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The Niger Delta conflict: the application of international law and the normative system of international organizations as a panacea to peace in the region.

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The Niger Delta region of Nigeria has been under the spotlight for a long time over the issue of agitation for equitable distribution of the oil resources for the improvement of the living conditions of the people. Claims of exploitation, marginalization, and oppression by the Nigerian government and the various multinational oil companies operating in the region have been rife. This development has generated armed conflicts between militants and the Nigerian security forces. The high-handedness of the government in response to the conflicts and the activities of the oil companies have attracted the international community. Environmental degradation, pollution, and the health hazards of continuous gas flaring have characterized the activities of the oil companies in the region. Constant human rights violations in the region and the violent reaction of the people have led to the militarization of the region. a situation that the people are militarized by the Nigerian armed forces, especially when they call for redress of their horrendous situations by ways of protest and demonstration. Using a mixed method to research, this study interrogates the feasibility of the application of international laws and norms for the resolution of the constant conflicts in the region occasioned by environmental degradation. In the absence of the government commitment to ameliorating the plights of citizens, this study proposes the intervention of the international system in the protection of the fundamental rights and human dignity of citizens who have been victims of the consequences of the hazards associated with oil exploration in the region. The participants of this study ranged from academics, environmental rights activists, legal practitioners and the civil society. The data generated were sorted and analysed using multiple correspondence analyses (MCA) which was carried out following the study’s objectives and research questions. Considering the imperativeness of the applications of international law and the normative system of International Organizations as a panacea to the long-time conflict, the findings of this study revealed that the Nigerian state and the multinational corporations have treated the region with a high sense of injustice. This has brought about agitations for development, resource control, environmental protection, and militancy in the region as a way of displaying the injustice meted against them for the world to know. This study recommends that the government should embark on a complete arms clean-up in the region and create an environment where the need to keep weapons will no longer be necessary. The security of lives and properties should be the government’s priority.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.