Religion, Occult and Youth Conflict in the Niger Delta of Nigeria
214 Pages
English
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Religion, Occult and Youth Conflict in the Niger Delta of Nigeria

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214 Pages
English

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The book examines the nexus between youth conflict and the occult drawing its insights from the oil-rich Niger Delta of Nigeria. It sees the occult represented by the Egbesu deity in this conflict as a form of religious belief imbued in this case with the powers of good. Thus, the religious occult is regenerated and re-energised as an idiom of justice and fairness within the Nigerian state by militant youth fighting the forces of the Nigerian state. Ingeniously, the young men simply dug into the cultural repertoire of the people for a hitherto popular expression of justice and perceived source of potency which they felt would not only provide spiritual protection but also pander to the popular imagination of justice. Even against the background prevalent Christianity, the Egbesu does not generate tension in beliefs but responds to the critical exigency of the immediate socio-political milieu of the people.

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Published 02 March 2017
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EAN13 9789956764549
Language English
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Religion, Occult and Youth Conflict in the Niger Delta of Nigeria
Religion, Occult and Youth Conflict in the Niger Delta of Nigeria
Edlyne E. Anugwom
Edlyne E. Anugwom
Religion, Occult and Youth Conflict in the Niger Delta of Nigeria
Edlyne E. Anugwom
L a ng a a R esea rch & P u blishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher:LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.comwww.langaa-rpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookscollective.com
ISBN-10: 9956-764-99-X ISBN-13: 978-9956-764-99-0 ©Edlyne E. Anugwom 2017All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or be stored in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher
Table of Contents Acknowledgements……………………………………vii Foreword………………………………………………. Ix ByMwenda Ntarangwi Chapter 1: Introduction……………………….……….1 Justification and Rationale for the Book………………… 1 Social Influences and Agency in the Production and Sustenance of Youth Conflict……………………………7 The Permeability of the Youth as a Social Category……...13 Overview of the Nature of the Occult……….………….. 16 Brief on the Method…………………………….………. 20 Structure/Organization of the Book……………………. 24 Chapter 2: The Niger Delta of Nigeria: Context and Location…………………………………31 The Geographical Niger Delta………………….….…….31 Pattern of Environmental Degradation from Oil Activities in the Niger Delta………………………… 33 The People of the Niger Delta………………………….. 38 Brief ethnography of the Ijaw……………………………40 Chapter 3: Perception of Marginalization as Crucial Plank of the Niger Delta Struggle……...…51 Preamble………………………………………………... 51 History of Socio-Economic Marginalization in the Region……………………………………………. 52 The Decline of the Derivation Principle of Revenue Allocation…………………………………... 56 Political Domination and Non-Performance by Government…………………………………………. 64 Overview of Recent Regulatory Framework of the Oil Industry in Nigeria…………………………… 69
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Chapter 4: What the Theories Tell Us……….……….75 Preamble……………………………………….……….. 75 The Usual Suspects: Patrimonialism; Neo-Patrimonialism; and Triple Alliance………………... 76 Going Economic: Resource Curse; Environmental Scarcities; Grievance versus Greed………81 The Social Mix: Bottom-Up and Top – Down; Relative Deprivation………………………………………….….. 89 Chapter 5: Debate with Religion: the Religious Cocktail of Occult, Witchcraft and Sorcery……………..………………….93 Defining Religion…………………………………….…. 93 Religion as Positive and Collective……………………… 98 Religion as Neutral and Without Prejudice……………… 103 The Occult in Religion………………………………….. 108 Chapter 6: Occult Manifestations in the Niger Delta…………………………….….…….117 Re-Imagining the Occult: Nature of the Egbesu as Deity and Destiny……………………………. 117 Different Manifestations of the Occult in the Niger Delta………………………………………..131 Egbesu Deity as Motivation in Sustaining Goal Oriented Conflict…………………………………..137 Chapter 7: Marginalization and the Reinvention of the Occult…………………………………………....143 Chapter 8: Making Sense of it All………………….….153 Occult/Magic as Tool of Conflict………………………. 153 Occult, the Modern State and Underdevelopment……….155 The Youth, Conflict and Occult………………………… 160 Reconstructing the Youth in the age of iv
Conflict in Africa: Major Concerns………………………163 Chapter 9: Some Encouraging Conclusions………….167 The Why and How of the Conflict……………………… 167 Reality, Psychology or What…………………………….. 172 Understanding Occult and Resolving Conflicts…………. 175 References……………………………………………...185
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AcknowledgementsThe manuscript of this book was conceived and begun during my three months stint as a fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS), Wassenaar (now moved to Amsterdam), the Netherlands in 2009. It benefitted both from the reaction to my presentation on the subject-matter at the customary inaugural fellows’ seminar at the center and the comments and suggestions generously offered by other fellows who were intellectually aroused and intrigued within this three month period. In this connection, I wish to thank in particular Johan Heilbron (Centre de Sociologie Europeenne, Paris); Anna-Maria Brandstetter (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz); Matthias Henze (Rice University, Houston USA); Cynthia Vialle (Leiden University); Astrid Erll (University of Wuppertal) among others who also provided companionship and advice. The movement from manuscript to book evidently took a long gestation period and this presented challenges of the indefiniteness and ambivalence of picking-up one’s thought from where it was left off after months of engagement in other activities. However, the duration offered ample opportunity for critical introspection and embodiment of new developments in the Niger Delta narrative. I believe the constant rewriting or refinement as it were added value to the book. I also acknowledge the wonderful work done by my research assistants – Achu Vitus Amadi and Kemeaweregha Tebogren. In addition to the above mentioned individuals, I must express my gratitude to my colleagues in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa especially Professors Oloyede; Gibson and Nadasen who graciously (without knowing it) granted me time away from normal departmental business to tidy-up the manuscript. I equally acknowledge the untiring efforts of my
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brother and friend, Francis Nyamnjoh (of the University of Cape Town) who has been unwavering in egging me on and supporting me all these years. I must also acknowledge the efforts of my friend, Mwenda Ntarangwi who graciously took time off his busy schedule to write the foreword. Finally, I thank the entire wonderful people at Langaa RPCIG for their usual promptness and efficiency in once more ‘publishing Africa in Africa’. I wholeheartedly acknowledge responsibility for all and any shortfalls in this book. Edlyne Anugwom Bellville, 30 October 2016.
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Foreword
Studies abound of youth around the world intervening on behalf of their communities for social justice. Among these studies are emerging concerns of how youth, feeling disempowered and marginalized, seek alternative forms of power to influence their desired outcomes. This phenomenon is highly visible in Africa where struggles to access limited public resources go hand in hand with social expectations for youth to wait their turn to lead. In Nigeria there are two factors that converge to make the role of youth even more critical. The oil boom of the 1970s produced a certain sense of security that saw the government engage in extravagant spending or what some may consider conspicuous consumption. Then there was misrule perpetuated by a series of military dictatorships and corrupt regimes that almost became institutionalized. As citizens tried to navigate everyday life amid these two competing strategies, the country became even more stratified with the rich getting richer and the poor poorer. Certain regions such as the Niger Delta with its rich oil fields became spaces for prolonged fighting for resources. The wealth of the region was not evenly distributed. Having oil of gold in one’s region did not translate into access to its monetary value. Poverty continued to have a strong hold on the people even as a few well-connected individuals extracted the natural resources and made fortunes from it. During Abacha’s regime, for instance, the Niger Delta became militarized, local community members revolted against the state for annexing local resources, and the government responded with heavy-handed military repression. This military response emboldened youth in the community to seek ways of fighting back. This relationship continues to shape much of their response to resource management in the area today. As Edlyne Anugwom shows in this volume, Niger Delta youth especially in Ijaw, are at the forefront of seeking socioeconomic justice on behalf of their community. Throughout Africa indigenous communities find themselves caught up in the contentious reality of sitting on resources that they cannot exploit for their benefits. How is ix