Alienation and Environmental Conflict in Africa:
Imperatives for Peaceful Co-Existence
in the Twenty-First Century
of Philosophy, Obafemi University,
The end of the Cold War has given due prominence to studies on environmental
factors and resources. This prominence is realised at two levels: the
internal and the external. At the external level, international economic
agents have expressed their interests in he extraction of resources. Moreover,
international concerns over the control of environmental resources have
triggered off crises of an alarming sort between countries. At the internal
level, the desire to realise the privileges and rights of citizenship
has also rekindled interests in the distribution of those 'internally
discovered' resources. The precarious nature of these interests have,
in recent times, provoked crisis and conflict both within and outside
With focus on Africa, this study seeks to explore two issues of concomitant
importance. It interrogates the nature and cause of environmental crises
that are more of internal relevance and dimension in Africa, particularly;
in countries, like Nigeria, with strategic resources through which it
derives its foreign exchange earnings In the light of a plethora of views
on the causes of these crises, this study aims to place a thematic focus
on the concept of citizenship and alienation (exclusion) as valid theoretical
capstone for explicating the nature and causes of these environmental
conflicts and crises.
This study concludes that an enlightened disquisition on the concept
of citizenship and alienation, and their place in the understanding of
environmental conflict in a country like Nigeria, for instance, allows
for the transcending of boundaries on citizenship claims and stakes. It
also provides the bridgehead for proffering certain categorical imperatives
that ensure peaceful coexistence within a multinational country like Nigeria
and most other similar experiences.
This paper attempts to place a thematic focus on the concept of citizenship
and alienation as valid theoretical capstone for explicating the causes
of environmental conflict and crises in Africa. In order to capture the
essence of the theoretical issues to be raised and to give some empirical
content to the analysis, I shall draw examples from experiences in Nigeria.
This is based on the conviction that the macrocosm of environmental conflict
in Nigeria can be seen in the light of the problems of citizenship and
the related component of alienation. Hence, the central thesis is the
view that environmental conflict in Nigeria, particularly in the Niger
Delta, taken to its zenith by the Ogoni case in 1995 and recent disturbances
in the Warri case, are the outcome of disparate attitudes on the question
of citizenship occasioned by the problems of alienation. The choice of
Nigeria in this analysis is predicated on some premises: one, the abundant
and abounding talents and manpower abilities, two, the abundance of mineral
and natural resources; three, the extremely powerful advantage of an overwhelming
population on the African continent; four, the strategic location of the
country in the African geographical setting; five. environmental and ecological
advantages in terms of weather and climate; six, the multi-ethnic, multilingual
and multicultural nature of the country. In the title of this paper, three
concepts appear particularly interesting to consider. These are: citizenship,
alienation and environmental conflict. I shall, starting from the last,
make some conceptual analysis of these concepts. What is conflict? How
do we conceive the environment?
of conflict: some theoretical analysis
Perhaps the most enduring, even if not the most accurate, image of Africa
in the seventies, eighties and nineties has been that of a continent of
violence perennially on the edge of survival... Africa, thus, stands singled
out as a continent of uniquely violent politics, a continent where force
makes the everyday life of the people even more demeaning and demanding
than in other poorer parts of the world.(1)
How conflicts and violence should be tagged is still an issue of debate
and controversy. Ordinarily, a state of conflict is said to exist where
there is interaction between at least two individuals or groups whose
ultimate objectives differ (Nicholson, 1972). In the case of violence,
Girvetz (1974:185) has defined violence as "harm perpetrated on persons
or property ranging, in the case of persons, from restraining their freedom
of movement to torture and death, and, in the case of property, from simple
fine or damage to complete expropriation or total destruction."
It must be understood, however, that the concept of conflict is multi-dimensional;
it envelopes a family of forms. We select one depending on our analytical
framework, purposes and practical problems. Since theoretical constructs
are not appropriated from everyday life before being given their specialised
and technical meanings, such an analysis not only aids our thinking, it
also gives it direction. Moreover, it creates room for a correct application
of our theoretical concept in an analysis of the causes of the peculiar
patterns of conflicts given certain social condition. An attempt will
be made to focus attention on the concept of environmental conflict. However,
the source of environmental conflict cannot be divorced from the political
setting operative in a given society, hence its close connection with
the idea of political conflict.
and their political dimensions
Conflicts that have an incidence, directly or indirectly, on the direction
and content of public policy are political conflicts. In essence, political
conflict is ultimately about publicly determined access to public goods
and services. Such goods and services, we may note, may be as a result
of environmental exploitation and exploration. For example, government's
direct policy on deforestation and forest resources becomes a political
matter, especially when it is implemented to restrict or deny certain
groups access. In this case, any conflict that erupts as a result of such
a policy may center on the distribution of the rights and privileges available
in the public domain. The key to understanding political violence and
conflict argues Neiburg (1969), "must be found in the dynamics of bargaining
relationships rather than in the chance issues of the conflict." The nature
of political conflict therefore resides or is situated in the structure
of power and the various attitudes or social behaviour that spell or dictate
access to it.
It is against this background that Miall suggested four criteria as useful
in describing a conflict situation with its attendant political dimensions.
According to Miall:
1. A conflict can only exist where the participants perceive it as such;
2. A clear difference of opinion regarding values, interests, aims, or
relations must lie at the heart of a political conflict;
3. The parties in a conflict may be either states or significant element
of the population within the state;
4. The outcome of a conflict must be considered extremely important by
the parties (Miall, 1992).
conflict, however, does not lie in mere differences of opinion, values,
etc. It is the desire or resolve to achieve those differences of opinion
and interests, put into action, that denote or describe, properly the
conflictuality. It is to this end that Lewis Coser (1958:8) describes
conflict as a "struggle over values, claims to status power and scarce
resources in which the aims of the 'opposing' parties are not only to
gain the desired values but also to neutralise, injure or eliminate rivals.
"Conflict may suggest to us an idea or picture of a struggle, but then
it is not in every case that opponents are eliminated, if we take the
notion of elimination literally. For instance, someone may lose the position
of dominance but not be totally denied or bereft of status, power or resources,
nor eliminated in the sense in which it is couched above.
Descriptively, political conflict can be seen as a situation of interaction
involving two or more parties in pursuit of incompatible objectives, or
interests, resulting in varying degrees of discord (Deng, 1996:220). Charles
Tilly has argued that conflicts "seem to grow most directly from the struggles
for established places in the structure of power" (1969:34-45). It is
the struggle for access to opportunities, to the existing rights and privileges
of society which define citizenship within the nation-state. The nature
of the prevailing political order and the social morality it sponsors
or promotes are crucial elements that go into the nature and pattern of
conflicts occurring in such a polity. In Nigeria, however, the struggle
for places of power appears to have assumed a peculiar pattern. Empirical
sociological evidence seems to demonstrate the validity of the view that
conflict in Nigeria is about identity. The logic of conflict seems to
be rooted in the problem of identity. In what follows, I shall attempt
to establish the relation between the problems of alienation and citizenship,
and their effects on the generation of environmental conflict and violence
in Nigeria. But then, how do we conceive the environment? And, in what
does the environmental conflict consist in?
and resources: Some basic analyses
Since the end of the Cold War, more prominence has been given to the role
of environmental factors in shaping global security and international
relations (Klare and Thomas 1994 and Miller, 1995:113). In a nutshell,
the environment or ecology, has generated much interest in the relation
between countries and within countries. This interest can be located within
two realms: the realm of the theoretical and that of the practical. It
is intellectually correct to state that the practical gave birth to the
theoretical. Simply stated, the practical was born out of the struggle
within and between states for the control, exploitation, manipulation
and access to ecological resources. The attendant problems which these
tendencies have generated have been the stimulating tonic for academic
research and the production of intellectual energies and output in terms
of resolutions, agreement, laws, conventions, etc(2). But first, what
is ecology or the environment? What are the crucibles of the environment?
Ecology is about understanding the relationship between living organisms
and their living and non-living surroundings(3). In a related sense, the
term environment is defined to include "water, air, land and all plants
and human beings or animals living therein and the interrelationships
which exist amongst these or any of them (FEPA. 1988). John Rau and David
Wooten, in an edited work, defined the environment as:
the whole complex of physical, social, cultural, economic and aesthetic
factors which affect individuals and communities and ultimately determine
their term, character, relationships and survival.
further to categorize the dimensions of the environment into four, namely:
(a) physical environment (natural and constructed) which includes: land
and climate, vegetation, wildlife, the surrounding land uses and the physical
character of an area, infrastructure, public services, air, noise and
(b) social environment which includes community facilities and services
and the character of community facilities and services and the character
(c) aesthetic environment, scenic areas, vistas, views including the architectural
character of buildings;
(d) economic environment which includes employment, land ownership, pattern
and land values.
factors combine to determine the impact of human society on the environment.
These are: the number of people, the average individual's level of consumption
or affluence, and the technology used to produce outputs. The underlying
truth can be seen in Simon de Beauvoir's argument that:
Mankind, the universe, and history are "detotalized totalities" that
is, separation does not exclude relation, nor vice versa. Society exists
only by means of the existence of particular individuals… each finite
to each other, though they are open to the infinity of the future, and
their individual forms thereby imply each other without destroying each
always been a one-to-one relationship between the level of population
and use, control and access to resources found in the environment. In
cases where such resources are strategic, the desire for control has been
found not only limited to the population of the country concerned; also,
external economic agents within the international system have been contending
factors in the use, control and access to such resources. Lewis Coser,
in defining conflict hinted at the view that conflict can be described
as the "struggle over values, claims to status, power and scarce resources
in which the aims of the 'opposing' parties are not only to gain the desired
values but also to neutralise, injure or eliminate rivals. The idea of
the impact of the population, the idea of scarce resources and the pattern
of denial of access to such resources are the tripod stand on which this
study aims to interrogate citizenship, alienation and environmental conflict
in Africa, with examples drawn from Nigeria. The population of a particular
country refers to its citizens. Conflict over resources stems from denial
of the rights and privileges of citizenship. The concept of population
is inherent in environment, and environment is likewise implied in population.
The process of interaction between the two, plus the mediating role of
the Nigerian state in the uncontrolled commercialisation of natural resource
(soil in this case), without a corresponding improvement in the living
standards of the people, particularly the inhabitants of the oil-producing
areas, have contributed significantly to the occurrence of conflict and
rights, alienation and environmental conflict in Nigeria: history and
some background issues
In November l995, an Ogoni playwright, Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other Nigerians
were executed for complicity in the murder of four prominent Ogoni chiefs
after being found guilty by a military tribunal. Almost immediately, this
produced a domino effect: (a) the immediate suspension of Nigeria from
the Commonwealth, an organisation she joined in 1960 after gaining independence,
(b) the West and South Africa castigated the government for the judicial
murder. This action nearly turned the country into a pariah nation with
little or no friends in the international community. The series of events
that led to the conflict is historic.
This history of environmental conflict in Nigeria stems from the desire
of the state, engineered by the ethnic group having access to and monopoly
over power, to control total rents from oil, while neglecting to improve
the living standards of the immediate inhabitants of the oil producing
areas. Its attitudes to these inhabitants is a direct reflection of its
neglect of the entire society, at large. According to Rowell:
Oil and environmental conflict are rooted in the inequitable social
relations that undergird the production and distribution of profits from
oil, and its adverse impact on the fragile ecosystem of the Niger Delta.
It involves the Nigerian State and oil companies, on one side, and the
six million production and distribution of profits from oil, and its adverse
impact on the fragile ecosystem of the Niger Delta. It involves the Nigerian
State and oil companies on one side, and the six million people of the
estimated eight hundred oil producing communities, concentrated in the
seventy thousand kilometer Niger Delta, on the other. (4)
is the oil-rich environment, the manner of distributing its wealth and
the survival of its inhabitants who depend on the ecosystem for their
basic needs and livelihood. The host communities of the Niger Delta are
of the view that since oil is mined in their land, and they suffer from
the pollution and environmental degradation attendant to oil production,
they have the right to adequate compensation, a clean and safe environment,
and a fair share of oil rents. The state and its partners, the multinationals,
insist on the optimization of rents and profits on the basis of the modalities
defined exclusively' by the partnership.
An obvious deduction from the scenario is the factuality of domination
of power and politics in Nigeria by the ethnic group in control of the
state since independence, and the alienation of other groups as marginalized
groups. This process is described by, Myron Weiner in the following words:
In country after country, a single ethnic group has taken control over
the state and used its powers to exercise control over and used its power
to exercise control over others... In retrospect, there has been far less
'nation-building' than many analysts bad expected or hoped, for the process
of state-building has rendered many ethnic groups devoid of power or influence
what Myron Weiner tagged the development of a 'mono-ethnic tendency'.
The history of this tendency can be traced to the role of the colonial
state in its control and distribution of the resources of the colony to
the advantage of the British foreign interests it represented. The colonial
state was principally an instrument of domination, and as such, it was
not representative of the views of the colony. It sponsored only the economic
policies of the interest it represented. To this end, the resources were
used to advance British interests. After independence, the colonial state
gave way to the post-colonial state, controlled by the ethnic group that
succeeded in controlling state power. In the federal arrangement in Nigeria,
the federal government had the sole prerogative of the control of state
resources. Moreover, it was responsible for the allocation of revenue
to the various units that form the federation. According to Nnoli, "revenue
allocation in Nigeria was always approached from the point of view of
inter-ethnic struggle for the national cake" (1995:103). In one word,
the crucial asset was the control of the rents from oil. This can be deduced
from the following thus:
In the inter-ethnic struggle for resources in Nigeria, the most crucial
asset was control of the federal government. Two major historical factors
account for this. One is the partisan character of the state... the state
was biased in group struggles and made no pretence about being neutral
in inter-group relations. The other factor is associated with the interventionist
role of the state in the economic life of the society. It was the state
that set up capitalism in the country. Therefore, it actively intervened
in production and distribution of goods and services, often in favor of
one or the other of the contending groups and classes (Nnoli, 1995:104).
therefore, the occurrence of conflict over access and control of resources
in the Niger Delta can be traced to the inherent contradiction that exists
in Nigeria's federal set-up. The most critical point perhaps revolves
around the oil-producing minority nationalities of the Niger Delta and
the Nigerian State and its destabilizing potential, when combined with
other internal contradictions. These sets of internal contradictions can
be traced to the existence of disparate attitudes to Nigerian citizenship
and the related component of alienation. How do we then conceive of citizenship
in Nigeria? And, what accounts for the alienation'?
status and alienation in Nigeria: the case of the Niger Delta
At the beginning of the 1990s, citizenship emerged an important concept
in socio-political discussions and discourses. As a term, citizenship
denotes, opines Crompton, "full and participating membership of a nation-state,
that is, it does not necessarily incorporate all persons resident within
a given territory" (1993:139). In a related sense, Hill argued that the
concept of citizenship embraces a range of positions, traditionally guaranteed
to all members of society. He further argued, however, that citizenship
is about power and its distribution, about the framework of public and
thus collective decisions, and accountability for those decisions (1994:4).
With respect to power, different attitudes to citizenship notions lie
beneath the problems of integration in the political sociology of developing
nations. According to Bryan Turner, "the problem of citizenship has re-emerged
as an issue which is central, not only to practical political questions
concerning access to health care systems, education and the welfare state,
but also to traditional theoretical debates in sociology over the conditions
of social integration and social solidarity" (1990:189).
Citizenship as a concept in political and philosophical theories is not
subject to a single universally acceptable definition. Citizenship, in
its modern form, consists of three essential and central propositions:
the notion of individual and human rights the idea of political participation
and the principles of socio-economic welfare. The main significance of
the concept of citizenship is its relation with the conferring of rights
and duties. Hence, structurally defined citizenship consists of rights
and duties. According to T. H. Marshall, 'citizenship is a status bestowed
on those who are full members of a community. All who possess the status
are equal with respect to the rights and duties with which the status
is endowed" (1949:87).
In intellectual discussions on the concept of citizenship the recurrent
theme has always been the distinction between the political cum legal
component and the social component. The former refers to the political
cum legal standing of an individual in a particular country that entitles
him, from the constitutional position, to an array of rights such as right
to participate in the exercise of public power, political decision-making,
right to life, to a fair hearing, etc. (5) The latter refers to a person's
right to "share to the full in the social heritage and to live the life
of a civilised being" (Marshall. 1945:74). According to Ifidon, the social
conception of citizenship is "usually the product of history and culture
… an outgrowth from interpersonal relations" (1996:102).
Intellectual comments on the definition of citizenship as outlined above,
in Nigeria, is rather curious. In a catchy essay, Femi Taiwo provides
a critical insight on the nature of citizenship in Nigeria. According
to Taiwo, the existence of the legal cum political conception of citizenship
in Nigeria is uneasy. In his words, "beyond phrase-mongering, there are
no citizens in Nigeria, only citizens of Nigeria… That is, Nigerian citizenship
is merely geographical, it is without a moral ideological content… part
of what typifies citizenship, especially in the modern state, is the de-emphasizing
of geography and other natural facts in its composition…. The freedom
to locate anywhere within the boundaries of the relevant geopolity is
non-existent in Nigeria" (1996:15-16).
It is to this end that the social conception, being an outgrowth of culture
and history, becomes relevant in understanding the nature of citizenship
in Nigeria. In fact, John Scott has provided a very apt theoretical division
of citizenship in the light of both perspectives, into the first-order
and second-order construct. The essence, argues Scott, is to transcend
the limitation of the first-order construct which neglects the social
conditions that establish the contradictory conventions and practices
that define the boundaries of citizenship. According to Scott, the second
order construct i.e. sociological conception helps us understand the idea
of citizenship which are found preponderant in people's mental awareness
and acceptance. This conception identifies the idea of citizenship as
a whole complex of institutions practices and conventions that are embodied
in often contradictory ways, in the cultural and sub-cultural perspectives
of a society and which informs its political and ideological struggles
As a product of history and culture, citizenship in Nigeria is social,
involving contradictory patterns and conventions. The contradictions inherent
in citizenship in Nigeria can be found validated in the terse but profound
conclusion that while a Nigerian nationality is non-existent, properly
speaking, citizenship is operative at the homeland level (Ifedon, 1996:103).
In the same vein, Peter Ekeh had argued that "citizenship is still largely
a group (primordial) phenomenon rather than an attribute of individual
political actors" (1972:84).
in citizenship status and their conflictual tendencies in Nigeria
Put simply, the idea of political conflict in Nigeria's political system
can be understood in the light of this contradictory pattern and problematic
nature of citizenship. Empirically, national citizenship in Nigeria is
far from being resolved, and the inability is due to the fact that various
ethnic groups that compose the Nigerian nation-state(6) have conceived
different attitudes to Nigerian citizenship. Such identity differences
have heightened, to the point of political significance, the incidence
and outbreak of conflicts in Nigeria.
We hinted at the view, in our theoretical construct on violence and conflict,
that conflict resides, most prominently, in the struggle, of two or more
individuals, groups, within a state whose objectives differ, over power,
status, privileges and values, etc. The struggle over resources in the
Niger Delta is the struggle to define their citizenship within the Nigerian
nation-state. In Nigeria today, the success of an ethnic group, due to
an illusory belief in the strength of geographical and numerical size,
to hold unto power since independence has succeeded in generating a sense
and feeling of alienation and marginalization on the part of other major
ethnic groups. The existence of such an over-riding philosophy, with respect
to control of oil and the rents accruing from it, has enabled the dominant,
alienating group to define citizenship status as that of a first class
citizens and others to a set of under-class or second-class citizens within
the same geographical boundary(7). Over the years, each and successive
governments and regimes are often defined in the sense of a dominant ruling
group and subjected excluded groups. This consistent pattern in the nature
of governance and rule and the inordinate, unbridled ambition to perpetually
dominate others, coupled with the struggle to monopolize the resource-allocating
elements of the state are the factors that account for the problems of
citizenship, statehood and their effects on the incidence of conflict
in the Niger Delta. The utter denigration of the environment consequent
on the exploration of oil leaves the oil-producing areas polluted with
no prospect of livelihood. Air, water, the soil and the vegetation are
all enmeshed in the mess of pollution that leaves lives unbearable and
a kind of agony and misery. It is treatment of inhabitants as slaves that
provokes violence and conflict.
Citizenship, in Nigeria, is now defined as excluding rather than including.
Presently, political interaction entails a level of awareness and consciousness
defined in one's identity. Citizenship entails an identity and such an
identity can be defined in multiple terms. I may be defined as a member
of a nation-state, a member of an ethnic group, as a member of a communal
group within an ethnic group. In Nigeria's political history and development,
the level of identity awareness and consciousness, spells a lot of the
nature of political interaction and the attitude that is prevalent in
our political order. The existence of the problem of national identity
will, in turn, mean the existence of the politics of alienation. This
is the precipitant to conflict in the Niger Delta. In short, the lingering
conflict in the Niger Delta is the battle not only to resist the alienating
tendencies of the Nigerian state but also, the battle to realize the rights
and privileges of citizenship.
While in most cases the struggle in the Niger Delta is presented as one
for the self-determination of an ethnic group, taken to dramatic heights
by the Ogoni debacle, within the context of the structurally imbalanced
Nigerian federation in which the majority ethnic groups control oil resources
found in minority areas, the site of conflict has remained within the
dialectics of oil production, distribution and access.
imperatives for peaceful co-existence
From the foregoing, it has been established that the outbreak of environmental
conflict is intricately tied to the existence of a disparate attitude
or a more or less perforated sense of citizenship crises compounded by
an increasing sense of alienation of groups, particularly minority groups,
in the overall allocation and distribution of and access to the fruits
of environmental resources. Where minority groups are alienated in an
ethnically diverse community, especially where a majority group is in
control of power, they find their citizenship status threatened. As such,
this sense of relative deprivation has the full tendency of breaking into
conflict, especially with the ethnic group in control of power. This is
the case in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.
However, a resolution of this crises situation will have to take some
categorical imperatives into consideration. In the first place, it is
essential to note that the era of military rule in Nigeria has been historically
injurious, in the sense that the apathetic attitude of the military has
been a causal factor in the outbreak, continuance and consolidation of
this trend of conflict. The military has failed to respond favorably to
the conflict because of its illegitimate standing. A legitimate government
will never watch while its domain is exposed to increasing danger and
state of lingering instability. To this end, therefore, it suffices one
to contend most vehemently that the resolution of conflict in this region
will have to go with full democratization of all aspects of social, political
and economic life, with respect to this region.
Moreover, it is important to stress that a policy that promotes the safeguarding
and reparation of human rights abuses should be set in place in order
to redress some of the injustices that have been perpetrated in that region.
In other words, there should be respect for human rights. This goes with
a full guarantee of citizenship rights and status. Citizenship status
is ensconced on three essential propositions: individual human rights,
political participation and socio-economic welfare. The entrenchment of
these basic constituents of citizenship will go a long way in resolving
the dynamics of conflict already in place in this region.
Furthermore, Johan Galtung has defined peace as the condition in space
for non-violent development (1996:223). In line with this, the Nigerian
state should ensure that an appreciable level of development takes place
in this region. This has the special quality of promoting the welfare
of the people, thereby drawing a sense of belonging from them. Social
and economic amenities should be adequately provided for.
Apart from the above, there should be respect for international laws on
the environment. One of the very absurd ironies of the operation of multinational
companies in the Niger Delta is the lack of respect for international
laws. For instance, there are international environmental laws that state
No state has the right to use or to permit the use of its territory
in such a manner as to cause injury by furness in or to the territory
of another or to the properties or persons therein, when the case is of
serious consequence and the jury established by clear and convincing evidence(8)
of the dearth of this case, principles 21 and 22 of the 1972 Stockholm
Declaration states that:
States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and
the principles of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their
own resources, pursuant to their own environmental policies, and the responsibility
to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not
cause damage to the environment of other states, to areas beyond the limits
of national jurisdiction...
States shall cooperate to develop further the international law regarding
liability and compensation for victims of pollution and other environmental
damages caused by activities within the jurisdiction or control of such
states to areas beyond jurisdiction or control of such states to areas
beyond their jurisdiction.
oil companies operating in the Niger Delta, with Shell being the largest
producer and extractor of oil should operate according to the laws regulating
the environment. It is not misnomer to state that the same Shell operates
according to laws in the extraction of resources in Europe, while neglecting
to go by laws in most West Africa countries. It will be safer for all,
if the Nigerian State with its economic ally can transact their business
in the light of rules.
Patrick Chabal, Power in Africa (1990:179). For a contrary view, see David
Laitin, Hegemony and culture (1986:ix).
(2) An instance is the Stockholm Conference of 1972 held from 5th to 16th
June, organised by United Nations Conference on Human Environment. See
also Resolution 2996 of the United Nations General Assembly of December
(3) Council on Environment Quality, First Annual Report, August 1970 (Washington,
D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1970), p. 6.
(4) A. Rowell, Shell-Shocked: The environmental and Social Costs of Living
With Shell in Nigeria. (Amsterdam Greenpeace, 1994).
(5) John Scott (1994:61) has argued that this cluster of civil-political
rights and their corresponding obligations, "need not involve a system
of full political 'democracy' … but it does imply a certain degree of
democracy among those who are accorded the status of citizenship. "It
is, however, doubtful whether such right are granted in a military set
up, for instance, where the constitution and its provision, especially
those that on the basis or legitimacy of such regimes, are outrightly
(6) There are two categories of nation-states: those where there are dominant
(ethnic, racial, or religious) groups and those where there are not (Young,
1993:3-35). Clearly, the Nigerian case is the former. The bogus claim
to dominance has been used for political advantage by a section of the
(7) This is referred to as the "principle of northern primacy." A classic
instance is the following statement credited to Malam Maitama Sule that
" …. Everyone has a gift from God. The Northerners are endowed by God
with leadership qualities. The Yoruba man knows how to earn a living and
has diplomatic qualities. The Igbo is gifted in commerce, trade and technological
innovation." This is no doubt the material for the theology of domination.
(8) See the Report of the Trait Smelter Arbitration of 1931.
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The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author
and do not necessarily reflect the views of UNESCO.
Les idées et opinions exprimées dans cette article sont
celles de l'auteur
et n’engagent pas la responsabilité de l´UNESCO.