The post-Cold War saw the emergence of small arms control treaties as a major framework for promoting global peace and security. However, the implementation of some of these instruments
has to date proven ineffective and, thus, a central issue in scholarly debates on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) control. SALW continued to flow to areas of conflict, and to non-state armed groups around the world. Extant literature suggested that structural imbalance in international configurations of power and the triumph of the market over human rights and collective security on the side of states, and arms trafficking by non-state actors, were key challenges to effective implementation of SALW control policies. While these studies were important, the relationship to SALW proliferation in the Niger Delta has rarely attracted scholarly attention. This study, therefore, addressed three key questions. Does the intersection of politics and economics undermine the effective implementation of arms control policies and engender SALW proliferation in the Niger Delta? How does unlawful trafficking for economic and socio-political motivations by non-state actors weaken the implementation of small arms control policies and influence arms proliferation in the Niger Delta? Is there any relationship between Nigeria’s weak commitment to the implementation of the humanitarian goals of international small arms control policies and SALW proliferation in the Niger Delta? Adopting the qualitative case study research method for data collection and interpretation, and situating the analysis within theoretical framework of post-internationalism, it argued that the political economy of small arms control premised on material gains and state survival rather than human security engendered arms proliferation in the Niger Delta. Consequently, the study recommended that constructive engagement with the core arms supplier states and other foreign powers by the Nigerian government is required to stem the proliferation of SALW in the Niger Delta.
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