The thesis is a comprehensive examination of the Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Decrees of 1972 and 1977, and more broadly of the process of indigenisation in Nigeria. A brief introduction to the historical background of indigenisation before 1970 is followed by an account of the timing of the Decrees in the context of the oil boom in the country's economy. An examination of the problems encountered in implementing the Decrees and their effects, and an analysis of the distribution of benefits, is informed by empirical research including interviews, carried out by the author in Nigeria between 1982 and 1985. The record shows that indigenisation has led to the consolidation of an economy which accommodates the interests of ex-State personnel, the State as an institution, private indigenous businessmen and foreign capital, in an order which is far from certain to bring about the national economic independence which, in official terms, is the chief objective. Nigeria's commitment to capitalism and the promotion of Indigenous private enterprise, on the basis of resources generated initially by the agricultural economy, between the 1940s and 1960s, and then much more spectacularly and more significantly by oil revenues in the 1970s, provides an instructive example of the limits to what a post-colonial society in black Africa can achieve by trying to indigenise the ownership structure of its economy.