Austin Ezejiofor

Title

"Armed Groups and Conflict in the Niger Delta and Sierra Leone: An Exploration into Motivations"

Abstract

Since the early years of the post-colonial era, the sub-Sahara Africa has been engulfed in a series of violent conflicts. Several attempts at understanding these conflicts, let alone resolving them, have hinted on the resource curse argument, the greed-grievance thesis, environmental degradation and poor governmental structures. These studies are worthwhile, but limited and/or incomprehensive because most of the researchers did not include the perspectives of the conflict actors in their analysis. Central to why these conflicts have been recurrent are the activities of armed groups and this makes the problem more complex. To this end, it becomes expedient to carry out a research which investigates into the emergence of armed groups, digs into their formation and recruitment processes; questions their motivations and tries to understand the gamut of dynamics within them. These, in a nut shell, are the tasks this project has undertaken to address. Focusing on the Niger Delta of Nigeria and Sierra Leone and adopting qualitative methods (especially, narrative interviews), it argues that an explorative study of the motivations of these armed groups at all stages to wit, the formation, recruitment and conflict-execution stages will go a long way in accounting for the violent conflicts that have ravaged the cases under study. It is also hoped that this study will generate a thesis, a platform for understanding other violent conflicts given similar conditions.

Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Klaus Schlichte
Dr. Alex Veit