Geopolitics of Oil and Conflict

This research theme addresses two critical issues: first, the role of structural and systemic factors in shaping the geopolitics of conflict; and second, the connection between conflict and human rights.

Okoi, Obasesam. 2019. “The Paradox of Nigeria’s Oil Dependency.” Africa Portal, January 21.

Okoi, Obasesam. 2016. “Limits of International Law: Settlement of the Nigeria-Cameroon Territorial Conflict.” International Journal on World Peace, 33(2)77-102.

This article examines the role of international law in the settlement of the Nigeria-Cameroon Bakassi Peninsula conflict. Human rights problems emerged in Nigeria following the implementation of the International Court of Justice judgment that ceded the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon. The implementation of international law aggravated structural violence through the displacement of Bakassi people from their homeland and their exposure to vulnerability and poverty. International law is insufficiently developed and limited in its capacity to address the settlement of territorial conflicts beyond the cessation of armed conflict between rival states. This paper recommends that international law and its implementation by states should accord primacy to the well being of people over territory by promoting a transparent, effective, and accountable system for ensuring full and proper implementation of the human rights and resettlement obligations of governments.

Okoi, Obasesam. 2016. “Why Nations Fight: The Causes of the Nigeria–Cameroon Bakassi Peninsula Conflict.” African Security, 9(1):42-65.

This article examines the conditions under which state leaders chose to make territorial issues a point of contention using the Nigeria–Cameroon Bakassi Peninsula conflict as an empirical case. Drawing on the theoretical insights of neoclassical realism, the article surveys evidence from the importance of domestic political and economic conditions to the relevance of cultural and historical factors as well as from territorial and geopolitical issues to contend that the Nigeria–Cameroon conflict emerged from three theoretical logics: the territorial logic of aggression, the geostrategic logic of aggression, and the diversionary logic of aggression. The qualitative evidence is synthesized to enhance greater understanding of the domestic and international linkages that connect petroleum with territory and aggressive foreign policy.

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