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Horror in Paradise book jacket View Table of Contents and Introductory Material
ISBN978-1-61163-355-9

Horror in Paradise

Frameworks for Understanding the Crises of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria

Edited by: Christopher LaMonica, J. Shola Omotola

2014 $45.00 332 pp paper

Tags: African World Series

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In the few decades since the 1956 discovery of oil at Oloibiri in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, the NDR, and the entire state of Nigeria, have been dramatically transformed.  Oil exploration in the NDR has led to the construction of hastily built oil infrastructures that have, perhaps forever, altered the livelihoods of millions as well as the patterns of Nigerian politics.  Whereas Nigeria’s agricultural and other exports had been diverse, Nigeria’s economy is now completely dependent on oil revenues.  In many ways, the global demand for oil should have translated to great developmental success in Nigeria.  But the growing level of per capita GDP is deceiving; at least 80% of the Nigerian population works in the informal economy and lives below the poverty line.  To date, survey textbooks on African politics or development studies have skirted the details surrounding this profoundly traumatized region.  Horror in Paradise is an attempt to fill that critical gap.  The contributors to this book include scholars from leading Nigerian universities, Africanist scholars from the U.S. and the U.K., and development practitioners with experience in Nigeria (USAID, UNDP).  Together, they offer a range of frameworks for thinking about the ongoing crises of the NDR, organized as: Part I: Culture, Gender, and the Environment; Part II: Governance; Part III: Development; and Part IV: Security. The book aims to facilitate scholarly and policy-oriented discussions of the region’s sometimes complex inter-related challenges and, in turn, increase both national and global attention to the plight of the NDR.

This book is part of the African World Series, edited by Toyin Falola, Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, University of Texas at Austin.

Horror in Paradise offers a compelling and systematic approach to unpacking the cross-cutting crises of the Niger Delta. In offering frameworks of study for channels of development, governance, and security — among others — contributors present a roadmap for understanding the historical genesis of crises in the Delta, as well as the structural impediments to crisis recovery. Investigators assessing the many contradictions in Nigeria — aptly captured in the volume's title — will find value in both the analytic rigor of the contributions, as well as the breadth of the thematic coverage.” — Scott Edwards, Ph.D., Amnesty International (Director of International Advocacy for Africa and Director of the Science for Human Rights program at Amnesty International, USA), George Washington University (Professorial Lecturer on Development in Africa, Elliot School of International Affairs)

Horror in Paradise presents the glaring paradox between abundant resource endowment and the harrowing conditions spawned by the crises of deprivation in Africa's most prolific oil producing region in critically stark, yet empathetic perspectives. In this book, the voices of a new generation of outstanding scholars tellingly explore the contradictions that underpin the betrayal of the hopes for people-centred development and security in the oil-rich, but impoverished Niger Delta.  This book vividly captures the role of local and global actors in the unfolding complex crises and represents a major contribution to existing studies on the Niger Delta.” — Cyril Obi, Ph.D., Program Director, Social Science Research Council, African Peacebuilding Network (APN)

Horror in Paradise is a collection of intellectually stimulating essays on Nigeria’s oil inebriation. It presents a comprehensive, insightful and multifaceted analysis of the Niger Delta crisis. The book’s lucid explication of the historical, political, material and ideational dimensions of the Niger Delta crisis is without doubt one of the most engaging. This is essential reading.” — Temitope B. Oriola, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Massachusetts Boston

“The Federal Republic of Nigeria has transitioned into an important oil-producing nation but its Niger Delta Region has sunk in a downward spiral of poverty, violence, political decay and human suffering, constituting a formidable puzzle to scholars. Horror in Paradise provides an analytical framework to understand the historical roots as well as the political, social and developmental dimensions of crises in the region. Horror in Paradise sheds light on how the economy of extraction has turned the Niger Delta into a hopeless place. Students as well as policy practitioners and activists for social justice will find this collection useful in promoting progress and sustainable development in the Niger Delta.” — Masse Ndiaye, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar at the Midlo International Center, University of New Orleans

“No work I know offers a more insightful view of the deeply troubled region of the Niger Delta, if only because, instead of being limited to mere advocacy, it gives a voice to a number of Nigerian citizens with different experiences, different perspectives and different forms of involvement in the complex and conflicted roots of this human and environmental tragedy.” — Dr. Edouard Bustin, Professor in Political Science and the African Studies Center, and Director, Francophone Africa Research Group, Boston University

Horror in Paradise serves as an excellent survey text…a useful contribution to an undergraduate level introductory course on Nigeria. While much of the political science literature on the region focuses on economic factors, the editors have offered a valuable contribution to the extant scholarship by presenting a multitude of angles from which to understand the ongoing conflicts of the Niger Delta.” — Adria Tinnin, University of California, Los Angeles

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