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Ethnic Diversity and Conflict in Nigeria: Lessons from the Niger Delta Crisis

W Akpan


This article assesses the viability of ethnicity as an explanation for the worsening orgy of conflict and militarisation in Nigeria's oil producing region. This is against the background that the Niger Delta crisis, despite being widely portrayed as turning on an ethnic pivot, reveals attributes that should compel a rethink of its assumed social character. Drawing on primary ethnographic data, and on relevant secondary sources, the article highlights methodological and epistemic flaws in the argument that petroleum-related struggles in Nigeria's oil region are rooted in ‘ethnic competition'. The article draws vital lessons from the Niger Delta crisis, for peace building and societal re-engineering in Nigeria and other African societies saddled with similar diversity- and resource-related challenges.

African Journal on Conflict Resolution Vol. 7 (2) 2007: pp. 161-192
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eISSN: 1562-6997