Spaces of Insurgency: Petro-Violence and the Geography of Conflict in Nigeria


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




As an historically inclined geographer and political economist, I am especially interested in how space (in this case West versus East differences and inter-region dynamics) is key to understanding conflict in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. I undertake a historical and spatial study of crises since the 19th century to the present moment with a view to unraveling the deep-seated, unresolved animosities that underlie current tensions and conflicts in the East (Rivers State) and West (Delta State) Delta regions of Nigeria. A spatial analysis in this regard would help unwrap the distinctiveness in these conflicts, and articulate how in the contemporary moment these conflicts have been made more complex by actions as well as inactions of the Nigerian State and its alliances with “Big Oil” (what Ken Saro-Wiwa called the “Slick Alliance”). The aim here is not to exonerate petro-induced violence but rather to show the intricate and complicated nature of conflicts in the Niger Delta and reveal the new character and dimensions that the political economy of oil has brought to bear on the geography and history of conflicts in the region.