Something Mightier: Marginalization, Occult Imaginations and the Youth Conflict in the Oil-Rich Niger Delta

Edlyne Anugwom


This contribution examines the role of occult imaginations in the struggle against perceived socio-economic marginalization by youth militias from the Ijaw ethnic group in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. It argues that the asymmetric power between the federal government/transnational oil corporations (TNOCs) and the militias may have privileged the invocation of the supernatural as a critical agency of strength and courage by the youth militias. The conflict in the region embodies a cultural revision which has been necessitated by both the uncertainty of the oil environment and the prevailing narratives of social injustice. Hence the Egbesu deity, seen historically as embodying justice, has been reinvented by the youth militias and imbued with the powers of invincibility and justice in the conflict with the government and oil companies. The low intensity of the conflict has limited both the extent of operations and scale of force used by the military task force in the area and thus reinforced the perception of invincibility of the militias attributed to the Egbesu.

Full Text: PDF (English)

Logo von Hamburg University Press und der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky Logo des GIGA-Institut Logo der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft Logo der Vereinigung für Afrikawissenschaften in Deutschland e.V. Logo der Leibniz-Gesellschaft