Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا

Youths Militias, Self Determination and Resource Control Struggles in the Niger-delta Region of Nigeria

Eghosa E. Osaghae, Augustine Ikelegbe, Omobolaji O. Olarinmoye & Stephen I. Okhomina. Youths Militias, Self Determination and Resource Control Struggles in the Niger-delta Region of Nigeria. Dakar, CODESRIA, Research Report n° 5, 2011, 96 p; ISBN 978-2-86978-490-1

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The Niger-delta region, Nigeria’s oil belt has been the site of a generalised ethnic and regional struggle for self-determination since 1998, the location of often-violent confrontations between local ethnic communities and agents of the Nigerian state and oil companies involved in the extraction of oil in area. What began as community agitation has undoubtedly undergone several transformations. The first profound transformation was the flowering of civil society, which mobilised a popular civil struggle. In the second, the agitation was extended from that against multinational oil companies to include the Nigerian state. The third transformation involved the elevation of the agitation from purely developmental issues to include political demands such as federal restructuring, resource control and the resolution of the national question through a conference of ethnic nationalities. The current and fourth stage of the transformation has seen the involvement of the youths, youth militancy and youth militias. The negative impact of violence associated with youth-led self-determination struggles in the delta raises the need for an in-depth examination of the youth, militias and self-determination nexus in the Niger-delta. In other words, there is a need to understand the history, changing contexts and local and social processes and dynamics of the conflicts in the delta to guide policy-making.

The main objectives of this study were to examine the main parties to the conflict, their perceptions, values, attitudes and interests. The study also goes into understanding the youth movements and militias; results, ramifications and implications of the conflict; and government interventions and policies, their effectiveness or otherwise and efforts at peacemaking.

This publication is a research report to the Consortium for Development Partnerships (CDP) jointly coordinated by the Northwestern University , Evanston, USA and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Dakar, Senegal, during the first phase (2004-2008). The second phase (2009-2012) is under the coordination of CODESRIA and the African Studies Center, Leiden, The Netherlands). The CDP Secretariat is currently hosted by CODESRIA.


Eghosa E. Osaghae is a Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Ibadan and currently Vice Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada, Nigeria.

Augustine Ikelegbe holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He teaches at the University of Benin, Nigeria.

Omobolaji O. Olarinmoye holds a PhD in Comparative Politics from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is currently an Oxford-Princeton Global Leaders Fellow at the Global Economic Governance Programme, University College, Oxford.

Stephen I. Okhonmina is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Coordinator, Centre for Presidential Studies, Igbinedion University, Okada, Nigeria.

Full Text

March 9 2011