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COMMUNAL CONFLICT AND SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AN ANALYSIS OF BOKI LGA

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COMMUNAL CONFLICT AND SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AN ANALYSIS OF BOKI LGA

 

Abstract

Communal conflict is gradually replacing the conflict between states which appears to have dominated the international state since end of the Second World War. The harmonious relationship and peaceful co-existence which characterized rural dwellers especially in Boki lga seems to have been torn apart owing to the daily occurrence of conflict within the polity which has in no small measure undermined development of social and economic lives of the people. This conflict manifest in different forms, common among them include; civil wars, violence and conflicts, land disputes, gang violence and political wars, etc. the critical nature of this conflict and its devastating impacts are adversely affecting socio economic wellbeing of affected communities. Data for the study were elicited through questionnaire from two hundred and twenty ( 220) respondents randomly selected from four (4) communities within the study area. Chi-square (X2) was used as analytical tool to test hypotheses. Data collected were analyzed at 0.05 level of significance. Findings confirm that socio economic underdevelopment could be a negative consequence of communal conflict. It is suggested that government in collaboration with the people should rise up to the challenge of maintaining peace and order to pave way for development programmes.

TABLE OF CONTENT:

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background of the Study

1.2     Statement of the Research Problem

1.3     Objectives of the Study

1.4     Significance of the Study

1.5     Research Questions

1.6     Research Hypothesis

1.7     Conceptual and Operational Definition

1.8     Assumptions

1.9     Limitations of the Study

 

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1     Sources of Literature

2.2     The Review

2.3     Summary of Literature Review

 

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1     Research Method

3.2     Research Design

3.3     Research Sample

3.4     Measuring Instrument

3.5     Data Collection

3.6     Data Analysis

3.7     Expected Result

CHAPTER FOUR

DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

4.1     Data Analysis

4.2     Results

4.3     Discussion

CHAPTER FIVE

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1     Summary

5.2     Recommendations for Further Study

References

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1 Background of the study

Every society is faced with different challenges imposed either by man or nature. Since after independence in 1960, Nigeria has consistently experienced crises of different dimensions with adverse consequences on the social, economic, political and emotional development of the society. Communal conflict or communal conflict/dispute is one of such devastating challenges confronting transitional societies such as Nigeria.

Conflicts as asserted by Adams (2000) are inevitable wherever scarce resources are unequally distributed among competitors and inequality is reflected in cultural and political relationship between groups. Human society as observed by Robinson (1972) in Nsolibe (2014) characterized by differences in ideology, socio-cultural activities, resources endowment and different ethnic affiliations. These differences often result to conflict due to poor management strategy.

The poor state and performance of the rural sector especially in Boki lga is an indicator and a pointer at underdevelopment and this is further worsened by series of communal conflict (Ekot, 2002).Rural communities in Boki lga are in a precarious and abysmal state. Communal conflict has been a significant source of disharmony in Boki lga where several people have been allegedly killed, wounded and kidnapped. These several provocative attacks, harassment, abduction and killing have resulted into loss of manpower, destruction of properties, stagnation of economic activities like businesses including farming, increasing cannibalistic acts etc. Hundreds of people have been displaced from their original homes and rendered homeless as refugees in neighbouring communities as a result of brutal and inhuman acts of communal conflict.

For several years running, these communities have engaged in a fratricidal war over parcels of lands despite the peace pact signed by most of the elders of these warring communities. None of these crises ever end without loss of lives, destruction of properties, destruction of lives-stocks and farm products, invading and burning of schools, homes, markets, shops and even hospitals where the sick  and injured are supposed to be taken care of; blocking of public roads making it difficult for people to travel outside their territories for productive ventures. These have cumulatively led to the distortion of social, cultural, economic and political activities within the area. The increasing insecurity has wreaked havoc on the environmental wellbeing and hospitality for which most rural communities exemplify.

Communities in Boki lga like every other parts of the world have witnessed persistence reoccurrence of several communal conflict which has posed a devastating consequence on their socio economic development (pate, 2009). Traditionally, conflict have been conceptualized as a struggle over values and claims to scarce status, power and resources in which the aims of the opponent are to neutralize, injure or eliminate the rivals.it exists in magnitude of range, rift, misunderstanding, family and market brawls, skirmishes and wars, public insurrections and assaults including chieftaincy and boundary disputes (Albert, 2001). Conflict, though an element of social interaction, exists when parties are engaged in serious disagreement and refuses to come to terms with each other. This could be family members, friends, individuals, communities, states and even nations.

Pate (2009) noted that when two or more parties perceive their interest as incompatible, they express hostile attitudes or pursue their interest through actions that damaged the other parties. In the view of Kari (2004), conflict arises when two actors are opposing each other in social interaction and reciprocal social power in an attempt to obtain scarce or incompatible goals by preventing each other from attaining and pursuing their goals. To further buttress this point, Ajayi (2014) acknowledged that conflict is inevitable wherever sever resources are unequally distributed among competitors and inequality is reflected in cultural and political relationship between groups.

The Global Coalition for Conflict Transformation (2016) added that conflict is not solely an inherently negative, destructive occurrence but rather a potentially positive and productive force for change if harnessed constructively.

Conflict is not an isolated event that can be resolved or managed; but an integral part of society’s ongoing evolution and development. This view tallies with that of Ayayi (2013) who noted that the regularity of conflict has become of the distinct characteristics of the continent. This however, defines communal living in rural communities or Boki lga. The findings from the work of Otite (1991); Deutsch (1991); Zartman (1991) and Azar (1990) reveal that conflict may be in ubiquitous as long as people, nations and groups pursue conflicting interest, there will always be disagreements, disputes and conflict.

Communal conflict has to do with disputes between two or more communities. According to Oboh and Hyande (2006), it is that which involve two or more communities engaging themselves in disagreement or act of violence over issues such as claims for land ownership, religious and political differences leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties. This idea was further elaborated by Eme and Nwoba (2015) who posited that communal conflict is a state of incompatibility that emanates from a commonly shared or used property by a group or groups in a society.

The last two decades in Nigeria as stressed by Sambon (2005), have witnessed no fewer than two hundred communal conflicts and casualty figures conservatively put over 500,000 were recorded in a quick succession across the country resulting to loss of lives and properties. A study by Ikurekong, Udo and Esin (2012) reveal that the major consequences of this bloody communal clashes have been outright reduction in the livelihoods and development potential of the natural resources base of the people.

Conflict according to Albert (2001) as cited in Ayayi and Buhari (2014) is a channel through which creative solution to human problems are defined and collective solution identified and developed. Hence, there is nothing wrong with the existence of this conflict as it forms part and parcel of the society. What is disturbing as observed by Omotayo (2005) is the massive destruction of lives and properties as well as disruption of social, political and economic lives of the larger population. Communal conflict therefore constitute a serious social problem that needs to be addressed with urgency. Although communal conflict as identified by Ikenga (2006) has been a scourge on society from earliest times, contemporary rural societies seem to be witnessing more of these crises. This havoc as commented by Eme and Nwoda (2015) has turned the attention of people from creative production to creative destruction. Many people in the process are displaced, thus compounding the problem of increased refugees in neighbouring communities, while some are killed, others died as a result of shocks, and improper medical attention and lot more are injured or maimed.

There is greater insecurity of lives and properties in areas surrounded by conflict as a result of increased importation of sophisticated weapons used in engaging opposition parties. Communal conflict or conflict as observed by Effiom (2001) have graduated from the use of bow and arrows, sticks, machetes, dain-guns to automatic rifles, grenades and bomb. The frequency of conflict, according to Oji and Eme (2004) has the capacity to severely constrained development endeavours by destroying infrastructures. One of the serious consequences has been the interruption of production progress and diversion of resources away from productive use. Funds budgeted for viable development programmes are often times rechanneled to rebuilding critical infrastructures destroyed as a result of these crises.

Communal conflict can be attributed to a number of factors among which include: political discrimination, poverty, inequality, cultural and religious differences (Eminue, 2014).  Eminue (2014) and Osaghae (1992) maintained that multi-ethnicity is the most frequent cause of conflict. Communal conflict especially in rural communities is more of war of interest as its purposes in most cases are well defined. Horowtz (1985) as cited in Nsolibe (2014) also assert that African societies have been going through difficult times of communal conflicts, antagonism and violence, as a result of the weak boundary structures, endemic poverty, winner takes all philosophy, insufficient land, among others. Ayuk (2014) identified the changing specter of communal conflict and crime; the grievous consequences its exudes, the nonidentification of appropriate and most effective channel of managing the occurrence and weak legal institution for Nigeria nations, as further posing greater challenge to addressing, controlling and understanding communal conflict or conflict in Nigeria.

Although Celestine and Osita (2010) admitted that conflict in the society is inevitable, and that not all conflict can be resolved but managed, the task of conflict resolution is however, weakened by poorly trained and corrupt control machineries of government and their inability to check, monitor and control people’s activities that have the propensity to generate conflict in the society. More disturbing, is the increasing duration between flare-up and the partiality of armed personnel and perceived stakeholders especially politician in handling these crises. Several factors as pointed out by Wood (2016) affect economic (as well as) social development. These include; population, conflict and environment. Conflict is complex, its presence in an area is terrible for economic development. Not only does it cost money but also instability in businesses. Although most times these crises are not remotely stable, their existence create much risk and harm to the socio economic development of the society. During conflict periods as Ayuk (2014) rightfully observed, lives are negatively affected; occupations and businesses are disrupted; production of subsistence practices are halted, which consequently would lead to chronic shortage of food, famine, unemployment, destruction and refugee problems. The violence outbreak of communal crises has marred development gains of health education, infrastructural improvement and income generating and distributing activities. These are necessary consequences of inter-communal conflicts. This situation nevertheless poses great challenge to socio economic development as no investor would be willing to undertake serious business commitment in such area.

The conflict school according to Ekot (2002) sees society as made up of people or groups with conflicting and unequal access to social, political and economic resources. Therefore, society is more or less a battle ground where those who consider themselves as exploited rise up against those who exploit them. Conflict to Coser (1956) as cited in Aule (2015) is commonly regarded as a struggle over values and claims to scarce status, power and resources. This is also the stance of Ralf Dahrendorf             where he posited that conflict is the resultant effect of competition. The aim of the opponents are to neutralize, injure or eliminate their rivals.

Similarly, Shapiro (2006) viewed conflict as a process of social interactions, which involves claims to resources, power, status, beliefs, preferences and desires. Giving these assertions, therefore, the social conflict theory of Karl Marx is considered relevant to this study. Karl Marx, a major proponent of the conflict school believes that reality lies only in nature and material things. The foundation of human society is based on human adaptation to nature. That is the organization of activity to provide for material needs and wants. Economic factor (e.g land, economic trees and products etc) is the fundamental determinant of the structure and development of society. Marx was concerned with the economic factor which exists between the opposing classes in the society. Those who have the means of production and those who are exploited by the owners of the means of production. Marx, as stated in Charles (2014) commented that social relations in human society from the beginning of history has been marked by series of struggles and disagreements between opposing classes. That every society in history has been marked by some gradation or differentiation between the haves and the haves –not, the superior and the inferior, the super-ordinates and the subordinates, the high and the low classes.

Giving this view in relation to this study, economic resource such as land in Boki lga is scarce when compared to the demand of the people. The scramble for these scarce resources by individuals and groups often result to conflict, thus the prevalence of communal conflict in Boki lga.

 

1.2 Statement of the problem

The endemic nature of communal conflict with its attendant consequences calls for attention. This study investigated the impact of environmental resources conflict dynamics on social and economic development of communities in Boki lga. The major objective was to investigate the association between communal conflict and socio economic development. Specifically, it examined the association between struggle for land, political power and chieftaincy affair and socio economic development.

 

1.3 Objectives of the study

  1. To know the effect of communal conflict on socio-economic development
  2. To understand the relationship between communal conflict and socio-economic development

 

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the effect of communal conflict on socio-economic development
  2. What is the relationship between communal conflict and socio-economic development

 

1.5 Research Hypothesis

H0: There is no relationship between communal conflict and socio-economic development

H1: There is a relationship between communal conflict and socio-economic development

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