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Resolving the conflicts in Nigeria's oil industry - A critical analysis of the role of public participation

Ako, Rhuks Temitope (2008) Resolving the conflicts in Nigeria's oil industry - A critical analysis of the role of public participation. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94160) (KAR id:94160)

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This study examines the role that law plays in producing and exacerbating instability in the Nigerian oil-industry, and how it might serve as a veritable tool in the quest for the restoration of order and legitimate authority, sustainable peace and development in the Niger Delta region that hosts it. The central thesis is that the regulatory framework which governs the oil industry overwhelmingly bestows ownership and control of that strategic sector on the federal government in ways that alienate host oil communities and frustrates these communities from any meaningful participation in the industry. At the same time, traditional subsistence opportunities are foreclosed by the environmental consequences of long years of oil production activities. These situations, in turn, are precipitating the worst kinds of community anomie and disorders as well as a regime of state repression in the Niger Delta.

The study utilises the environmental justice theory to analyze Nigeria’s oil-industry’s regulatory framework; particularly those that implicate ownership and management of oil (including the distribution of oil revenues), landholding and environmental protection. A major finding of the study is that these legal provisions not only contribute to the erosion of public trust but also undermine host-communities’ rights to participate actively in the management of the oil-industry. It suggests that attempts to resolve the on-going conflicts have failed, for the most part, due to neglect of the rights-based context in which host- communities are now demanding greater participation and ownership. In essence, notions of ‘recognition’ and ‘distribution’ are central to the resolution of the crisis. It concludes by recommending that environmental human rights should be constitutionally recognized as the foundation for other requisite public participation initiatives.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Howarth, William
Thesis advisor: Mansell, Wade
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94160
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2022 14:00 UTC
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 14:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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