The thesis evaluates the causality of inter-community conflict in the Niger Delta, notably in the core states of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers. In contrast to previous studies, this research uses its own detailed definition and delineation of Niger Delta Communities (NDCs), and the nature of inter-community conflict, to determine the social, economic and political factors that cause conflict between communities in the ND.A further key distinction between this study and previous research on the causality of conflict in the Niger Delta is the use of evidence and data gathered from leaders and residents involved first-hand in the conflict in the region. The study defines NDCs as inherently autonomous entities, since they were politically autonomous prior to colonisation. Non-native means of administration first introduced by European colonisers constrained these community’s autonomy, most recently under the system of Local Government Areas(LGAs). Corruption and mismanagement in local administration has alienated NDCs who mostly no longer trust the LGAs and have fallen back on traditional means of interacting with their neighbours which can involve the use of violent conflict to settle disputes. Hence, at the heart of inter-community conflict in the Niger Delta is the tension between the ‘traditional’ represented by the NDCs’ inherent autonomy and ancient practices and the ‘modern’ represented by the LGAs’ constitutional authority. The current constitutional administrative system in the Niger Delta blurs community autonomy and forces communities to interact in the geographical, political and legal space created by the LGA. The inability of LGA’s to provide adequate social, economic and political ‘goods’ for their citizens creates an environment where interaction between NDCs often involves competition for access to these goods leading to disputes which are often settled using traditional violent means.
|Date of Award||2017|
|Supervisor||Simon Massey (Supervisor), Alex Thompson (Supervisor) & Felix Roesch (Supervisor)|