Relative Deprivation and Armed Conflict in Rentier States: an Overview of the Niger Delta Avengers

Yahaya Yakubu
DOI Number:
Like most rentier states, Nigeria has witnessed a series of incessant armed conflicts bordering around the redistribution and appropriation of revenue generated from crude exploration. Particularly, the oil rich Niger Delta region has been in and out of armed conflict. The issue of revenue sharing formula has resulted in armed confrontation between social movements such as the Niger Delta Avengers and the federal government. Upon evaluating the social movement theory, the study posits relative deprivation as sufficient cause but not necessary for the emergence of social movements that take up arms. It argues resource mobilization and political process theories as complimentary determinants of the armed confrontations in the Niger Delta. In response to failed attempts at curtailing armed agitations in the region, the study argue the solution to the conflict lies in diversification of revenue sources on the side of the government and exploration of conventional methods for addressing grievances on the side of resource rich communities.
Social Movement, Relative Deprivation, Resource Mobilization, Political Process, Armed Conflict and Niger Delta Avengers.

Full Text:


Anindya, S and Omer, A. (2016). Why Social Movements Occur: Theories of Social Movement. The Journal of Knowledge Economy and Knowledge Management, Vol. XI Spring, pp. 125-130.

Best, S. G. (1999). Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies in West Africa, Ibadan: Spectrum Books Limited.

Blumer, H. (1951). Collective Behaviour, pp. 166-222 in Alfred M. L, (eds), New Outline of the Principle of Sociology, New York: Barnes and Noble Books.

Byman, D. (2005). “Deadly Connections: State and Sponsored Terrorism.” New York: Harper Perennial.

Claire, R. (2011). Relative Deprivation Theory in Terrorism: A Study of Higher Education and Unemployment as Predictors of Terrorism Senior Honour Thesis, New York: University of New York.

Collier, P. (2002). Policy for Post Conflict Societies: Reducing the Risk of Renewed conflict. Economic of Political violence conference, March 18-19, 2002, Princeton University Centre for International Studies.

Curti, G. H. (2008). From a Wall of Bodies to a Body of Walls, Emotions, Space and Society Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 106-118.

Dobson, C. (2001), The Citizens Handbook: A Guide to building Community in Vancouver, Retrieved March 10, 2018 from

Esman, M. (2004). An Introduction to Ethnic conflict,, Cambridge: Polity Press.  

Gurr, T. R. (1970). Why Men Rebel, New Jersey: Princeton University, Centre for International Studies.

Heather, J. S, Thomas, F. P, Pippin, G. M and Bialosiewicz (2012), Relative Deprivation: A Theoretical and Meta-Analytical Review, Personality and Social Psychology Review, 16 (3), pp, 203-232.

Jeong, H. (2000). Peace and conflict Studies: An Introduction, Aldershot: Ashgate.

Kaur, S. (2013). Oil as a Source of Political Conflict in Niger Delta, African Journal of Business Management, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp, 33-37.

Mahdavy, H. (1970). The Patterns of Economic Development in Rentier States, London: Oxford University Press.

Marx, K. (1974). Thoughts on Neglected Category of Social Movement Participants: the Agent Provocateur and Informant, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 80. Pp, 402-442.

Oakland, K. (2005). “Race and Racism.” Daily Kos,

Pettigrew, T. F, Stephen, C and Stephan, W. (1991), The Future of Social Psychology, New York: Springer-Verlag.

Platteau, J. P. (2000). Institutions, Social Norms and Economic Development, Newark New Jersey: Harwood Academic Publishers.

Ross, M. (1993). The Management of Conflict Interpretations and Interests in Comparative Perspective, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Runciman, W. G. (1996). Relative Deprivation and Special Justice: A Study of Attitudes to Social Inequality in Twentieth Century England, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Vanguard Editorial, November 3rd, 2017.

Vanguard Editorial, November 14th, 2017.

Viera, B. (1998). The Construction of National Identity on Primordialism and Instrumentalism, Human Affairs, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 29-43.

Weber, M. (1947). Theory of Social and Economic Organization, Talcot Parsons (eds). New York: Free Press.

Weber, M. (1968). Economy and Society, New York: Free Press.