Niger Delta Working Papers at UC Berkeley
Niger Delta: Economies of Violence
Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley.
Odioma a quiet Island community located in the Brass LGA of Bayelsa State in Nigeria, witnessed monumental State violence on the 19th of February, 2005. There were remarkable similarities in the Odioma case to the widely condemned events in Odi, also in Bayelsa State, when the President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces ordered soldiers into the community to arrest alleged criminals.
The question of ‘ownership of Warri is of course curious on it face – as if some ethnic or other group might own New York or Paris. What underlies such a claim – in the context of such ownership conferring control over oil wealth – is the question of who is and who is not indigenous.
This paper attempts to provide a detailed account of the conflict in Nembe, as it represents many conflicts in the Niger Delta, and address the prospects for peace.
The Sinister Political Life of Community: Economies of Violence and Governable Spaces in the Niger Delta, Nigeria: Michael Watts; 2004.
My argument runs something like this. Modern petro-capitalism operates through a particular “oil complex” (an institutional configuration of firms, state apparatuses, and oil communities) that constitutes a radical—and multifaceted—challenge to customary forms of community authority, systems of ethnic identity, and the functioning of local state institutions.