speculate that derivation actually hit an all time low of zero per cent before the Babangida administration fixed it at 1% and later increased it to 3%, where it remained until the coming into effect of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.[31] Under the present constitution, 13% of revenue accruing to the federal government from oil resources derived from any state of the federation is to be paid back to it.[32] Ejibunu, observes that this percentage has failed to satisfy the yearnings of the people of the Niger Delta region, but has nevertheless put into the hands of state governments in the region billions of dollars since 1999.[33] Unfortunately, this has not had any positive effects on the people of the region, or on the local economy and development.[34] Large amounts of money have disappeared within the states’ and local governments’ budgets, which are totally lacking in transparency.[35] Corruption,[36] patrimonialism, frivolity[37] and other forms of personal enrichment have dominated public service in the region, and indeed the entire nation. This state of affairs have served to exacerbate insurrection and create the violence, instability and conflict in the Niger Delta, as the youths are left idle and alienated from the presence and impact of government and particularly, participation in the oil industry.[38]   
            Apart from the above, the literature has shown that there is an impending sense of suspicion against the federal government by the people of the Niger Delta, as they consider the central government as playing politics with issues of development in the region. This literature considers it unfortunate that despite the several attempts made by the federal government to development the Niger-Delta region, development is still elusive in the region.[39] Thus, the moot efforts of the federal government in establishing special development agencies for the region since 1960 has been decried as translating into a journey to nowhere, as these have not brought any special development to the region;[40] indicating lack of sincerity on the part of the government.[41] This prevailing disillusionment is without regard to the consistent recognition by government of the Niger Delta as a region that requires special developmental needs, through the several committees and fact-finding missions established by past[42] and present governments,[43] including international agencies.[44] 
2.3     Relationship between Expropriation of Petroleum and Land Resources and Militancy in the Niger-Delta
            There is an avalanche of literature that discusses the phenomenon of militancy and conflict in the Niger-Delta in relation to the political economy of oil in Nigeria. In their work Michael Watts et al, describes the Niger-Delta as an oil-producing zone driven by a particular extractive logic, in relation to extraction to violence, which they describe as the economies of violence.[45] A number of recent studies have analyzed the paradox of poverty and wars amidst bountiful natural resource endowment– ‘the resource curse’ – that has blighted many developing countries.[46] Different theories with varied explanatory powers and contextual relevance, for example, those propounded by Terry[47] and Collier and Hoefller,[48] have also tried to explain the paradox and analyze the key drivers of conflict, to include neo-Marxist dependency discourse,[49] environmental scarcity theory,[50] and greed versus grievance theory.[51] These have all tended to establish some degree of positive correlation between the structure of extractive economies dependent on primary commodity export, on the one hand, and patrimonial corruption, intergroup struggles for resources and dysfunctional conflicts, on the other. Another dimension of conflict amongst extractive economies is the conflict associated with the consequences of natural resource extraction for human livelihood, human settlement and the sustainability of the planetary ecosystem. Ecological conflict, as it is often branded does not, however, stand in isolation but is intrinsically related to structural conflict of groups and factional struggle for resources, including the mobilization of state power by privileged parties to advance the struggle.
An apparent gap in most studies of note is a trans-historical multi-regional anatomy of rentier politics in extractive economies that rigorously explores the accumulation devices and tendencies of key stakeholders in their interplay with the structures of domestic and international political economy. Thus, Kenneth Omeje, conclude in his work[52] that this largely unexplored or overlooked aspect of politics in extractive economies seems to have the most decisive implications for dysfunctional conflict (or lack of it) in different countries and regions of the global South, including Nigeria.
Various attempts are made by authors to explain the nature of conflict in the Niger-Delta. A CIA report published in 2000, described the conflict as a catalytic effects of “environmental stresses” in the oil-rich southern Delta on deepening “political tensions”.[53] Many other writer situate the remote causes of the violence and militancy to the expropriatory regime of oil legislation that tend to remove both oil and land from the control of the people of the Niger-Delta, while the proximate causes are related to the clamour for resource control and convention of a sovereign national conference. For instance, some respects the current militancy confirms Ken Saro-Wiwa’s prescient and bleak prediction in 1990 on the “coming war” in the delta; “the people must be allowed to join in the lucrative sale of oil” he said to avoid “the cataclysm that is building up”.[54]
In his work, Oyefusi[55] did a large survey of the Niger delta oil communities and discovered that 5% of the population felt satisfied with the status quo and an astonishing 36.23% revealed a “willingness or propensity to take up arms against the state”.[56] More generally, other survey data shows clearly that many of the youth grievances – poverty, lack of employment, minimal educational opportunities – are felt widely across the region beyond a generation who would be identified as militants.[57] A far greater proportion of deltans perceive economic neglect (‘marginalization’ in local parlance) than other regions in the federation and over 50% of all respondents identified governance as the fundamental problem working against their opportunity to benefit from oil.[58]
Osaghae in his work,[59] chronicled the crisis in the Niger-Delta for decades. He noted that what is today considered as militancy in the Niger-Delta started since the 1980s in low key by youth and other ethnic movements – and was subsequently captured by the southern political classes from the oil producing states as means providing political pressure on the revenue allocation process. Thus, the minority fears of the 1950s’s became minority grievances in the 1980s and minority militancy by the 1990s. For instance, one of the demands of MEND was the immediate payment of $1.5 billion compensation from Shell approved by the Nigerian National Assembly covering four decades of environmental degradation.[60]
In an interview with Karl Maier on February 21st 2006, Gbomo Jomo (the spokesman of  MEND) made it clear that MEND had “no intention of breaking up Nigeria” but had no intention of dealing directly with government which “knows nothing about rights or justice”. Resource control meant that the states would “directly manage” oil. Other communiqués reiterated that these demands were not pecuniary and “we shall receive no money from any quarters”.[61]
Relatedly, Michael Ross[62] explores the dynamics of oil politics along two parallel axes: ‘lootability’ (understood to be “easily appropriated [resource] by individuals or small groups of unskilled workers”)[63]  and ‘obstructability (that is to say the ease with which its movement or its productive networks can be interrupted or blocked). Oil (on-shore and off-shore) is unlootable; it is however readily obstructable (pipelines can be detonated, flow stations occupied) on shore but not off shore.33 He holds open the possibility that oil (as an unlootable resource) may yield different types of outcomes (separatist in Cabinda), and non separatist in Sudan), but believes that non-lootability yields general associations; to wit: unlootability is likely to yield separatism (control the territory not the wealth), benefits to government (rather than the poor), reduced duration of conflicts, and enhanced army discipline.
            In an extension of the frustration-aggression theory, Soremekun [64] demonstrated that men are most inclined to aggression when subjected to unjustified frustration. He drew a distinction between attitudinal aggression and behavioural aggression as direct results of sustained frustration. For Briggs,[65] the potential for collective violence varies strongly with the intensity and scope of relative deprivation among members of a collectivity. If there is a significant discrepancy between what they think they deserve and what they think they will get, there is a likelihood of rebellion. Just as frustration produces aggressive behaviour on the part of an individual, so does relative deprivation predict collective violence by social groups.[66] The armed insurrection against military and civilian targets in the Niger Delta, by militant youths, directed against government and the foreign oil companies is viewed in this perspective.
Michael Renner, in his work ‘the Anatomy of resource Wars’[67] examined the relationship between resource extraction and conflict, and situated his findings in the Niger-Delta region. He notes that resource extraction is itself the source of conflict, especially the activities and operations of oil companies, which create varied degrees of tension with local populations. Apart from tension created by the confiscation of land from local people without proper compensation, they cause an array of environmental problems by poisoning drinking water, destroying arable land, clear-cutting forests, and despoiling hunting and fishing grounds, and they introduce social disruptions and communal tensions: roads etched into previously inaccessible areas bring a heavy influx of construction workers, miners, loggers, and, sometimes, migrant populations.[68]
Ovwasa,[69] in his work wrote that the anger of the people in the region against the oil majors is as a result of environmental degradation and the loss of livelihood that their operations have engendered, has led to a state of hopelessness and the recourse to violence against the state and multinational oil companies operating in the region. According to Raji,[70] Oil spillage resulting from oil exploration has led to the pollution of farmlands, fishing streams and ponds, while indiscriminate gas flaring pollute the air and result in acid rain in the Niger-Delta. The environmental degradation meant that farming and fishing, the mainstay of the economy of the people in the region is constantly under threat. With little or no government and private sector paid employment, a large proportion of the people, particularly the youth face massive unemployment and a bleak future. The lack of gainful employment has created pervasive poverty amidst riches for the people of the Niger Delta. Given this state of being, one cannot but agree with Ledum Mitte, that the Delta's problem is a crisis of frustration.[71] This frustration is now being expressed through hostage taking, arson directed at oil installations and attacks on agencies of the Nigerian State.
            According to Obi,[72] in more ways than one, the struggle for resource control by the oil minorities of the Niger Delta is fundamentally one over the ownership and control of natural resources within a claimed political space, and in the context of the Niger Delta this also significantly includes land that is rich in oil and gas – Nigeria’s chief revenue earner(s). He cautioned however that the struggle for resource control is not altogether an undifferentiated one, because within the Niger Delta, there are contradictions and divisions along ethnic, communal, class and inter, as well as intra-generational lines. He concluded that it is therefore more useful to glean the dynamics of the interplay of forces within and across fluid ethnic, communal, and generational boundaries as the forces of resistance confront the forces of exploitation, extraction, accumulation and repression.
            In the same work, Obi emphasised the relationship between the Multinational Oil Corporations and the Nigerian state in the repression and exploitation of the people of the Niger-Delta. In fact, he noted that the dynamics of power relations between the duo puts the Multinational Oil Corporations at an advantage and makes the Nigerian state a mere instrument of exploitation, repression and expropriation of the livelihood of the people of te oil producing areas of Nigeria. In his words:-

The external linkages to the struggle for resource control in the Niger Delta exist at the two opposing levels: those of expropriation and resistance. They are also implicated at the levels of production, accumulation and distribution. It is the interaction between these levels that propels and sustains the struggles in the Niger Delta.[73]

In another work, Obi[74] noted that according to the JVA, most oil companies and the Nigerian state had a 40:60 ratio for the sharing of oil profits after the operating company had deducted the costs. In the case of the Shell-NNPC JVA, the government (through NNPC) owns 55 per cent, with 10 per cent owned by Elf, five per cent by Agip and 30 per cent with Shell (Obi 1997:141). Since the Nigerian state is over 90 per cent dependent on oil (hence its being a petro-state) and it lacks control of oil technology and the sophisticated politics of the oil market, the real power over oil, that is resource control is in the physical sense exercised by the oil multinationals. While the federal state is far – thousands of kilometres away from the oil communities, the impoverished villagers in the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta do not feel its presence, what they see are the oil rigs, flow stations, gas flares and oil pipelines operated by oil companies. Hence, it is the visible agent of oil exploitation and expropriation – the oil companies that is first confronted by the people.
The structure of extraction and dispossession in the Niger Delta is embedded in the transnational political economy of oil. According to Watts,[75]  it operates through an “oil complex” comprising: ‘a statutory monopoly over mineral exploitation, a nationalized oil company (NNPC) that operates through joint ventures with oil majors who are granted territorial concessions, the security apparatuses of the state protecting costly investments and ensuring the continual flow of oil, and an institutional mechanism ‘derivation principle’ by which federal oil revenues are distributed to the states and producing communities, and not least the oil producing communities themselves.’
Watts goes on to note that “central to the oil complex is its enclave character, the extent to which it is militarized as a national security sector, and a dominant fiscal sociology, namely the massive centralizing consequences of vast unearned income, flowing to the federal exchequer, derivative of the alliance of state and capital.” The result is that the Nigerian state acts transnationally to facilitate oil extraction, with the power elite using state power to accumulate oil wealth, using such a ‘privatized’ state to militarize extraction by crushing protest and resistance to oil exploitation, while using oil wealth to reinforce control over power, and continued participation in transnational accumulation.

[1] See Lorenzo Cotula, The Regulatory Takings Doctrine online: at page 1.
[2] Kaniye Ebeku, “Oil and the Niger Delta People: The Injustice of the Land Use Act,” Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law Policy Journal Vol. 9, 2001, University of Dundee, available at (accessed October, 16, 2010)
[3] The most important oil-related legislation in Nigeria include: the Petroleum Act 1969 (now LFN 2004), Oil Pipelines Act 1956, Oil in Navigable Waters Act 1968, Federal Environmental Protection Agency Act 1988 (now National Environmental Standard and Regulatory Agency Act), and the Land Use Act 1978.
[4] Kaniye Ebeku, Op. cit, n.2, p. 10
[5] Prior to the enactment of the LUA holders of land in the Niger-Delta enjoyed three levels of compensation in respect to access to land for the petroleum industry. These included payment of annual rent as the head lord for the intrinsic value of the land; payment of compensation for surface rights in case of damage to crops and economic trees; and payment of compensation for pollution where occur. See Kaniye Ebeku, ibid.
[6] UNDP, Niger Delta Human Development Report, 2006
[7] Ibid.
[8] See Amnesty International, Nigeria: Petroleum, Pollution and Poverty in the Niger Delta, 2009, p. 9
[9] Tumi Makagbo, CNN, Inside Africa aired on 2nd October, 2004,, accessed June 26, 2007.
[10] Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). 2006. Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan – popular version. NDDC, Port Harcourt.
[11] Amnesty International, Op. cit., n.8, p. 9
[12] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Niger Delta Human Development Report, 2006, p74.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Nigerian Conservation Foundation, WWF UK and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy, with Federal Ministry of Environment (Abuja), “Niger Delta Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration Project Scoping Report”, May 2006.
[16] As a result of the sheer volume of oil exploration and related activities such as oil pipeline networks in the Niger Delta, it is estimated that about 6, 817 oil spills occurred in the Niger Delta between 1976 and 2001 (about one a day for 25 years). See Amy Sinden, “An Emerging Human Right to Security from Climate Change: The Case Against Gas Flaring in Nigeria”, in William C.G. Burns & Hari M. Osofsky, (eds.), Adjudicating Climate Change: Sub-National, National, And Supranational Approaches, (Cambridge University Press, 2008), p. 3. However, this estimate is considered as highly conservative, as some experts put the figure at ten times higher. See Tom O’Neill, Curse of the Black Gold: Hope and Betrayal in the Niger Delta, National Geographic (Feb. 2007), available at In fact, a CIA Report in the 1990s estimated that the amount of oil spilled in the Niger Delta was already ten times the amount of the Alaskan Exxon-Valdez spill. See Douglas Farah, Nigeria’s Oil Exploitation Leaves Delta Poor, Poisoned, WASH. POST A22 (Mar. 18, 2001). A group of independent environmental and oil experts visiting the Niger Delta in 2006 put the figure for oil spilt, onshore and offshore, at 9 to 13 million barrels of oil over the past 50 years, see Niger Delta Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration Project, Phase I Scoping Report, May 2006, conducted by Nigerian Conservation Foundation, WWF UK and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy, with Federal Ministry of Environment (Abuja).
[17] The practice of gas flaring has been on in the Niger delta since oil production started in the 1950s, see Ike Okanta & Oronto Douglas, Where Vultures Feast: Shell, Human Rights, & Oil 61-63 (2003). It is estimated that the MNOC operating in Nigeria flare about 75% of the natural gas produced in Nigeria. See The Climate Justice Programme & Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Gas Flaring in Nigeria: A Human Rights, Environmental, and Economic Monstrosity (2005)[hereinafter Gas Flaring Report], available at Gas flaring is the 24/7 burning of the natural gas associated and extracted with crude oil, which reaches hundreds of feet into the sky, killing the surrounding vegetation with searing heat, emitting a deafening roar, and belching a cocktail of smoke, soot, and toxic chemicals into the air, usually resulting in the condition known as acid rain. The Niger Delta produces 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil every day, and most of the associated 2.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas is burned off into the atmosphere, see the Gas Flaring Report, id. A Report by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) indicated that ‘‘everyday, eight million cubic feet of natural gas are burned off in flares that light the skies across the Delta, not only driving off 5 cms, hunting the fishing and poisoning the agriculture, but contributing to global warming”. See Hassan Tai Ejibunu, (Ronald H. Tuschl, ed.), Nigeria’s Niger Delta Crisis: Root Causes Of Peacelessness, EPU Research Papers, Issue 07, 2007, p.14 citing Comet Nigerian Newspaper, March 21, 2001, p.12. Indeed, in 2001, forty percent of all the natural gas burned throughout Africa was attributable to gas flaring in Nigeria and the country’s gas flaring has contributed more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than all of sub-Saharan Africa combined. See the Gas Flaring Report, ibid.
[18] These are wastes produced from the different phases of oil production and indiscriminately disposed of, in the environment. For example, Shell SPDC in a 2006 report disposed of about 481 tonnes of wastewater and 16,885,000m3 of produced water in the environment and especially surface water. See SPDC, People and the Environment, 2006, p18.
[19] Kaniye Ebeku, Op. cit, n.2, p. 15
[20] See Hassan Tai Ejibunu, (Ronald H. Tuschl, ed.), Nigeria’s Niger Delta Crisis: Root Causes Of Peacelessness, EPU Research Papers, Issue 07, 2007, p. 16.
[21] In Nigeria, crude oil is hardly processed within the country. Nigeria currently imports almost 85 percent of the refined oil products it uses. While the capacity of the four existing stateowned refineries is completely insufficient, so far no private refinery exists in Nigeria. See Energy Administration Information (2009): Country Analysis Briefs – Nigeria, p.4 (Last Updated May 2009), available at (5.5.2009).
[22] See Amnesty International, Oil in the Niger Delta, available at (15.1.2009)
[23] See Robert Kappel, Strukturanpassungsmaßnahmen und ihre Auswirkungen in Nigeria, in: NordSüd aktuell, 5 (4. Quartal 1991), 4, pp. 587602. Cited in Annegret Mahler, Op. cit., n.16, p.18.
[24] Ben E.  Aigbokhan, “Reconstruction of Economic Governance in the Niger Delta Region in Nigeria: The Case of the Niger Delta Development Commission”, in Karl Wohlmuth & Tino Urban, Reconstructing Economic Governance after Conflict in Resourcerich African Countries,  (Berlin: LIT, 2007), pp. 195.
[25] Hutchful E. Oil Companies and Environmental Pollution in Nigeria, (In Political Economy of Nigeria, (ed.) Claude Ake, (London: Longman Press 1985). The domination of the oil wealth produced from the region by non-Deltans has also fuelled resentment and anger amid claims that the oil of the region is being stolen by other groups, leaving the source of the wealth to wallow in paradoxical poverty. See Ebeku, Kaniye, 2008. “Niger Delta Oil, Development and the New Development Initiative: some reflections from a socio-legal perspective,” Journal of Asian and African Studies, Vol. 42, No. 399, pp.300-303
[26] Annegret Mahler, Nigeria: A Prime Example of the Resource Curse? Revisiting the Oil-Violence Link in the Niger Delta, GIGA Research Programme (Violence & Security) Working Paper, No. 120, January, 2010, p. 16.
[27] See A. E. Ogbuigwe, “The Law and Environment; The Niger Delta Challenge”, Port Harcourt Law Journal, 1999, p.94.
[28] s. 134 of the 1960 constitution. See also s.140 of the 1963 Republican constitution.
[29] See Decree No. 13 of 1970. See generally, Hemen P. Faga, “Taming the Tiger in the Niger Delta: the Role of Law in the Niger Delta Question: Whither?” Akungba Law Journal, vol. 1:2, 2008, p.306
[30] See The Niger Delta: Phoenix of Nigerian Democracy, Vanguard Book Series, in Vanguard Newspaper, Monday, January 22, 2000, p.27.
[31] See A. E. Ogbuigwe, op. cit., n.52, p.94. See also United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): Niger Delta Human Development Report, (2006),  Abuja: UNDP.
[32] s.162 of the 1999 CFRN
[33] See Hassan Tai Ejibunu, (Ronald H. Tuschl, ed.), Op. cit., n.17, p. 18.
[34] A. A. Brisibe, African Tradition “The Identity of a People: With Special Focus on Globalization & Its Impact in the Niger Delta” C.O.O.L Conference, Boston, U.S.A, March 18, 2001, p.1
[35] Human Rights Watch (2007): Chop Fine, The Human Rights Impact of Local Government Corruption and Mismanagement in Rivers State, Nigeria, January, (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2007), pp.32-33. The authors especially accentuated the socalled “security vote,” a voluminous pool of state funds at the local, state, and federal levels (which in some cases exceeds the budget for health or education) meant for the nebulous purpose of maintaining peace and security. In practice the allocation of these funds is not at all controlled, and it is reported that in Port Harcourt “many local government chairs […] will give half of the [security vote] money in the name of ‘empowerment’ to youth they use as thugs and the rest goes into their own bank accounts” ibid, 33.
[36] Various top officials of the federal government have admitted the monumental corruption of state governors in the oil producing region who receive the highest allocation from the federation account each month. See confession of Minister of finance, Esther Nenadi Usman in 2007; N. E. Usman, ‘‘Governors Waste Monthly Allocations’’ in Corruption in High Places, available at (accessed July 01, 2007). The former Head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, estimated that in 2003, 70 per cent of oil revenues, more than $14 billion was stolen or wasted. See Nigerian Oil, Curse of the Black Gold in (accessed July 01, 2007)
[37] Apart from the so-called security vote which serves as a conduit for siphoning state funds, governments at all levels in Nigeria engage in frivolities which better serve their personal interests rather than addressing the real needs of the people. For instance, the Rivers state government had a budget of $1.3 billion in 2006. It included transportation fees of $65,000 a day for the governor’s office; $10 million for catering, gifts and souvenirs; $38 million for two helicopters, and health services in the entire state received only $22 million. See N. E Usman, ibid.
[38] A leader of the foremost militant group operating in the region, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), General God’s Will confirmed to Jeff Koinage of CNN that they were fighting for liberation of the Niger Delta and against bad governance. See CNN.Com “ Nigerian Kidnappers Release Hostages”, February 13, 2007, (accessed July 01, 2007)
[39] See for instance, Precious –Ann Ahiarammunnah, “Oil Companies: Legislation on Corporate Social Responsibility and Peace in the Niger Delta”, Ebonyi State University Law Journal, vol. 2, No. 1, 2007, p. 191
[40] The government has established so far about four special agencies for the development of the Niger Delta region since 1960, including presently a federal ministry for the Niger Delta. These agencies include the Niger Delta Development Board established under section 159 of the 1960 constitution, the Niger Delta River Basin Authority established in 1976, the Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) established in 1992 and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which replaced OMPADEC in 2000. The Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was established in 2008 by late President Yar`Adua. For a comprehensive analysis of the political intrigues and nuances of the government in the effective financing of the various agencies and sincerity in the development of the Niger Delta, see, Hemen P. Faga, Op. cit., n. 29, pp. 301-305.
[41] see The Guardian Newspaper “Niger Delta: Government Must Dump Past Deceptive Tactics”, available at, accessed July 06, 2007 (particularly statement credited to Akanna Campbell, Executive Secretary, South-South Community Development Union (SSCDU), a Niger Delta research group); see generally, Hassan Tai Ejibunu, (Ronald H. Tuschl, ed.), Op. cit., n.17, pp. 19-20. See also Hemen P. Faga, ibid, and Victor Ojakorotu, “The Internationalization of Oil Violence in the Niger Delta of Nigeria”, Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 2008, pp. 106-108.
[42] The intractable instability in the Niger Delta has led past governments to establish committees to make recommendations on how best to tackle the problems of the region. Some of these committees include the following:- the Belgore Judicial Committee 1992; the Don Etiebet Inter-Ministerial Fact-Finding Team 1994; Vision 2010 Committee 1996; Popoola Committee 1998; the Ogomudia Special Security Committee on Oil Producing Areas 2001; Presidential Panel on National Security 2003; the Niki Tobi National Political Reform Conference 2005 and the Presidential Council on the Social and Economic Development of the Coastal States 2006. See Precious –Ann Ahiarammunnah, Op. cit., n.39, p.192.
[43] The present government has so far set up the following committees to address the Niger Delta issue: President Umaru Musa Yar`Adua’s Technical Committee on the Niger Delta 2008 and the Presidential Panel on Amnesty and Disarmament of Militants in the Niger Delta, 2009, including the Amnesty Implementation Committee 2009. See Tell Magazine, “Securing a Troubled Region: Amnesty Proclamation Pursuant to Section 175 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, August 17, 2009, No. 33, p.53.
[44] The United Nations and its specialized agencies have also at various times made recommendations on the Niger Delta. For instance, the United Nations established the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Situation in Nigeria in 1997 and the UNDP has issued several reports, including United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): Niger Delta Human Development Report, 2006, Abuja.
[45] Michael Watts, Ike Okonta and Dimieari Von Kemedi, “Economies of Violence: Petroleum, Politics and Community Conflict in the Niger Delta, Nigeria”, Institute of International studies, University of California Working, No. 1, 2004, p. 6.
[46] R.M. Auty, Sustaining Development in Mineral Economies: The Resource Curse Thesis, London: Routledge, 1993.
[47] Terry Lynn Karl, The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Boom and Petro-Politics, (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997).
[48] Collier, P. and A. Hoefller (2000), Greed and Grievance in Civil War, World Bank, Accessed on 28 April 2004
[49] For a detailed discussion of neo-Marxist dependency theory, see Hoogvelt Ankie, Globalisation and the Post-colonial World, London: Macmillan. (1997), Chapter 2.
[50] For a detailed discussion, see Homer-Dixon, T. ‘Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict’, International Security, 19/1, (1994), pp. 5–40.
[51] For a detailed discussion, see Collier and Hoefller, Op. cit.
[52] Kenneth Omeje, Extractive Economies and Conflicts in the Global South: Re-Engaging Rentier Theory and Politics, 2003.
[53] See
[54] International Crisis Group, Fuelling the Delta Crisis, Report No. 118, International Crisis Group, Dakar, 2006, p.16.
[55] A. Oyefusi, Oil and the propensity for armed struggle in the Niger delta region of Nigeria, (Washington DC: The World Bank, Post Conflict Transitions Papers No. 8, WPS4194, 2007).
[56] Ibid, p.16.
[57] In Ikelegbe’s (2006:97) sample of youth (including militants, opinion leaders and others), ethnic neglect and political marginalization (including state repression) were the overwhelmingly dominant reasons given for the rise of youth militia. See, Ikelegbe, A. The economics of conflict in oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, African and Asian Studies 5/1 2006 23-55.
[58] UNDP, Niger Delta: Situation Assessment and Opportunities for Engagement, (Port Harcourt/Abuja, UNDP, 2007).
[59] Osagae, E. Do ethnic minorities still exist in Nigeria?, Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 24/2 1986 151-168.
[60] A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt in February 2006 ordered SPDC to pay $1.5 billion to “Ijaw Aborigines of Bayelsa State”. Justice Okeke rejected a stay of execution by Shell and ordered the company to pay the Central bank of Nigeria the full amount no later than May 22nd 2006.
[61] Vanguard, February 4th 2006.
[62] Ross, M. Oil, Drugs and Diamonds, in K. Ballentine and J. Sherman (eds)., The Political economy of Armed Conflict. Reiner, Boulder, 2003.
[63] Ibid, p.47.
[64] K. Soremekun, “Oil and Democratic Imperative in Nigeria”, in Olowu et al (eds.), Governance and Democratization in Nigeria. Ibadan: Spectrum Books, 1995, p.34.
[65] A. Briggs, “Niger Delta Struggle Minus Criminal Militancy.” Lagos: Vanguard Newspapers, 2008, p. 39.
[66] A. Máire, "Aggression” Beyond Intractability, Boulder: Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess (eds.), Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: <http://www.beyondintract>.Retrieved: 3/14/2009.
[67] Michael Renner, ‘The Anatomy of Resource Wars’, WorldWatch Papers, No. 162, 2002.
[68] Ibid, pp. 39-40.
[69] L. Ovwasa, “Oil and the Minority Question”, in Saliu, H. A. (ed.) ‘Issues in Contemporary Political Economy of Nigeria’, (Ilorin: Sally and Associates, 1999), p.90.
[70] W. Raji, “Oil Resources, Hegemonic Politics and the struggle for Re-inventing Past- Colonial Nigeria” in Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah (ed.) ‘Ogoni’s Agonies: Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Crisis in Nigeria’, Trenton, NJ: Africa World press Incorporation, 1998), p.111.
[71] Time Magazine “Special Report: Nigeria, May 22,2006, p.23.
[72] Cyril Obi, “Youth and the Generational Dimensions to Struggles for Resource Control in the Niger Delta; Prospects for the Nation-state Project in Nigeria” (Monograph Series: Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa CODESRIA), 2006, p. 3, available at
[73] Ibid, p.34.
[74] Cyril  Obi, ‘Niger Delta: TransAtlantic Reflections on the Colonial Mirror’, in T. Falola (ed.), The Dark Webs: Perspectives on Colonialism in Africa, (Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2005).
[75] Michael Watts, “Resource Curse? Governmentality, Oil and Power in the Niger Delta, Nigeria,” Geopolitics, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2004, p.60.
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