Date of Submission
Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (Ph.D. INCM)
Akanmu Adebayo, Ph.D.
Debarati Sen, Ph.D.
Nurudeen Akinyemi, Ph.D.
Nigeria’s Niger Delta region was beset by several decades of communal turmoil when combatants took up arms against the government and oil companies to protest decades of neglect of the region. These conflicts eased in 2009 when the Federal Government of Nigeria instituted an amnesty program that involved disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DD&R) of combatants. This dissertation explores the dynamics and challenges of the process of reintegrating ex-combatants involved in the Niger Delta insurrection into mainstream society and community members’ involvement in the reintegration of the ex-combatants. It uses case study research. Interviews, focus group discussions, and observations were conducted among ex-combatants and community members in Okrika, and among the Presidential Amnesty Program administrators in Abuja. The dissertation isolates and examines the form, nature, and peculiarities of the reintegration process of ex-combatants in Okrika town, a major, symbolic hub of Niger Delta resistance. A review of the literature finds three types of reintegration: economic, social, and political. The study finds that ex-combatants in Okrika experienced more success social and political reintegration, but had the least success with economic reintegration. The study uses the Human Needs Theory (HNT), expounded by John Burton, to argue that unmet needs—that are non-negotiable— are the primary causes of protracted and intractable conflict and that in order for ex-combatants to fully reintegrate into the community, their human needs must be met. Government’s monthly reinsertion stipends were not only insufficient, the social stigma of ex-combatants’ past violent activities hurt their employability. However, the broad acceptance of these ex-combatants into the social and cultural fabric of the society extends and complicates the disciplinary conversation on DR&R. Given that this study is an in-depth investigation of one Niger Delta community, it is recommended that similar studies be replicated all over the Niger Delta to establish a coherent pattern of the form and content of government reintegration program.