By Akputa Nnabuike
Nigeria, the giant of the sub Saharan Africa is made of thirty-six states that is further divided in geopolitical zones because of the different ethnic and cultural groups that make up this beautiful country. However, the history of Nigeria is characteristically ridden with conflict just like every other country all over the world. From her time of colonization to its inception as a free country, she has faced series of social issues that eventually result to conflict, and such issues bother on Civil war, Community struggles, Ethnic struggle for emancipation, which in al has affected the country in the Political, Social, Cultural and Economic foundations. Thus, the questions that arise bother on the factors that are considered to be encouraging conflict in Nigeria.
The structural causes of conflict can come individually or in a collective form. These forces determine the initiation of conflict and also the means to sustain it, though at the long run sustaining the foundation or premise of the conflict turns on them.
A look at some of those constituted to be our leaders have not just thrown away but also enslaved diplomacy and employed the administrative method that Militarily silences our need for freedom of expression especially the ones that affect the daily life of her citizens especially when the Fundamental human rights are abused on a daily base.
Within the cultural sphere and because of the various ethnic diversity in the country, conflict is bound to take place because the different ethnic groups may not function as a unity. The problem of equality is always there and to manage different set of cultural groups may be very difficult especially when one body seeks to always show dominance over others by taking hold of the different power houses to themselves. This also goes in conjunction with the Politico- Religious struggles that is always on the frontline of conflict issues in the country which sees the Holy desire for a particular ethnic group seeking to emerge in the power sector and at the same time seek to establish their own indoctrinated state. The ethnic leaders are meant to be the promoters of peace because of their positions and the fact that people listen to them, are meant to use such positions in a strategic manner that will benefit all. The society at large expects more from them though in some cases it is known that they cannot control the actions of their people who may have their own grievance’s way beyond the power of their leaders.
Furthermore, looking at the dwindling economy of the country, one wonders what the next day holds in store for her citizens. Consequently, there is the issue of mismanaging of funds and the looting of natural resources meant for the country which eventually led to struggle within the communities where the resources are harnessed from. On the other hand, some regions have total control of their own resources while that of other regions, especially the oil producing states are deemed by the authority to be of national interest. This shows disregard for equality and corruption in its highest core. It also goes with the saying that one or two geopolitical zones gain more when it comes to the sharing of national amenities and most importantly when it comes to sharing of international aid or Relief responses
On the other hand, failures to address issues with some members of the security operatives in the country has its own wright of wrath especially on the citizens of the country. These are people that are empowered to serve and protect the lives of Nigerian citizens. However, the reverse is the case and this is a continuous occurrence that not only affects the fundamental rights of her citizens but at the same time affects our reputation among the international body. Consequently, it is of paramount importance to note that most our security operatives act out of ignorance of human rights while others act in retaliation against the system that has failed them because the take home salaries is way below the effort they put or are meant to put in place coupled with the lack in equipment’s to work with. More so the pension system dose not really favor them in retirement, how then would they take care of their families.
Most radical about their condition are the living quarters that they are expected to live and operate within their community. Nevertheless, some of the security operatives lack professionalism which makes one to wonder what happened to the allocated budgets and international support meant for consistent capacity upgrades for them to meet the taste of time. Some on the other hand face the problem of language and proper knowledge of the environment they are posted to work
Who is to be questioned or who will give proper accountability for the lacks in checks and balance? Security operatives (police, army, navy, civil defense,) are expected to be a separate body not under the full control of the executive arm of government (except where the constitution proves otherwise) but under the jurisdiction of the judiciary who are the custodians and interpreters of the law. To these certain actions taken by the security operatives should not be entirely taken on them because they act on instructions of their highest authorities. Instances apply to issues that affect Human security, the responses given are not usually the expected actions, there should be need to address the situation by the state first in order that the state powers and the people don’t feel alien within their own constituents. Some certain mediations and reconciliations should have taken in place before the full deployment of the calvary on the people
The actions of our Religious and Political Leaders who are perceived as people with strong Charismatic influence are partly the major forces behind conflict resilience in the country because certain actions of their followers are based on the indoctrination their leaders provide which are followed by aggregations and grievances. These set of leaders are mean to be agents of peace but would rather appreciate to be the key elements of conflict remaining frozen in time unmalting.
Lack in policy that guides all Agricultural products cause a lot of issues within communities especially when it involves the Cattle Herders who are nomadic in nature and their survival depends on their cattle’s but not at the expense of destroying the daily lives of other people by taking their livestock into farmlands with crops deep in the soul and this has led to frequent communal clashes between them and the farmers in certain communities, this affects every geopolitical zones, but the other problem boils down to the fact that the government has turned away from this issues which propels one to wonder if the fracas is government sponsored. A comprehensive Agricultural policy would see nomadic farmers set up ranches on a paid property and feed their cattle’s there to avoid issues with community farmers who plant food for a living. It falls on the government to create a mutual and encompassing plan to accommodate everyone and not keep mute while food products are lost and cattle herders go on with their rampage. It also falls on the state governments to establish a body of Peace stakeholders who would address issues with the farmers on both ends and at the same time encourage the establishment of ranches by cattle famers to make their work easier. On the other hand, bandits have also disguised themselves as nomadic herders to carry out their nefarious acts. Thus, there is need for accountability by the state government to create profiles to identify who is who and more so punish offenders who trespass farmlands with crops in place
Within the sphere of Labour union and the Government representatives lies the lingering issue of increase in the payment of salaries and pensions to the retired citizens. This has not only affected the works force but also contributed to the dwindling economy of the country. Issues keep escalating because the government will not add extra incentives to the working force but still tax them high beyond their monthly earnings. This always leads to escalation of issues and long-term strikes because a compromise cannot be reached because both parties want more and none is ready to concede for the other body. Consequently, this also affects the Education system in two phases which bothers on parents not been able to pay for their children’s school fees and the National union of universities not in conformity with the policy in place foe them to work.
These also affects the education of the Nigerian youths, who do not have the friendly and sustainable environment thus leading to setbacks in the form of strikes which last for months unending while some of the leaders have their own children in private owned schools or even outside the country where they get better opportunities, thus, it means those they serve don’t deserve such opportunities. The effects of this escalates into the society with youths meant to be in school roaming the streets while some join bad gangs and commit all sorts of crime. The ones who eventually make use of their talents are either criminalized or not supported to encourage their personal skillsets. Youths are the nation builders of every country with a dynamism that transcends with brisk developments because of their skilled nature, instead of letting them be retrogressive , give them the chance to progress themselves by removing all forms of injustice and in so doing the country rises from its depths of decay.
Confidently, one can say that the Nigerian constitution is still rooted in an aged system of governance. With Nigeria’s independence, more power was given based on ethnic and territorial population, thus leading to series of fragmented understanding filled with social distrust especially in scenarios when some group feel left out in the service of the country within the state and federal level as well, thus there is the need for proper reevaluation and restructuring.
Conflict cannot remain resilient if the government promotes and solidifies a sustainable environment with action effective policies for human development with special focus on the youth. In addition, transparency in the appointment and regulation of power should centralized and implemented as part of the leadership cycle to ensure that every ethnic group is carried along.