Acta Universitatis Danubius. Relationes Internationales, Vol 8, No 2 (2015)

Re-Thinking Ethnic Minority, Resource Rights and the Struggle for Social Justice in Nigeria

Rosemary Oyinlola Popoola


Ethnic minority agitations over resource rights has been one of the most persistent and controversial problems in Nigerian politics since pre-independence. As a dynamic and transitional phenomenon rather than a static and permanent feature of the Nigerian political landscape, ethnic minority and resource rights agitations over the years have undergone substantial changes in Nigeria’s politics. Using the secondary data, this study critically examines the origins, nature and trends of ethnic minority and resource rights agitations. It locates ethnic minority and resource rights as a pre-independence issue that was exacerbated by post-independence politics.  The study concludes that the solution to ethnic minority agitations lays not so much in the creation of more states as it has been previously done but in the entrenchment of social or distributive justice. Similarly, the solution to resource rights lies not in incessant change of revenue allocation formulas but in liberalizing the governance of natural resources. Finally, the study suggests the use of the term “resource rights” rather than “resource control” to better situates the gamut of rights of the Nigerian people. 



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