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ABSTRACT


Natural resources worldwide are a gift of nature and an endowment of comfort that makes
the existence of mankind complete. As nature’s priceless gift to man and because nature’s
endowment of these resources is without reference to people or nation, the subject of
ownership and control is one that has generated a great deal of passion and controversy
amongst people and nations. Unfortunately, these resources have been identified as playing
key roles in triggering conflicts, and, all through history, thestruggle for possession and
control of natural resources has been the remote, if not the immediate, cause of agitations
and human tragedies. The Federal Republic of Nigeria is endowed with abundant mineral
resources and hydrocarbons but the scope of this dissertation is oil and gas. Its vast oil fields
are concentrated in the Niger Delta region, which comprises of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross
Rivers, Rivers, Delta, Edo and Ondo States. When God provided Nigeria with mineral
resources, his purpose was to lift up the country’s economic and social status and make the
citizens enjoy respect and honour among the comity of nations. But like in the story of
creation where God created man and put him in the Garden of Eden; the Garden of hope and
comfort, man lost this great free gift due to greed and selfishness which led him to sin. The
crisis over ownership of mineral resources in Nigeria is in diverse folds which have led to
several heated debates, conflicts and misinterpretations. Some of these conflicts are between
the Federal and State Government and the Local Communities and the Government. The
Federal and State conflict that is branded “Resource Control” calls for fair, just, equitable
and manageable natural resources sharing formula that shall be favourable to every
Nigerian.This dissertation is aimed at considering the legal rights of the Niger Delta States
in relation to the ownership and control of mineral resources under Nigerian Law. The
choice of this topic stems from the fact that though the course is a viable one and many
scholars have written on this concept but have concentrated more on state sovereignty over
her natural resources. What then is the position of the people who are at the end point of
every move in Nigeria?As is traditional with legal research, the methodology shall
essentially be the doctrinal method which entails the study of major laws and textbooks
written by distinguished scholars on the subject matter and other relevant materials such as
academic journals, articles and judicial decisions or case laws as well as the internet
.

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