1.1     Background of the Study

The name ‘Nigeria’ is derived from the river Niger in which the Niger Delta region of the country forms a significant part of, and empties the river into the Atlantic ocean. The Niger Delta region[1] has been a flash point in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, with an estimated population of well over 140 million people[2] and the world’s largest collection of people of the black race.[3] The country has over 250 dialectical ethnic groups, speaking nearly 400 languages.[4] There are also three major tribes in Nigeria: the Hausa-Fulanis in the North, Yorubas in the West and the Ibos in the East. The Niger-Delta comprises the coastal low lands and water-marshland, creeks, tributaries and lagoons of the southernmost ends of Nigeria that drain the Niger river into Atlantic at the Bight of Biafra.[5]
At its core are the littoral states of Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states of the South-South geo-political zone of the country, and the riverine parts of Ondo state, which are home to over forty minority ethnic groups, including the Ijaw, Urhobo, Itshekiri, Efik, Ibibio, Ogoni, Ilage, Kalabari, Isoko and Ndokwa[6] amongst other smaller minority groups. The Niger Delta is the largest wetland in Africa, it is rich in both renewable and non-renewable natural resources such as crude oil, gas, bitumen, non timber forest products and timber forest product and wildlife. Ninety-Five per cent of the total revenue for the Nigeria government is generated from oil and gas exploration,[7] which implies that the region is of critical geo-strategic importance in the global energy equation and for national economic survival.
However, the Niger-Delta is not known for its rich bio-diversity as much as it is known for its large reservoir of crude oil and gas deposits, and its capacity to quench the global hunger for oil. Little is said or known about the deleterious effect which the crude business of crude oil has caused to the beautiful environment and bio-diversity of the regions.[8] Presently, the region of the Niger Delta is best known as the region that sustains much oil exploration and exploitation by the agent of Western economic powers. It is considered the mainstay of the Nigerian economy for its significantly high level of oil reserves.[9] By this, Nigeria is considered Africa’s largest oil producer and world’s sixth most important exporter of crude oil with the bulk of its exports going to the United States.[10] The indigenous people of the region receive little economic benefits from the extraction of the natural resources beneath their land. This is mainly due to the long neglect of the people’s welfare by the federal government of Nigeria[11] and the nonchalant attitude of the oil multinationals. Development strategies focused at increasing foreign investment to boast exports in the oil industry have not resulted in overall development, instead the revenue gained has helped to benefit mainly foreign nations and Nigeria government elites more than native population.[12]
Pollution, degradation of the environment, destruction and waste of the natural resources, derogation of the values and culture of the indigenous people as well as poverty have become the order of the day in the region. The people of the Niger Delta believe they have no substantial benefit to show for their sacrifices, despite being the “goose that laid the golden egg” – the economic success that underpins the unity of the Nigerian State.[13]  They also believe they are now at the stage in history when they must actualize their own wise saying that “anyone who takes what belongs to a child and raises his/her hand up, when he gets tired, must bring down his hand and the child will take back what belongs to him”.[14]
          As a federal government agency, 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”.[15] The Federal Government of Nigeria and multinational Oil companies that operate in the region seem to act in concert with the aim of silencing the views of the people and denying their social conditions and state of under-development. As a result of the harmful activities of the oil companies in the region and the growing frustration of the indigenous peoples in the region to hold the Nigeria state and oil companies accountable for sustainable development in the region, including their inability to reasonably participate in the oil extractive industry on their hand, the Niger Delta crisis assumed horrendous dimensions in the early 1990s with the emergence of social movements and militant Youth groups that began to challenge not only the Nigerian state but also the policies, attitudes, and activities of multinational oil companies in the region.[16]
These agitations grew in strength, outlook and purpose over the last decade, and later took the face of a more formidable militant guerrilla force.[17] Within this milieu (of the struggle), the crisis in the region became not just a domestic affair but an issue on the front burner of international environmental discourse and advocacy.[18] The violent agitations claimed thousands of lives, displaced thousands more and led to the inestimable destruction of properties. In economic term, millions of dollars have been lost to youth restiveness, disruption of production, pipeline vandalization, hostage taking, assault and bombing of oil installations to mention a few.[19]
Subsequent Nigerian governments did little to alleviate the mounting agitations, rather, military incursions were used at every opportunity to bring down any uprising in a brutal manner. For instance, villages such as Ummuechem, Odi and Odioma were at different times practically razed down and people ranging from the high hundreds to the low thousands were killed and maimed by Nigerian military forces.[20] Also in March 2003, militants in the Western Niger Delta engaged in a fierce gun battle with government security forces, which saw several village communities[21] such as Okerenkoko, Ogbogbene, Berukrukru, Inikorogha, Oburu, Kunukunama, Opuedebudo, Oporaza, Kokodiaghene and Tebujor invaded by the military and then destroyed.
This brutal suppression of the uprising and violence agitation in the Niger Delta, which had assumed a vicious face, has lead the crisis to assume international dimensions, partly due to the systematic publicity of activists, and the struggle of the respected environmentalist, (the late Ken Saro Wiwa) who drew the attention of the international community to the plight of the Niger Delta.[22] This internationalization of the crisis has paved the way for the involvement of a ‘contingent’ of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) in different aspects of the ‘environmental politics’ in the region.[23]
What is interesting however, is that the demand of the resistant forces and the various ethno-national groups in the Niger Delta fall short of absolute secession from Nigeria. These groups claim to invoke their right of self-determination as indigenous people[24] under international human rights regime for special protection of these category of people, to demand among other things, political and economic autonomy, convention of an autonomous sovereign national conference to re-negotiate the terms of national co-existence and unity, re-organization of the polity, resource control, repeal of obnoxious laws, development of minority ethnic languages and culture and preservation of the region’s ecology and environment.[25] In December 1998 for instance, Ijaw Youths converged on Kaiama (an Ijaw town) where they made a landmark declaration, now known as the Kaiama Declaration. In the document, they requested for more local control of oil revenue and better environmental policies. The forcefulness of Ijaw demands resonate in the Kaiama Declaration as follows:

All land and natural resources (including mineral resources) within the Ijaw territory belong to Ijaw communities and are the basis of our survival. We cease to recognize all undemocratic decrees that rob our peoples/ communities of the right to ownership and control of our lives and resources, which were enacted without our participation and consent. These include the land use decree and the petroleum decree etc…We demand the immediate withdrawal from Ijaw land of all military forces of occupation and repression by the Nigerian state. Any oil Company that employs the service of the armed forces of the Nigerian state to ‘protect’ its operations will be viewed as an enemy of the Ijaw people. Family members of military personnel stationed in Ijaw land should appeal to their people to leave the Ijaw area alone.[26]

The declaration gave a December 30, 1998 ultimatum to both the government and the oil companies to respond positively to their demand. It added that if the deadline was not met, all MNOCs operating in Ijaw lands and territorial waters and indeed in the large Niger Delta should leave. Ijaw youths followed up on these demand with a protest march to government house in Yenagoa, the main purpose of which was to convey their grievances through the then state governor, Lt. Colonel Paul Obi to the Federal Government. However, security operatives opened fire on the protesters leaving some dead and many others injured in the pandemonium that followed. This marked the beginning of hostilities between Ijaw youths and the security force.[27] Following this incident, the Egbesu Boys regrouped, apparently in preparation for war, having been in possession of sophisticated weapons. They engaged both the navy and army in fire battles with heavy casualties on both sides. In some cases, the rampaging youths ransacked military formation, terrorized fleeing soldiers and policemen and became warlord in strategic locations. The towns of Kaiama, Odi, Ekeki and others became battlefields in heavy crossfire. Apart from this, the militant youths were able to close down oil installations in the Niger Delta thereby disrupting oil production.[28]
          Quite apart from the Ijaw Youth Council, several other militant groups sprang up, increasingly on an ethnic basis, to resist the activities of the federal government in the Niger-Delta, and especially oil exploration by the MNOCs. One such prominent group is the MOSOP (Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People); eventually, these groups coalesce into the bigger and more embracing MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta).[29] In addition to the violence and other different forms of illegality which these groups variously indulged,[30] they had a network of collaboration with both domestic and international organisations who were sympathetic to the core issues of their agitation, which they exploited for the purpose of propaganda.[31]
These groups at various times, had attempted to present their case/claims as indigenous people to the government of Nigeria and the different organs of the United Nations in order to rake up international sympathy and support for their cause, but successive Nigerian and other foreign government have continued to label and treat the Niger Delta Militants as terrorist.[32] Despite this contemptuous labeling, the militants consider themselves as liberation and resistant forces fighting for their right of self-determination as indigenous peoples against the twin evil of eco-terrorism[33]and ecological war[34] perpetrated by the Nigerian government and multinational oil companies against the Niger Delta region and its indigenous inhabitants.
Until recently, the government of the federal republic of Nigeria insisted that the activities of militants in the Niger-Delta constitute terrorism and that the militant groups are terrorist organization who must be treated like any other common criminal.
It must be noted however that the recent amnesty introduced by the government excludes all those who would lay down their weapons and collaborate with the government to address the numerous problems of the region. Despite this development, there is yet to be complete cessation of violence and hostilities between all the militant groups in the region and the Federal Government of Nigeria.[35]
This situation, thus, possess some prospect in exploring numerous international law questions, such as the relationship between the right of self-determination of people claiming that right as indigenous people in a post-colonial federal state (like Nigeria) and the concept of terrorism in international criminal law and how this interface with some aspects of international humanitarian law. This research thesis will therefore attempt to examine the concepts of self-determination and its interjacent with terrorism as an aspect of international humanitarian law, and how these concepts may interface with the issues raised in the Niger-Delta conflict.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Nigeria’s Niger Delta region is not only home to the greater part of Africa’s largest mangrove forest, but also the source of Nigeria’s oil wealth. Since Nigeria is an oil-dependent nation, accounting for over 80% of national revenues and 95% of foreign exchange earnings, any disruption of oil production is perceived as a threat to the survival and well-being of the country.[36]
As a result, the oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria has been embroiled in crisis between government forces and some militant elements that are aggrieved over certain fundamental issues affecting the region. Over the past few years, militants have fought with government forces, sabotaged oil installations, taken foreign oil workers hostage and carried out lethal car bombings. At the root of their grievances is a crisis of underdevelopment, pollution, and livelihood. This crisis has been exacerbated by emergent issues of a gross distortion of the Nigerian federalism in respect to resource control, citizenship rights and environmental degradation. The crisis also portends a very grave danger for the Niger Delta region in particular and the Nigerian state in general. In truth after all, the militants do not only confront the Nigerian state, they challenge the very heart of global capitalism represented in the region by the multinational oil companies.[37]
This situation may deteriorate into an open and prolonged war between the armed militants of the Niger Delta and the Federal Government of Nigeria, which would affect other constituent element of the polity, the West African sub-region and international peace and security as a whole. This possibility was acknowledged by the former President Shehu Shagari, thus: “the biggest problem Nigeria faces today, in my humble opinion,  is the problem with the militants in the Niger Delta area”.[38]
The militants have continued to claim to act in their collective interest to enforce their right of self-determination as indigenous people, while the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the other hand insists that the activities of militants constitute terrorism and that the militant groups are terrorist organizations who must be treated like any other common criminal. There seems to be no respite in the Niger-Delta militants/Federal Government crisis, even after the Federal government amnesty programme in 2010, there is yet to be an enduring cease-fire in the region notwithstanding several national and international efforts to achieve one.[39] The perennial issue raised by the Niger-Delta crisis is how to categorize the injurious activities of groups who claim to be fighting for their right of self-determination in international law, albeit as indigenous people.

1.3     Research Questions
Based on the observation of the problem which the researcher has identified above, two major research questions could be formulated as the fulcrum of this research, while several subsidiary questions can be derived from the two major ones for resolution in this thesis

Major Research Questions

a).      Can the struggle of the Niger-Delta people be understood within the context of internal colonialism and therefore a struggle for de-colonization within the purview of international convention?
b).      Can a people fighting for their right of internal self-determination be labeled terrorists by the group who deny them that right?

Subsidiary Research Question
a).      Do the people of the Niger-Delta constitute ‘people’ who are entitled to the right of self-determination within the framework of the concept of indigenous people?
b).      Do the people of the Niger-Delta satisfy the criteria for being considered as indigenous people?
c).      Are the people of the Niger-Delta entitled to use violence or armed forces in the exercise of their right to self- determination?
d).      Can the militants in the Niger-Delta be labeled terrorists in view of their motivations? If so, do their activities amount to domestic and international terrorism?
e).      Are there any impediments militating against the right of the Niger-Delta people to self-determination in the Nigerian corporate policy?
f).       Is the government of Nigeria the continuation of the colonial master evoking colonial policies and creating colonial experiences in the Niger Delta?
g).      Are the people of the Niger Delta justified in their demands against the Federal Government of Nigeria for claims of rights of indigenous peoples?
h).      Does the activities and actions of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the Niger-Delta region constitute state terrorism?
i).       Does the activities of the Nigerian Government and multinational oil companies in the Niger-Delta constitute eco-terrorism?
j).       Do the multinational oil companies operating in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria fulfill their social responsibility and obligation to the people of the region?
k).      What are the best ways of tackling the Niger-Delta crisis? Should they involve international, regional and domestic efforts?

1.4     Objectives of the Research

          The objectives of this thesis are intrinsically derived from the totality of the questions posed in this research. Thus, the objectives of the study are quite few. Based on the research questions already raised, the following objectives are formulated for the research:-
a).      To assess the claims and activities of the people of the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria and those of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the light of the interjacent between international human rights law (right of indigenous peoples to self determination) and international criminal law on terrorism as well as humanitarian law (status of the militants).
b).      To find out whether the assertion of the right of self-determination by aggrieved indigenous peoples would preclude the crime of terrorism under customary and contemporary treaty international law.
c).      To recommend ways of tackling the Niger-Delta crisis through international, regional and domestic efforts.

1.5     Research Methodology

          The research methodology in this study involves principally doctrinal and theoretical analysis. Thus, most of the information required to succeed in this thesis will be obtained from primary and secondary sources of information, with few obtained from tertiary sources. Therefore, the following sources are relevant: Textbooks; Handsards; Official policy documents of states and international organizations; Resolutions, declarations and conventions deposited with international organizations; Published articles in periodicals; Conference presentation (Published and unpublished); News data by international multimedia/News networks (e.g. CNN, BBC, Fox News, Sky News etc); Unpublished Degree Dissertations; News data, by international print media (i.e. Newspapers and magazines); Internet sources (i.e. articles and postings); Print reference sources (i.e. Dictionaries, Encyclopedia etc) and Other electronic sources (i.e. Microsoft Encarta, encyclopedias).

1.6     Significance of the Research

The significance of any prospective research lies primarily in exploiting the shortcomings in the entire research so far conducted within the area of interest and then looking at the key concept from a perspective which has not been already adequately and fully explored by scholars and researchers. Thus, the following may be considered as the significance and relevance of this proposed research thesis:

a)       The research will revisit and re-appraise the theoretical connection and relationship between the concepts of terrorism and the international human rights of indigenous people which is rarely explored and highlighted in relevant literature. It is recalled here that a lot of research conducted on the concept of terrorism always boarders on meaning, types, actors, motives, methods and legal regime for prevention and enforcement of the crime of terrorism. The closest literature so far known to this researcher in exploring the relationship between terrorism and the right of self-determination is generally in the investigation of the status and activities of National Liberation Movement.
Since little is known about the struggles of indigenous peoples, the researcher therefore intends to take advantage of this lacuna and explore this virgin field of research with a view of advancing new theories, thereby helping to develop the subject area within the context of the Niger-Delta crisis in Nigeria.

b)      The researcher will reopen debates on critical aspects of studies that converge between issues in international criminal law, international human rights law and humanitarian law – a connection which seems to be largely forgotten or ignored by scholars.
c)       The study will investigate the significant difference between the claims of peoples or nations in other parts of the world to wit, New Zealand, Australia and Americans vis-à-vis the claims of nations in Africa, especially in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria to the status of indigenous people.
It has been observed that the colonial experience and subsequent contemporary experiences of the natives in these different regions is not the same. For instance, in New Zealand, Australia and Americans, there was settler colonialism while same cannot be said of most parts of Africa, especially Nigeria where independence was attained and sovereignty/governance returned to the natives who are ably represented in national politics of these countries. By exploring this research area, the researcher will therefore contribute significantly to the study of indigenous peoples in Africa.

d)      Lastly, by determining and seeking to understand the Niger-Delta conflict broadly within the context of international human rights regimes for the protection of the right of indigenous peoples, international humanitarian law and international criminal law, the researcher intends to proffer enduring solutions to the conflict facing the region, so as to create a congenial environment for oil exploration activities with its attendant benefit to both the Federal Government of Nigeria and the people of the Niger Delta region.

1.7     Scope of the Study

This in the main, dwells principally on the three areas of international law; namely, international human rights law, international criminal law as well as international humanitarian law. The work will also examine some domestic laws of countries as it relates to the concept of indigenous people and self-determination. It is important to point out here that the scope of this research does not cover every aspect of the subject areas mentioned; rather an interjacent of the three related subject areas is required. The research will also test the hypothesis that the assertion of the right of self-determination by aggrieved indigenous people would prelude the crime of terrorism under customary and contemporary treaty international law.

1.8     Limitation of the Study
The researcher is limited by funds, space and time in accomplishing the tasks proposed in this thesis. Thus, the limited availability of these parameters will certainly affect the eventually quality of the thesis, though not too significant as to invalidate the credibility of the work.


1.1     Background of the Study
1.2     Statement of the Problem
1.3     Research Question
1.4     Objectives of the Research
1.5     Research Methodology
1.6     Significance of the Research
1.7     Scope of Study
1.8     Limitation of the Study


2.1     Introduction
2.2     Meaning of ‘Peoples’
2.3     Nature and meaning of ‘indigenous peoples’
2.4     Link between Niger Delta people and indigenous peoples
2.5     Relationship between indigenous peoples, internal colonialism and decolonization
2.6     Linkage between indigenous peoples and right of self-determination
2.7     Affiliation between indigenous peoples and the extractive industry
2.8     Relationship between indigenous peoples and terrorism
2.9     Nature, Origins and Dimensions of the Niger Delta crisis, militancy and terrorism
2.10 Link between the Niger Delta crisis, Liberation Struggle, terrorism and Criminality
2.11   Nexus between Niger delta crisis and armed conflict
2.12   Relationship between the Nigerian federalism, devolution and the expression of the right of self-determination of the Niger delta people
2.13   Nexus between the Niger Delta crisis, resource control and federalism


3.1     Introduction
3.2     Indigenous Recognition in International Law
3.3     Indigenous people and the UN Human Rights System
3.4     Analysis of International Law and Institutions on Indigenous Peoples
3.4.1  UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
3.4.2  UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples
3.4.3  ILO Conventions 107 and 169
3.4.4  Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
3.4.5  Inter-State Treaties with Special Provisions Addressing Indigenous peoples
3.4.6  Operational Policies of International and Private Institutions Relating  to Indigenous Peoples
3.4.7  Treaties and Agreements to which indigenous peoples are Parties
3.5     Analysis of Legal Frames for Claims by Indigenous Peoples
3.5.1  Distinctive Claims of Indigenous Peoples
                    3.5.1A         Right to Lands and territories
                    3.5.1B                   Right to Participation
                    3.5.1C         Rights Relating to Development
                    3.5.1D         Right Relating to Culture
3.5.2  Historic Sovereignty Claims
3.5.3  Self-Determination Claims
3.5.4  Minority Claims
3.5.5  Human Rights and Non-Discrimination


4.1     Introduction
4.2     The Evolution of the Right to self-determination in the 20th Century
4.2.1  Self-determination before the Second World War
4.2.2  The UN and Notion of Self-Determination
4.2.3  Economic Self-Determination
4.3     Self-Determination and the Notion of Statehood in the 21st Century
4.4     Self-Determination, Wars of National Liberation and Classification of Armed Conflicts
4.5     Classification and status of armed struggles or wars of self-Determination in Domestic and International Law: Criminals, Terrorists, Freedom Fighters or Revolutionaries?
4.6     Strategies behind terror-violence, and the Political Consequences of the potential applicability of International Humanitarian Law to Liberation Struggles


5.1     Introduction
5.2     Origin of the Niger Delta Agitation and Struggle for Resource Control
5.3     Understanding the Niger Delta Struggle in the Light of Human Rights as Indigenous Peoples
5.4     The Niger Delta Agitation as Struggle for Self-Determination as Indigenous Peoples: Extent and Content
5.5     Means and Tactics of the Niger Delta Conflict and the Question of Terrorism
5.6     Scope and Extent of the Niger Delta Conflict and the Applicability of International Humanitarian Law Norms
5.7     The Niger Delta Conflict, Terrorism and the Amnesties Programme of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
5.8     The Niger Delta Conflict and Anti-terrorism Legislations in Nigeria


6.1     Observations
6.2     Recommendations
6.3     Conclusion


Books/Book Chapters

Anaya, S. J., Indigenous Peoples in International Law, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996)

Novikova, N. I. “Self-Government of the Indigenous Minority Peoples of West Siberia: Analysis of Law and Practice”, Erich Kasten (ed.) People and the Land: Pathways to Reform in Post-Soviet Siberia, (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag) 2002.

Articles in Journals
Aguilar, Grethel, Access to Genetic Resources and Protection of Traditional Knowledge in the Territories of Indigenous Peoples, Environmental Science & Policy 4 (2001).
Anaya, J. “Indigenous Peoples’ Participatory Rights in Relation to Decisions About Natural Resource Extraction: The More Fundamental Issue of What Rights Indigenous Peoples Have in Lands and Resources”, Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law, vol. 22, No. 1 2005.
Anaya, S. J. “International Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples: The Move toward the Multicultural State”, Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law Vol. 21, No. 1 2004.
Anaya, S. J. “Indian Givers: What Indigenous Peoples Have Contributed to International Human Rights Law”, Journal of Law & Policy, vol. 22:107, 2006.

Brilmayer, Lea, “Secession and Self-Determination: A Territorial Interpretation”, Yale Journal of International Law, vol. 16:177, 1991.
Carla, Wilson, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith, 1999, Zed Books, London, (Book Review), Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, Issue 17, December 2001.

Chiriboga, Oswaldo Ruiz, “The Right to Cultural Identity of Indigenous Peoples and National Minorities: A Look from the Inter-American System”, International Journal on Human Rights, No. 5, Yr. 3, 2006.

Churchill, Ward, “The Law Stood Squarely on Its Head: U.S. Legal Doctrine, Indigenous Self-Determination and the Question of World Order”, Oregon Law Review, vol. 81, 2002.

Clinton, Robert N. “The Rights of Indigenous Peoples as Collective Rights”, Arizona Law Review, vol. 32, No. 4, 1990.

Daes, Erica-Irene, "Native People's Rights", Les Cahiers de droit, vol. 27, no. 1, 1986.

Dodson, Michael The End in the Beginning: Re(de)finding Aboriginality, The Wentworth Lecture, Australian Aboriginal Studies, /No. 1, 1994.

Figueroa, Isabela, “Indigenous Peoples Versus Oil Companies: Constitutional Control Within Resistance”, International Journal on Human Rights, Number 4, Year 3,  2006.

Foster, C. E. “Articulating Self-Determination in the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, European Journal of International Law, Vol. 12, 2001.

Fromherz, Christopher J. “Indigenous Peoples' Courts: Egalitarian Juridical Pluralism, Self-Determination, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, vol. 156:1341, 2008.

Holder, Cindy L. & Jeff J. Corntassel, “Indigenous Peoples and Multicultural Citizenship: Bridging Collective and Individual Rights”, Human Rights Quarterly Vol. 24, 2002.

Jason, C. Nelson, “The Application of the International Law of State Succession to the United States: A Reassessment of the Treaty Between the Republic of Texas and the Cherokee Indians”, Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, vol. 17:1, 2006.

Joji Cariño, “Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Free, Prior, Informed Consent: Reflections on Concepts and Practice, Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law, vol. 22, No. 1 2005.

Jung, Courtney, “The Moral Force of Indigenous Politics: Critical Liberalism and the Zapatistas”, Public Archaeology, Vol. 7 No. 4, Winter, 2008.

Kenrick, Justin & Jerome Lewis, “Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and the Politics of the Term  ‘indigenous’, Anthropology Today, Vol. 20, No. 2, April 2004.

Kingsbury, Benedict, “Indigenous Peoples’ in International Law: A Constructivist Approach to the Asian Controversy”, American Journal of International Law, vol. 92, No. 3, July 1998.

Lâm, Maivân Clech “Remembering the Country of Their Birth: Indigenous Peoples and Territoriality”, Journal of International Affairs, vol. 57, No. 2. Spring 2004.

Manus, Peter, “Sovereignty, Self-Determination, and Environment-Based Cultures: The Emerging Voice of Indigenous Peoples in International Law”, Wisconsin International Law Journal, Vol. 23, No. 4, 2006.

Miranda, Lillian Aponte, “Indigenous Peoples as International Lawmakers”, University of Pennsylvania. Journal Int’l Law, Vol. 32:1, 2010.

Nseabasi, S. Akpan, Governance and Communal Conflicts in a Post-Democratic Nigeria: A Case of the Oil-Producing Niger Delta Region”, Journal of African Studies and Development, vol. 2(3), pp. 065-074, April 2010.

O’Bryan, Katie, “Issues in Natural Resource Management – Inland Water Resources – Implications of Native Title and the Future of Indigenous Control and Management of Inland Waters”, Murdoch University E-law Journal, vol. 14, No. 2 (2007).

Ojakorotu, Victor, “The Internationalization of Oil Violence in the Niger Delta of Nigeria”, Alternatives Turkish Journal of International Relations, vol. 7 no. 1, 2008.

Oloka-Onyango, J. “Heretical Reflections on the Right to Self-Determination: Prospects and Problems for A Democratic Global Future in the New Millennium”, American University International Law Review, 15:151, 1999.

Onyenekenwa, Cyprian Eneh, “Crippling Poverty amidst Corporate Social Actions: A Critique of Peripheral Corporate Community Involvement in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria”, Asian Journal of Rural Development, vol. 1 (1): 1-20, 2011.

Porter, Robert B. “Pursuing the Path of Indigenization in the Era of Emergent International Law Governing the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal, vol. 5, 2002.

Sanders, Will, “Towards an Indigenous Order of Australian Government: Rethinking Self-Determination as Indigenous Affairs Policy”, Australian Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Discussion Paper No. 230, 2002.
Satterthwaite, Margaret & Deena Hurwitz, “The Right of Indigenous Peoples to Meaningful Consent in Extractive Industry Projects”, Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law, vol. 22, No. 1, 2005.

Shannon Speed & Jane F. Collier, “Limiting Indigenous Autonomy in Chiapas, Mexico: The State Government’s Use of Human Rights”, Human Rights Quarterly 22 (2000).

Smith, D. E. “Jurisdictional Devolution: Towards an Effective Model for Indigenous Community Self-Determination”, Australian Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Discussion Paper No. 233, 2002.

Weller, Marc, “The Self-determination Trap”, Ethnopolitics, vol. 4, No. 1, 3–28, March 2005.

Unpublished Reports and Dissertations

Carley, Patricia, “Self-Determination, Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity, and the Right to Secession”, United States Institute of Peace, Report from a Roundtable Held in Conjunction with the U.S. Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff, 1996.

Coulthard, Glen Sean, “Subjects of Empire? Indigenous Peoples and the ‘Politics of Recognition’ in Canada”, A Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of   Doctor of Philosophy, The Department of Political Science, University of Victoria, 2010.

[1] The Niger Delta has a peculiar terrain which tends to make development difficult. For instance, it is one of the largest wetlands in the world. It covers an area of 70,000 square kilometers and is noted for its sandy coastal ridge barriers, brackish or saline mangroves, fresh water, permanent and seasonal swamp forests as well as low land rain forest. The coastal line is buffeted throughout the year by the tides of Atlantic Ocean while the mainland is subjected to regimes of flood by the various rivers particularly river Niger. See NDDC (2001), NDDC profile Port Harcourt.
[2] Figure was released by the National population Commission as the result of 2006 National Census in the Country. See, NPC release 2006 population Figures, Nigerian Village Square, (on-line material) available at (last visited 22/11/2011). The breakdown of the figure shows that the North West has a population of 35,786, 944, the north Central – 20, 266, 257, North East – 18971, 965, South West 27,581,992, South East – 16,381,729 and South South – 21,014, 655. See Chidi Anyaeche, the 2006 Nigeria census figures (on-line material) available at htt:// (last visited 22/11/2011)
[3] See, Akpobibibo Onduku, ‘The Lingering Crisis in the Niger Delta’, Field work Report, Interdisciplinary Journal of Peace, Conflict & Development, June 2003 pp. 2-3 available at
[4] See, ibid, p.2
[5] Ibeanu, “Oiling the Friction: Environmental Conflict Management in Nigeria”, Environmental Change and Security Project Report, 2000
[6] See Eghosa Osaghae, Augustine Ikelegbe and Steven Olchonmina, “Youth Militias, Self Determination and Resource Control Struggles in the Niger-Delta Region of Nigeria”, August, 2007, p.6.
[7] Brisibe A. A, “African Tradition, the Identity of a People: With Special Focus on Globalization and its Impact in the Niger Delta”, C. O.O. L. Conference, Boston, USA, March 18, 2011, p. 1
[8] Nrummo Bassey, “Oil Watching in South America L. A Pollution Tour of Venezuela, Caracas, Peru and Ecuador”, Environmental Rights Action, Nigeria, 1997
[9] It is estimated that crude oil exports today make up 98% of Nigeria’s annual exports, over 80% of government’s annual revenue and 70% of budgetary  expenditure see Akpobibibo Onduku, Op. cit note 3, p. 3. kaniye S. A. Ebeku traced the role of crude oil in Nigeria economic from the 1970’s and found that federal government’s  revenue from oil rose from 17% in 1971 to 71% in 1973 and to 86% in 1975, and the pattern has remained the same since then, hence in 1990 oil revenue accounted for 90% of foreign exchange receipts and in 2000, 83.5% of the total gross revenue. See Kaniye Ebeka, “Oil and the Niger-Delta People: The Injustice of the Land Use Act”, Journal of Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, University of Dundee, 2000.
[10] See, Akpobibibo Onduku, Op. cit, note 3, p. 3.
[11] The peculiarities attracted the attention of even the colonial masters. Consequently, Her Majesty’s government set up Sir Henry Willink’s commission to recommend the best strategies for the development of the region which has been most difficult terrain in the country. When the commission turned in its report in 1958, it specially recommended that the Niger Delta region deserved special developmental attention and should, therefore, be made a special area to be developed directly by the Federal government. It is pertinent to state that this was before crude oil became the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. Based on the report, the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) was established in 1960 to cater for the unique developmental needs of the area. The NDDB was best moribund before the outbreak of the civil war seven years later. For more see NDDC (2001) NDDC profile, Port Harcourt.
[12] See “Nigeria Petroleum Pollution in Ogoni Region”, TED Case Studies, No. 149, (unpublished work) para 2, available at 2
[13] Akpobibibo Onduku, Op. cit, note 3, p. 4
[14] Blessing A. Nwoka, “The Politics of Self-Determination and Identity of the Minorities of the Niger Delta”, in G. O. M. Tasie (ed.) The Niger: The Past, Present and the Way Forward, Abstracts of papers at the conference on the Niger Delta, Port Harcourt, 6-9 December, 2000.
[15] Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) 2006, ‘Niger Regional Development Master Plan’, popular version, NDDC, Port Harcourt.
[16] This actions can be attribute to frustration (on the part of the people of the region) arising from both state and oil companies negligence and destruction of the Niger Delta ecology, which is the basic structure that supports life in the region, as elsewhere. It may be said that the struggle by the people of the region have been predicated on certain fundamental issues, namely; their exclusion or marginalization in terms of access to resource sharing (known in Nigerian parlance as resource control); environmental degradation, and egregious human rights violations.
[17] See, The International Crisis Group, “The Swamps of Insurgency: Nigeria’s Niger-Delta Unrest”, Africa Report, No. 115-3, August 2006, p.1.
[18] See Alternative: Turkish Journal of International Relations vol. 7 No. 1 Spring 2008, p. 93.
[19] The use of terror strategies by the agitated groups to end the real and perceived injustice has attracted global attentions and a rethink on resource distribution policies of the Federal Government. However, the persistence of the problem suggests the failure of such policies. See, Ilutoye Sarafa Ogundiya, ‘Domestic Terrorism and Security Threats in the Niger delta Region of Nigeria’, p. 31.
[20] See, Swamps of Insurgency, Op. cit,, pp 6-7, The Price of Oil, Op cit note 4 (Chap viii); “The Ogoni Crisis: A Case Study of Military Repression in South-Eastern Nigeria, July 2005; Amnesty International, ‘Ten years on:  Injustice and violence Haunt the Oil Delta, November, 2005.
[21] This was revealed in a press release of the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC); missing Raffle syndrome” 20/04/2003.
[22] See Victor Ojakorotu, The Internationalization of Oil Violence in the Niger Delta of Nigeria, Turkish journal of International Relations vol. 7. No. 1 Spring, 2008 p. 103.
[23] These organizations include Amnesty International, the Green Peace movement, the un-represented nations and peoples organization (UNPO), the Rainforest Action Group, the United Nations and common wealth
[24] All the major ethnic groups in the Niger Delta lay claim to nationhood as indigenous people who are entitle to self-determination. They support their claim with their history of pre-colonial independence and autonomy and the various treaties concluded by their Chiefs with the colonial masters, signifying partnership. See generally on-line information available at
[25] See demands of the various ethno-nationalities in the Niger-Delta to the Nigerian state represented in various documents, i.e. ‘The Ogoni Bill of Rights (1999) and “The Communiqué of the First Urhobo Economic Summit (1998), available at
[26] The Guardian Newspaper, December 30, 1998
[27] Victor Ojakorotu, The Internationalization of Oil Violence in the Niger Delta of Nigeria, Turkish Journal of International Relations vol. 7. No. 1 Spring, 2008, p. 102.
[28] See Ibid p. 102
[29] See, The International Crisis Group, “The Swamps of Insurgency: Nigeria’s Niger-Delta Unrest”, Africa Report, No. 115-3, August 2006, p.1. initially there were smaller ethno-nationalist resistant movements like the Ken Saro Wiwa’s Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), the Ijaw  Youth Council and the Federated Niger-Delta Izon Communities Movement (FNDIC), however larger forces comprising the entire Niger-Delta ethnic groups have begun to spring up, like the Alhaji Dokubo Asari’s Niger-Delta People’s Volunteer Force and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND). See Patterson Ogon, “ Land and Forest Resources Use in the Niger-Delta: Issues in Regulation and Sustainable Management”, available at, p.1 – 2
[30] Various unlawful and punishable activities were attributed to the operations of the insurgency groups in the Niger Delta, such as, kidnapping, extortion, hostage taking, murder, maiming, armed robbery, bombing e.t.c.
[31] Obi, C. I The Changing Forms of Identity Politics in Nigeria under Economic Adjustment: The Case of the Oil Minorities Movement of the Niger Delta, Nordiska Research Report No. 119. Uppsals, 2009.
[32] See. The Kaiama Declaration, Op. cit, note 22 (Ijaw youth denounced the notion that they are terrorists). See also The Guardian Newspaper, Tuesday, October 25, 2007, vol. 25 No. 10, 567. p 96 available at
[33] See Patterson Ogon, “ Land and Forest Resources Use in the Niger-Delta: Issues in Regulation and Sustainable Management”, available at,  p. 1
[34] See Full text of the last statement of Ken Saro wiwa after his conviction, recorded in TED case studies, Op. cit, note 4.
[35] See, “Rebel Group warns of Renewed Attacks on “oil war”, France 24, International News (on-line material) available at http:/
[36] Cyril I. Obi, ‘Nigeria’s Niger Delta, Understanding the complex Drivers of conflict’, p. 4.
[37] Hassan Tai Ejibun, Nigeria’s Niger Delta Crisis: Root Causes of Peacelessness, JCSS issue 07/07 p. 3.
[38] Shehu Shagari (former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria), BBC News, Wednesday 30 May, 2007.
Share on Google Plus


The publications and/or documents on this website are provided for general information purposes only. Your use of any of these sample documents is subjected to your own decision NB: Join our Social Media Network on Google Plus | Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin