Monday, October 21, 2013

Oriola Launches 'Criminal Resistance' book in Canada

Canada-based Nigerian Professor Launches Book on Kidnapping

20 Oct 2013
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Tope Oriola

A new ground-breaking study of the complex politics of kidnapping of oil workers in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria is due for its first public presentation on Saturday, October 26, at Telus Centre, Room 150, University of Alberta Campus, Edmonton, Canada. Entitled Criminal Resistance? The Politics of Kidnapping Oil Workers the award-winning work by 2011 Governor General of Canada Academic Gold Medal recipient, Tope Oriola, will be formally reviewed by Biko Agozino, Professor and Director, Africana Studies, Virginia Tech, USA. The event is being sponsored by the Global Education Program, Department of Sociology & Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta, Edmonton.
Recently released by the notable academic publishers Ashgate, the book is based on a multi-actor qualitative research in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Crude oil extraction in the Niger Delta region generates 96% of all foreign earnings and 85% of state revenues. However, several generations of state neglect and mismanagement have ensured that the Delta region is one of the most socio-economically and politically deprived in the country. By the late 1990s there was a frightening proliferation of armed gangs and insurgent groups. Illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, disruption of oil production activities, riots, and demonstrations intensified and in 2003, insurgents began kidnapping oil workers at a frenetic pace. An uber-insurgent movement “organisation” was formed in Nigeria in late 2005. Christened the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), it operates as an amorphous, multifaceted amalgam of insurgent groups with an unprecedented clinical precision in execution of intents.
Offering more insight into the book in his Foreword, Patrick Bond, Professor of Political Economy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa avers that the “book is a healthy corrective to the romanticised non-violence fetish of much social movement scholarship as well as that of solidarity movements which arose to support Ken Saro-Wiwa’s heroic fight against pollution and underdevelopment of the Ogoni people a quarter of a century ago.” Bond further notes that: “In part because of his tasteful stylistic approach, as well as the extremely rich information and synthetic capacity, Oriola has produced amongst the finest works in the tradition of socio-political framing narratives.
This book is, therefore, a vital addition to the academic understandings of the Delta conflict, but much more, it offers lessons to anyone interested in Nigeria, Delta solidarity, the oil and security sectors, social movement mobilisation, and environmental justice strategies and tactics”
The book launch event promises to provide an enlightening narrative about the production of the book – the experience garnered in the course of the research, including interviews and focus group discussions with insurgents. The event will bring together (public) intellectuals, students, human rights activists, as well as the Edmonton community and beyond. Guests will be engaged in a robust conversation on kidnapping of oil workers in Nigeria’s Delta region as well as the significance of the global phenomenon. 
Currently an assistant professor in criminology and socio-legal studies, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta, Oriola has authored or co-authored several refereed journal articles. His works have been published in leading journals, such as Sociology, the British Journal of Criminology, Critical Studies on Terrorism, and Canadian Journal of Family and Youth, among others. His research focuses on kidnapping, police and use of force, state crimes and the political economy of crime. Oriola’s on-going SSHRC-funded book project investigates the use of “less-lethal” force options by Canadian police (under contract at University of British Columbia Press with Nicole Neverson and Charles Adeyanju).

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