n African Journal on Conflict Resolution - Oil, arms proliferation and conflict in the Niger Delta of Nigeria

Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-6997


One of the biggest security challenges facing African states in the 1990s is the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. This development calls for serious attention from states and regional organisations as it has increased tension, and escalated as well as prolonged intra-state conflicts that have characterised Africa in the post-Cold War era. In Nigeria, the trade in small arms and light weapons has fuelled ethnic clashes in the Niger Delta, especially between the Ijaws and their immediate neighbours, the Itsekiri and Urhobos, as events in Warri have shown in recent times. This relatively novel situation aggravates the security problem in the Niger Delta, as the state struggles to address the perennial conflict in the oil-rich region. Given this background, the paper explores the origin of the present oil violence in the Niger Delta and how it has been intensified through the use of weapons that are primarily smuggled from Guinea-Bissau, Gabon and Cameroon. The paper concludes by making some suggestions as policy options for the resolution of the armed conflict in the Niger Delta, with specific reference to the problems of arms proliferation.

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