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Economic Regress and Niger Delta Grievances


  • E. Wayne Nafziger

    () (Kansas State University)


The epicenter of Nigeria's deadly political violence is the clash for benefits from petroleum, more than 90 percent of which is produced in the Niger Delta (Ibaba, 2005). The sources of conflict in Nigeria include its ruling coalitions facing pressure from economic stagnation and the highstakes corruption and rent seeking for the control of oil. Delta grievances derive from the lack of community control and land rights, the little revenue for petroleum's producing region, and the environmental degradation and other diseconomies borne by oil-bearing regions. Grievances also come from the lack of democratic accountability, high inequality, and Delta poverty that, while lower than Nigeria generally, is enough to trigger relative deprivation, the perception of social injustices from discrepancies between expectations and actuality. The only approach out of Nigeria's current impasse in the Niger Delta and other regions is to entrust policy to an economic meritocracy (as in Indonesia) that would elicit the fast economic growth that would create a positive-sum game, in which secure regional elites allow the Niger Delta and other regions to exercise decentralized power and land-use rights.

Suggested Citation

  • E. Wayne Nafziger, 2009. "Economic Regress and Niger Delta Grievances," Journal of African Development, African Finance and Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 57-77.
  • Handle: RePEc:afe:journl:v:11:y:2009:i:2:p:57-77

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