, Volume 75, Issue 5, pp 459-507

Resource control, revenue allocation and petroleum politics in Nigeria: the Niger Delta question

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Abstract

The Niger Delta question represents one of the most intractable sources of political destabilization, constitutes a profound threat to national security, and economic development of the Nigerian state. Therefore, the study of the intricate dynamics among multinational oil corporations, the Nigerian State, and insurgent militias illuminates the root causes, societal schisms and the political economy of resource induced conflicts in Africa’s major oil producing nation state. This case study illustrates and explicates the “paradox of plenty”, the “resource curse”, the “shadow state syndrome”, and the debilitating effects of petroleum politics in Nigeria. Economic exploitation of the region’s vast crude oil reserves by multinationals and government authorities is juxtaposed with the specter of environmental devastation, excruciating poverty, and recurrent rule of impunity. National elite contestations concerning the legalities of resource control, internecine squabbles over revenue allocation formulas and derivation principles have been compounded by incessant disruptions of crude oil pipelines, necessitating drastic reduction in the country’s petroleum output and revenues derived from the global economy. Due to the multi-layered dimensions of the effects of crude oil, guns, profits, and geo-territorial instability, the protracted problems of the Niger Delta thus, provides us with pertinent analytical and contextual frameworks for the study of the dynamics, volatility and transparency issues in global extractive industries. In the muddled rivers and creeks of the Niger Delta, characterized by regional destabilization, there has emerged a clandestine economy of protection syndicates, marked exponential increase in kidnappings and targeting of expatriate workers, as well as state sponsored military reprisals against self-styled insurgents, warlords, and militia movements.