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AN APPRAISAL OF ETHNO-RELIGIOUS CONFLICT RESOLUTION TECHNIQUES IN NIGERIA (A Case Study of Jos Crises)


Project topic for Peace Studies department

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

One of the primary fabrics of all human on communities throughout the world from the earliest Stone age up till this period has been the provision on a sustained basis of the security of life and of the means of life to the members of that community. Even from that very ancient period of human development one of the most difficult political problems that human communities and polities have faced since the exception of this present dispensation is that of establishing on a feasible and operationable basis who is a member of the community and who is not. This defines where the boundaries of the community and the polity begin and who is outside the constitute an actual or a potential threat to the security and safety of its members.

One of the most feature of human development has been that these boundaries have keep changing and greatly expanding in order to incorporate others who do not have the same ancestry, but who have moved in due to all sort of factors. This intension constitutesa dynamic factor in improving the cultural technological economic and even political levels of genetic development is inspirable from immigration and the inter-mixing of different groups to form new group. But this process always challenges the existing order to generatestension, which can be used to set off violent. Conflicts according to analysis (2003) these are lessons of history we have to face in Nigeria, as others are also facing them in all heterogeneous countries or societies of the world.  

Indeed, complex ethno religious diversity rather than nurturing harmony and unity tend to give birth to crises such that conflicts have become a common place in Nigeria’s fledging civil dispensations.

However, Nigeria is a very complex multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious polity, with a diversity of cultural groups having some or over 395 ethnic groups. More so, three quarter of these groups are from the middle belt, thus, making it polyglot region, exhibiting almost unparalleled diversities in culture and social organization, 54 of these are from plateau state where Bantu and Kwa-sub-families of the Benue-Congo and the Chadic sub-group of the Nilo-Saharan or Afro-asiatic family to which the Hausa’ belongs meet.

However, there is a complex set of structural causes underlying Nigeria’s conflict, including economic issues such as access to resource that had some times led to violent clashes between ethno-religious groups, inter-religious tension Christians and Muslims remained high and there were several violent ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria including the September 7th and the November 27th 2008 local government polls in Jos, Plateau state.

Any attempt to understand the development of Nigerian state cannot escape a study of ethnicity and religion as some of the main challenges to the development of democracy, nation building and natural integration. The character of Nigerian state is responsible for the country’s deepening ethno-religious contradiction. This plural nature originates a constants feeling of distrust between the component units and fear of the one ethnic group or religious dominating the other in life.

A pattern of largely discernible ethnic suspicious and intrigues that had existed prior to independence in 1960 led to the military coup de tap of 1966 the traumatic civil war between 1967-1970 and mutual distrust after word the annulments o June 12, 1993 presidential elections and the incessant ethno-religious skirmishes that are presently threatening the very fabric of our nascent democracy and national existence. According toAdeyemi(2006). However, it is pertinent to look at the meaning of the term “conflict” as central objectives of this research and its possible of revolution techniques. 

Aja (2007) conceptualizes conflict as an attitude a behavior or an action or a process that introduces strains and stresses in the relationship between two or more parties on say the attainment of a set of interest or goal.

Conflict is neither good or bad, but instrinct in every social relationship from marriage to international diplomacy, wherever, two or more people are gathered, there is conflict or potential conflict. The real issue is not the existence of conflict but how it is handled (Derby 1995). Similarly, written history is replete with the prevalence of conflict in and among societies. A record have shown conflict involving individuals small groups and in all societies is normal and there may be a conflict free society.   

Beyond this, however, we must provide more flawless answer as to why Islamic political theory is a framework for contemporary analysis and the basis for seeing whether Al-Farabi or any other Muslim political thinker is relevant at any time or not.

In the search relevance of Farabi, there is also the need to ask whether the predominant paradigms are not better suited for the identification and classification of the contemporary state and society.

Marxist metaphor for conflict struggle is dialectical materialism and historical, and internal contradictions expressed in class struggles. According to this perspective, human development results from successive stages. Each result conflict stage passes over and qualities to next stage. Conflict is seen as situation when two or more parties, with perceived incompatible goals, seek to undermine each other goals seeking capability. Moreover, despite the relative peaceful history among the complex networks of ethno-religious groups in the city of Jos, violence erupted in September, 2001 killing hundreds of people and leaving thousands in displaced.

The violence is embedded is long term structure political and economic markets and competition for political posts particularly between the so call “indigene” and “non indigenes”. Signals pointing towards the manifestation of contentious issues between Muslims and the Christians started emanating in the 1990’s among residents. This culminated, in 1994 into open clashes mainly between Berom and Hausa/Fulani over farmland and local chieftaincy title.       

Ethnic and religious issues are part of the most recurring issues in Nigeria’s body politics. The issues have permeated the landscaped since the colonial period and until the presents time, there seems to be no solution in sight to accompanying conflicts of ethnic rivalry and religious intolerance (Adeyemi 2006).

Conflict as explained above is considered as being a product of disagreement that is rooted in the belief system and perceptions of threat (or inaction) which tends to preventsobstruct or interfere with, in addition to injuring or rendering another action or inaction. Wilson and Hana (1979) sees the tendency of modern conflict as a struggle involving ideas, values, and or limited resources.

The ethnic dimension in the conflict in Nigeria tends to show often such a conflict became intense and violent, because ethnic groups are manipulated into highly destructive socio-economic and political competition which fit them against one another.

Democracy instead of being an instrument of prompting/building peace, its end in creating and promoting violence, it has lost its substance, it has become an instrument of war (M.M. Yusif 2014).

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

Ethno-religious tension and communal clashes is not a new phenomenon in the recent Nigerian history. The deep rooted ethno-religious differences in Nigeria along other contenting interest that made up the heterogeneous of Nigerian nation-state provide the ground for conflict situations. These differences however, manifested itself even before the attainment of the formal independence. Conflict and crises emanating from these differences is this paramount importance.

Ellsworth (1999) discovered that ethnicity and religious affiliation are the major highest ranked identity markers for a vast majority of Nigerian than other indices such as state, national and Africa identity. Thus religion was discovered to be the second highest ranked identity country-wide with state and national identity carrying third and fourth positions respectively.

Al Farabi (950 A. D) obscured on his review and theory about the nature of the state and society as depicted in the concept of Madinat Al-Fadilah which is the “excellent city” or “ideal state” and the classification that flow from that which take in every form of setting.

The framework that his ideas provide will then be gauged and applied in examining the crises the Nigerian state and society find itself with the Madinah being presented as a model for reform from a perspective that is principally premised in our own reality.

1.3 Scope of the Study and its Limitations

For clear understanding of this research work the scope of the study would be limited to the upheavals in the Jos September 7th 2001 and the November 27th local government poll crises and the process of resolution or techniques thereafter in 2004, when State of Emergency (SOE) was declared on 18th May, 2004 the former head of state chief Olusegun Obasanjo (Plateau Patriots, 2004). Research work of this nature particularly on conflicts resolution techniques is a wider area of research and study not only in Nigerian context but throughout the world.   

Hence, this study is limited to only Jos September 7th crises 2001 and the November 27th local government pol crises 2008 due to so many constraint that could not allow an extensive research and for clarity of purpose such limitation are resource constrain time constraint etc. 

1.4 Research Questions

One of the main objectives of this research work or study is to appraise the ethno-religious conflicts that engultred Jos in 2001 and 2008.

Secondly, the study will shade more light and facilitate netter understanding of the nature, causes, detentions and consequences of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria.

Thirdly, to authentically check efficacy/effectiveness capacity of the various conflict resolution techniques adopted by federal, state and other organization in resolving said conflict.

1.5 Significance of the Study

This research study would provide the basis for reference and understanding of ethno-religious conflict resolution techniques.

It would also assist policy makers in terms of looking at the social, political, economic, institutional, ethnicity, cultural, indigene/settler syndrome (citizenship), that speech discrimination, chieftaincy status/stool land use administration and religious settings of the place under study, when making government policy or programme is significant for it also provide an additional contribution to the volume of existing literature on the subject matter.

1.6 Hypotheses

The hypothesis of this research work is as follows:

  • That, the effort of an indigenous population to limit participation in democratic process to their native population is a major factor effecting the conflict resolution techniques.
  • That, the persistence of the indigene-settler dichotomy has affected the efficacy of conflict resolution techniques adopted in resolving the Jos crises.

1.7 Methodology

It is pertinent that certain methods of data collection can be derived for the purpose of this research. This is to guide the researcher in achieving the research objectives. The collection of data or empirical evidence to test hypothesis or answer the research question is one of the difficult stages of the research process.

This research study depend onthe following techniques for data collection.

1.7.1 The Primary Data Source

The Primary Data are derived from questionnaires (personal interviews conducted by the researcher) with the aim of obtaining information directly from people or group that was witnessed to the crises or those who took part in the resolution/peace effort. Planned sequence of the questions was adopted in this research. Many categories of people were interviewed they are as follows:

  • Official of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Jos North Local Government Area.
  • Officials of the Jama’atuIzalatulBidi’awaikamatusSunnah (JJIBWIS) national headquarter Jos.
  • Official of the Jama’atulNasarul Islam Plateau State (JNI)
  • Official of the Jasawa Development Association (JDA)
  • Other affected individual (victim)   

1.7.2 The Secondary Data Source

The secondary data makes use of documentary entry evidence as source of data. The documentary method assisted the researcher in obtaining information from the same classified sources. 

This includes evidence and extract available in newspaper, journal, textbooks and related papers presented at workshop conference and seminars etc. 

1.8 Operationalized Definition of terms Used

In the course of the research work; there is some operational terms use often in the process of explaining the phenomenon under view. Hence the use of concept such as conflict, crises, democracy, nation, indigene, non-indigene, ethnic and religious settlers etc.

  • Conflict: Is a struggle involving idea, value and or limited resources
  • Crisis: Time of danger or a situation that has reached a dangerous point at a time of great disagreement
  • Democracy: Is a form of government in which power flows form the citizen to the government that is a government based on the consent of the electorate.
  • Nation: can be seen as a group of people who are highly homogenous in character.
  • Indigene: Is a person who is belonging to the group of people who were the original inhabitants of a particular place and who therefore claim to be rightful owners.  
  • Settler: Refers to a group if person who is settled in a particular place for a prolong period of time.
  • Ethnic: Refers to a social identity formation that rest upon culturally specific andunique set of symbols and cosmology. A belief in common origin and a broadly agreed common history provided an inheritance of symbol, heroes, event, values and social identities of both insider and outside.  
  • Religion: Is a belief or a particular system of faith and worship that one is entitled to

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