Oil Governance in the Niger Delta
: Exploring the role of the Militias

  • Ben Tantua

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis explores the complex voices of militants, associated with the capture of oil resources in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The persistent violent conflict involving militant groups in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria is a major concern for many within the country and the international community. Understanding the conflict in the Niger Delta has triggered a wide range of discussions and debates among researchers, politicians and policy makers. However, these debates have overlooked the views of the militants, who are actively engaged in the conflict over resource governance in the region. Moreover the ideology of self-determination and resource control, which these militants use to legitimise their actions, seem to generate different meanings and labelling that tend to cloud an understandings of the conflict in the region. In this thesis, I adopt the theoretical assumptions of the New Social Movement literature and the epistemological views of the Interpretivist Social Constructionist approach to explore (a) what features shaped the emergence of militancy and its diverse forms (b) how do militias make sense of their role as militants? (c) how does the role of militias impact on the politics of oil governance in the Niger Delta? I argue that militia actions that appear to challenge the legitimacy and authority of the Nigerian state to control oil resources, are embedded in complex webs involving formal and informal interactions of political elites and militia leaders. From analysis of this research, key dominant concepts such as Identity, opportunism and competition, emerged to give insight as to why and how militancy has become significant in the region.
Date of Award9 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJoe Devine (Supervisor) & Roy Maconachie (Supervisor)


  • Niger Delta
  • Resource Governance
  • Militancy

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