Non-State Violence, State Responses, and Implications for Human Rights and Security in the Niger Delta

Nelson Takon


Abstract


Bayelsa State – the heartland of the Ijaw ethnic group – is arguably the most important of the core states of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria in terms of the oil industry; and where incidences of both state and non-state violence were occurring regularly at the time of research. This paper seeks to empirically examine the role of contextual variables, like the mobilised Ijaw ethnic group, who are embedded in conflict in an area of Nigeria rich with oil resources.  I argue that the role of Ijaw ethnic group could not be ignored, but that it changed the emphasis from ‘elite-led’ campaigns to the more popular and local level violent anti-state and anti-oil company agitations. Following on from this, I argue that post-2000 oil resource-related conflict and state responses resulted in serious human rights violations and a humanitarian disaster for the most vulnerable members of the population of the region, notably women and children.

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