AN OVERVIEW OF ETHNO-RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS IN KADUNA STATE: A CASE STUDY OF IGABI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF KADUNA STATE (2011-2014)

AN OVERVIEW OF ETHNO-RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS IN KADUNA STATE: A CASE STUDY OF IGABI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF KADUNA STATE (2011-2014)

                                                                                                 Abstract

The study was on; “An Overview of Ethno-Religious Crises in Kaduna State: A case study of Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State (2011-2014)”. It was aimed at investigating the causes and effects of ethno-religious conflicts in Igabi Local Government Area. The specific objectives of the study were to; identify the rate of ethno-religious conflicts, it causes and effects as well as suggesting ways of preventing and managing the conflicts in Igabi Local Government Area. A total of 110 respondents were selected using simple random technique from the study area; Igabi Local Government Area. A carefully designed questionnaire was used to collect information related the research objectives from the respondents. 110 questionnaires were administered to the selected respondents. Only 100 of this questionnaires were retrieved in time valid for analysis, this represents about 90.9% of the total administered questionnaires, hence was reasonable for the analysis. The analysis was done using simple frequency count and percentage. The result was presented on Tables and other relevant charts for clarity. The major findings of the study were; the causes of ethno-religious conflicts in Igabi Local Government Area are; Issue of leadership/ bad governance, Illiteracy, Ignorance, Ethnic / Religious differences and Poverty. Insecurity, social-Economic waste and stagnancy, destruction of lives and properties, disruption in existing peace and unity and underdevelopment are identified effects of ethno-religious conflicts in Igabi Local Government Area. Also, that the strategies put in place to check reoccurrence of ethno-religious conflicts in Igabi Local Government Area has not been very effective.

Introduction

Nigeria since independence has remained a multi-ethnic nation with over four hundred ethnic groups (Chidi, 2005;Salawu, 2010), belonging to several religious sects has been trying to cope with the problem of ethnicity on the one hand,and the problem of religious conflict on the other. In the last decade, ethno-religious conflict, which is a form ofurban violence, has been reported in most major towns in Northern Nigeria.

Over the years, ethno-religious conflicts have been a fundamental issue that has posed security challenges in Nigeria. The recent security challenges in the country are the torrent and tumultuous spate of bombing, maiming, killing and kidnapping by Boko Haram and other insurgents that have threatened the national unity and security.

Some of the ethno-religious conflicts of national and international attention since the emergency of democratic government in the year 1999 in Nigeria include; the TivvsJukun, JukunvsKuteb, ChambavsKuteb in Tararba State, OgonivsAndon in Rivers State, the Sharia crisis in Kaduna State, the Tivvs other ethnic groups in Azara of Nasarawa State in 2001, the Hausa/Fulani vs the Anaguta, Afizere and Berom in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State in 2001, the Tarokvs Hausa/Fulani in Wase Local Government Area in 2004, the Goemaivs the Hausa/Fulani in Shendam Local government Area of Plateau State in 2002, the religious violence of Maidiguri, Borno State in 2005, the Quanvs Pan in Quan’Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State in 2006, the Hausa/Fulani vs the Anaguta, Afizere and Berom in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State in 2008, and the ‘Boko Haram’ violence that engulfed Borno, Yobe, Bauchi and Kano states in July, 2009 (Kwaja, 2009).

While the roots of ethnic and religious conflicts have been linked to colonialism and the cold war (Machava, 2008:2), other scholars argue that ethnic and religious conflicts are rooted in bad governance, politicization of ethnic and religious identities, the competition and conflict for political power by the ethnic and religious communities respectively (Anarfi, 2004; Conversi, 1999).

According to Ibrahim (2000:69), ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria are linked to citizenship within the context of identity, which is rooted in the politics of inclusion or exclusion. These are tied to claims and counter-claims over identity as a basis for determining who is excluded or included from decision making as well as access to opportunities under the ‘we’ versus ‘them’ cliché (Kwaja, 2008:83). In this sense, durable peace in which the mutual coexistence of all religious and ethnic groups can only be achieved when democracy is deepened (Hegre, et.al, 2001:15).

Some of the major groups include “Hausa/Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5% (www.cia.gov.com).Religion, on the other hand, has thrived in the country to accentuate regional and ethnic distinctions. Three major religions are distinguishable in Nigeria and they include Christianity, Islam and African traditional religion. Research result reveals that 50% of Nigerians are Muslims, 40% Christians and 10% are members of traditional religion (www.cia.gov.com). Whereas Islam dominates the north and has a number of adherents in the south and western part, Christianity dominates the south and also has a distribution of adherents both in the north and west.

The religious contradictions that Nigeriafaces are daunting. The country is essentially heterogeneous society, with the two monotheistic religions-Christianity andIslam enjoying the loyalty of most Nigerians. The origin of the employment of religion as an instrument of politics inNigeria can be traced back to the colonial era. Although the British colonialists claimed to have Nigerians on theimperative of secularity in a multi-religious society, available evidence suggests that the colonial administrationconsciously employed religion as an instrument of pacification. Agbaje (1990:288) correctly established, the colonialadministration underwrote Islam in the Northern part of colonial Nigeria and used it as the basis of political authority inlocal administration. It not only kept the Christians missionaries from the North, so as to preserve the assumed Islamichomogeneity of the region, it also adopted the emirate system of political administration with its strong religious content.In spite of this early trend, the issue of religion did not come to the front burner as a critical issue dividing Nigeria alongreligious streak until 1986 when General Babangida regime upgraded Nigerian’s membership in the Organization ofIslamic Countries, OIC, from observer to a substantive one (Mimiko, 1995:261). This move was seen by Christians as aploy to turn Nigeria into an Islamic State against the spirit and the letter of the constitution. This singular action of theBabangida regime marked the epoch of intractable intra (in the case of Islam) and inter-religious violence in Nigeria. Thisprecarious situation was worsened, with the promulgation of Sharia law in the North. This move took Shariaaway from its constitutional and historical domain in customary law in the North, and places it in the criminal/civil lawdomain. Although this move seemed motivated by the political dynamism of contemporary Nigeria and by politicians’ questfor popularity, empirical evidence so far showed that it was the harbinger of ethno-religious conflict in the country.

In some cases, ethnicity has been the basis for violent intra- religious conflicts adding a new dimension to religiousconflicts in Northern Nigeria (Bogoro, 2008). The tendency to identify some ethnic groups with a particular religion easilygives credence to the use of religion for the manipulation of other differences. It is a fact according to Bogoro (2008),many modern secular nations fraternize with some religions, depending on the peculiarity of such countries especially thewishes of the majority of the citizens. Similarly, a number of theocratic states whose political system is generally guidedby the dictates of a dominant religion still find it convenient to accommodate one or more prominent minority religions.

There are two types of religious conflicts in the Northern geo-political region. They are the conflict between followers of twodifferent religions and conflict between followers of the same religion, particularly between Muslims (IPCR, 2003). Theidentifiable causes of inter religious conflict range from extremism to politicization of religion. A factor that contributed tothis development is the politicizations of religion that took place at both national and local levels. This research study is an overview of ethno religious conflicts in Kaduna State; a case study of Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State (2011-2014).

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Ethno-religious conflicts have severally drawn Kaduna State to the precipice of disaster. It hasengendered huge human carnage, internal displacements and refugee crisis, loss of investments, strained inter-communalor inter-ethnic relations, threatened internal security and public order. There is the high level of interethnicand inter-religious vendetta in the state, to the point that it seems that Kaduna State is now exhibiting thesymptom of a collapsing state, whose members are perpetually at war with one another (Imobighe 2003).

Thus, ethno-religious conflicts in Kaduna State have become matter of great concern to not just the state and the nation but also to the international community.  Indeed, the state has undergone series of profound civil disturbancesand recurrently seeking ways to manage her persistent and complex problems and ethno-religious conflict. Severalefforts such as deployment of huge security operatives, peaceful dialogue amongst religious groups and setting up ofprobe panels have been made to manage the perennial conflict but with little or no positive improvement.

Predictably, the mixtures of ethnicity and faith have taken the strife to unimaginable, deadly heights. In certain instances, villageshave been leveled. Neighbours who had lived in harmony for decades have turned on one another with murderousfervor,that has led to the loss of thousands of lives and destruction of valuable properties(Numerous buildings and other valuables have been razed).

Social and economic life is at its lowest in the city and indeed the state that used to hold a lot of attraction for touristsnow find it hard to sustain even the love of the indigenes. Fear has become a common denominator.  Law enforcement agents now comb worship centres and mosques in the State. For a state whose citizens boast of belonging to eitherChristianity or Islam, two of the world’s greatest faiths, that indeed is a sad commentary (Egwu, 2011).

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This research seeks to provide answers to the following research questions:

  1. Whatare the causes of ethno-religious conflicts in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State?
  2. What are the impacts of ethno-religious conflicts on the socioeconomic development of Igabi Local Government Area?
  3. What are the strategies put in place for preventing and managing ethno-religious conflicts in Igabi Local Government Area and how effective have these strategies been?
  4. How can ethno-religious conflicts be sustainably prevented in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State?

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDIES

The main objective of this Research is to provide an overview of Ethno-religious Conflicts in Kaduna State with special focus on Igabi Local Government Area. More specifically, the objectives of this research study are to:

  1. Identify the causes of ethno-religious conflicts in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
  2. Examine the impacts of ethno-religious conflicts on the socioeconomic development of Igabi Local Government Area.
  3. Identify and evaluate the strategies put in place for preventing and managing ethno-religious conflicts in Igabi Local Government.
  4. Suggest sustainable strategies for preventing ethno-religious conflicts in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Scope and Limitation of the Study

This research Study will be limited to examining the ethno-religious conflicts in Kaduna State with focus on Igabi Local Government Area. Specifically, this work will cover the causes of ethno-religious conflicts in Igabi LGA, its impacts of ethno-religious conflicts on the socioeconomic development and life of Igabi LGA residents,identification of the major key players who has great role to play in resolution of ethno-religious conflicts and investigation of effective strategies of ethno-religious conflict management.

The major limitation of this study is its sensitive and security implications, as a result most of the respondents are afraid to provide useful information. Other areas of limitation are:

  1. The administrative bottle neck at the ministry of information, ministry of peace and conflict resolution, where the researcher went to seek for records and documents. Also it made the collection of some data difficult as most of their document and records were not readily released for data collection.
  2. Time: Due to limited time allocated for the research project, much data and information could not be accessed to cover a wide range.
  3. Finance: Owing to financial constraints, the researcher was unable to cover a large sample in the study area.
  4. Non-availability of relevant and adequate needed information.

Literature Review

The chapter two of this research study, deals with the review of related literature. According to Lunenberg and Irby (2008); a literature review is a “critical analysis of a segment of a published body of knowledge through summary, classification, and comparison of prior research studies, reviews of literature, and theoretical articles”. literature review is also an assessment of a body of research that addresses a research question.

Burton, Brundrett, and Jones (2008) said that “conducting a high quality review of existing ideas is probably the most important element of any successful research study in the Social Sciences and education in particular”. According to Leedy (1997), review of literature has several purposes. Primarily, it is to assist in confronting the research problem.

The literature review of this research study will be discussed under the following sub-themes:

  1. An overview of ethno-religious conflicts in the Northern part of Nigeria.
  2. Trend of ethno-religious conflicts in Northern Nigeria.
  3. Causes of ethno-religious conflicts in Northern Nigeria.
  4. The socioeconomic effects of ethno-religious conflicts.
  5. Theoretical framework.

 

 

 

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