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  • Author: Jacinta Chimaka Nwaka
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Nigeria is one of a few African countries where religion has largely been associated with conflict. The dominance of the two major Abrahamic reli- gions—Islam and Christianity—on each side of the divide has made religion one of the more potent factors in the contention for political, economic, and identity spaces in the country. Although the use of religion for identity con- struction, power legitimization, and economic achievement characterized the colonial and immediate post-colonial period, it was not until the late 1970s that religion became highly disruptive, with the onset of religious vi- olence into the country.1 While these eruptions appeared to be restricted to the core northern cities, the re-democratization process associated with the post-Cold War period generated new tensions as politicians mobilized group identities for contested positions. Thus, other northern Nigerian cities that were hitherto known for peace became susceptible to violence. It was in the wake of this development that Plateau and Kaduna states became the epicenter of violent clashes of a religious nature. Various strategies have been adopted by both governmental and non-governmental bodies to ad- dress these conflicts. While some of them have been successful interven- tions, others have failed to stem the tide of conflict. Can religion, which is claimed to be a factor in these conflicts, become part of the solution? The current study seeks to identify the role(s) of faith-based actors in conflict resolution and peacebuilding in Plateau and Kaduna States of Northern Ni- geria between 2000 and 2015. The aim is to explain the conditions that have accounted for the success or failure of their intervention. Beginning with Johnston and Sampson, who identified religion as a missing dimension in statecraft, various authors have highlighted numerous ways through which religious actors can have a positive influence on the peace process.2 According to Johnston and Sampson and Appleby, religious actors are better positioned than politicians to reach out to local and regional ac- tors.3 This is because they are often believed to be in possession of moral and emotional qualifications as well as professional approaches that com- mand the respect and confidence of the parties to a conflict. In his study of religious actors in peace process, Weingardt believes that while all actors involved in conflict resolution and peacebuilding ideally have these qual- ities, they are more common with religious actors.4 He further explained the three dimensions of the confidence and trust which faith-based actors enjoy from the conflict parties. The existence of religious thinking in all cul- tures can be used to justify the call for peace and non-violence. Religious actors are often seen as those who go beyond mere resolution of conflict to address issues of morality, reconciliation, forgiveness, and responsibility, which underlie conflict resolution and are often perceived as those moti- vated by selfless interest. Though these may be at the level of perception rather than reality, Weingardt is of the opinion that such perceptions are informed by the respect generally accorded to religion and religious val- ues.5 The importance of legitimacy and leverage was equally underscored by Aroua and Bercovitch and Kadayici-Orellana, who assert that religious leaders with deep understanding of religious beliefs and ideals are better, placed to promote inter-religious dialogue by transferring codes from one value system to the other.6 In some cases, their influence over conflicting parties, or at least one of them, may become the basis for opening a com- munication channel. Other scholars further emphasize the role of religious organizations in pro- moting peace. According to Smock, they are very effective in delivering aid and development projects, which is considered an important aspect of the peace process.7 Their effectiveness, as observed by Bouta, Kadayici-Orel- lana and Abu-Nimer derives not only from the trust and confidence they command, but also because faith communities are less expensive, having with them, in most cases, a network of volunteers who may not just be committed but who are also ready to make enormous sacrifices informed by their religious beliefs and values.8 Although aid and development are at the pragmatic level, they help immeasurably in addressing the root causes of conflict.9 In addition to what religious actors can do, available literature points to several conflicts that have been mediated by faith-based actors. Among the outstanding cases are: the successful mediation in Mozam- bique by the Rome-based Community of Saint Egido, which helped to end the country’s civil war; and the Lome Peace Agreement of 1999 through the instrumentality of the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone; (2001).10 There have also been cases where mediation by religious organizations in peace processes was not successful. For example, Saint Egido failed in its effort to resolve the conflicts in Algeria, Burundi, and the Democratic Re- public of Congo.11 Religious leaders in Liberia were unsuccessful in their attempts to intervene in the country’s first civil war.12 In the widespread pro- tests and riots that followed the cartoon published by a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, seen as depicting Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist in 2005, an attempt by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to initiate interreli- gious dialogue in Maiduguri also failed. Despite ever-growing interest in the field of faith-based actors in peace- building, one crucial question has remained unanswered: under which con- ditions can religion contribute to peace? Bercovitch has called attention to the need to go beyond the discussion of what success in conflict interven- tion means or may mean to understand the factors that could potentially contribute to such success. This view was re-echoed by Susan Hayward, who noted that “there is a pressing need for greater monitoring and eval- uation of religious peacebuilding work...to understand better which inter- ventions led by whom, and in which situation have the greater effect.”13 The need to establish the constructive role of religion in the peace process has become crucial in the present era, when those involved in the negotiation and peacebuilding processes continue to marginalize religious actors, often considering them to have no constructive role.14 This study is located within this existing scholarship. It uses data from field-based primary sources in qualitative research - in-depth interview (IDI), Focused Group Discussion (FGD), official documents and extant secondary source materials, to explore the conditions that explain the successful or failed interventions of faith- based actors in three outstanding conflicts in Plateau and Kaduna States namely: the Jos and Yelwa conflicts in Plateau State and the Kaduna conflict in Kaduna State between 2000 and 2015.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Religion, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Nigeria, Africa
  • Author: Oluwatoyin Oluwaniyi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The end of the Cold War shifted the focus from international wars between states to internal wars with immense consequences for unarmed civilians, such as occurred in the African countries of Angola, Burundi, Central Afri- can Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, So- malia, and Sudan, to mention a few.1 The nature of these wars makes these countries susceptible to further wars. To avoid such conflict traps, peace- building measures such as disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) have been introduced to pave the way for an easier transition from conflict to peace, by minimizing risks from ex-combatants as possible spoil- ers and, restoring hope and security to victims of conflict while developing their communities.2 Evidence from countries that have utilized DDR, such as Angola, DRC, So- malia, and Liberia, suggests that while disarmament and demobilization may be essential, reintegration remains the most critical component of post-conflict peace and security.3 Debate continues over the notion that while disarmament and demobilization entail short-term security opera- tions, they do not by themselves bring sustainable benefits; reintegration focuses on extensive long-term development efforts that are critical to avoiding the conflict trap and sustaining peace in the long run. Short-term security does not bring about sustainable benefits unless it is coordinated with long-term community development strategies. Reintegration address- es the economic and social transformation of both ex-combatants and the overall communities they are joining, yet the full implementation of this pro- cess is generally ignored in DDR programs in post-conflict countries. This paper focuses on the extent of implementation of the reintegration phase in the Niger Delta region’s post-conflict (usually called post-amnesty) period and its impact on peace, security, and development in the region. The Nigerian federal government embraced the post-amnesty DDR concept in June 2009 to set the pace for gradual resolution of the violence that had embroiled the region for almost a decade. During the execution of the disar- mament and demobilization phases, the Niger Delta region recorded initial progress in peace and security demonstrated by an increase in oil produc- tion from an estimated 700 barrels per day (bpd) to an estimated 2,500 bpd in early 2010. However, the implementation of the reintegration phase has raised several questions due to the region’s relapse into violence and crime. There is, therefore, a need to investigate the factors working against suc- cessful implementation of the reintegration process. A critical analysis of the process will enhance the understanding of schol- ars and policymakers alike on what constitutes sustainable reintegration and at the same time, how it may be achieved in post-conflict societies. The focus on reintegration is meant to facilitate a specific consideration of its importance as the point of intersection between short- and long-term peacebuilding processes.
  • Topic: Peacekeeping, Conflict, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Oluwatoyin Oluwaniyi
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The end of the Cold War shifted the focus from international wars between states to internal wars with immense consequences for unarmed civilians, such as occurred in the African countries of Angola, Burundi, Central Afri- can Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, So- malia, and Sudan, to mention a few.1 The nature of these wars makes these countries susceptible to further wars. To avoid such conflict traps, peace- building measures such as disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) have been introduced to pave the way for an easier transition from conflict to peace, by minimizing risks from ex-combatants as possible spoil- ers and, restoring hope and security to victims of conflict while developing their communities.2 Evidence from countries that have utilized DDR, such as Angola, DRC, So- malia, and Liberia, suggests that while disarmament and demobilization may be essential, reintegration remains the most critical component of post-conflict peace and security.3 Debate continues over the notion that while disarmament and demobilization entail short-term security opera- tions, they do not by themselves bring sustainable benefits; reintegration focuses on extensive long-term development efforts that are critical to avoiding the conflict trap and sustaining peace in the long run. Short-term security does not bring about sustainable benefits unless it is coordinated with long-term community development strategies. Reintegration address- es the economic and social transformation of both ex-combatants and the overall communities they are joining, yet the full implementation of this pro- cess is generally ignored in DDR programs in post-conflict countries. This paper focuses on the extent of implementation of the reintegration phase in the Niger Delta region’s post-conflict (usually called post-amnesty) period and its impact on peace, security, and development in the region. The Nigerian federal government embraced the post-amnesty DDR concept in June 2009 to set the pace for gradual resolution of the violence that had embroiled the region for almost a decade. During the execution of the disar- mament and demobilization phases, the Niger Delta region recorded initial progress in peace and security demonstrated by an increase in oil produc- tion from an estimated 700 barrels per day (bpd) to an estimated 2,500 bpd in early 2010. However, the implementation of the reintegration phase has raised several questions due to the region’s relapse into violence and crime. There is, therefore, a need to investigate the factors working against suc- cessful implementation of the reintegration process. A critical analysis of the process will enhance the understanding of schol- ars and policymakers alike on what constitutes sustainable reintegration and at the same time, how it may be achieved in post-conflict societies. The focus on reintegration is meant to facilitate a specific consideration of its importance as the point of intersection between short- and long-term peacebuilding processes.
  • Topic: Conflict, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Gbemisola Animasawun
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This paper examines the implications of leadership decapitation as a counterterrorism tactic using as case studies, the killings of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by the US and Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf by Nigeria. It is based on Alex S. Wilner’s method of comparing the number of attacks a group successfully carried out before and after the removal of its leader as a means of ascertaining its weakness, demise, or renewed ferocity due to the death of its leader.12 This study gives an account of the unprecedented increase in the number of Boko Haram attacks and the high level of fear and attention—both local and international—due to the high-level targets chosen by the group after the killing of Mohammed Yusuf. This is complemented by primary data gathered through semi-structured interviews with selected security operatives who had contact with Yusuf and his successor Abubakar Shekau. For al-Qaeda, data was collected from secondary sources only. This study begins by summarizing the origin and agenda of violent Islamism, followed by arguments for and against leadership decapitation. Next, it considers accounts of the evolution of al-Qaeda and Boko Haram, their experience of leadership decapitation, and the ferocity of both groups in the aftermath of leadership decapitation. Finally, it examines the overall implications of leadership decapitation for counterterrorism efforts in light of the post-decapitation recovery and increase in reach of both al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. The two cases of leadership decapitation examined in this article are telling cases that invite closer attention to the implications of counterterrorism strategies.13
  • Topic: Counter-terrorism, Al Qaeda, Refugee Crisis, Leadership, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, Nigeria
  • Author: Jimam T. Lar
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This policy briefing note focuses on the role of local actors1 in conflict man- agement and peacebuilding in central Nigeria, and explores two issues: the problem of intractable conflicts and the potential for local actors to play a role in policy interventions aimed at conflict management. By focusing on local actors and their impact on prospects for peacebuilding in local conflicts, it reveals the need to draw lessons and best practices from local contexts to apply to regional and national conflict management policies and peacebuild- ing processes.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Conflict, Local, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Godwin Onuoha
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This paper critically explores the nature of post-civil war peace in Nigeria since the end of the Nigeria-Biafra War in 1970. The context of this study is the recent emergence of neo-Biafran groups calling for the secession of the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria from the federation, almost five decades af- ter secessionist Biafra was defeated and reabsorbed into Nigeria under the banner of national unity. Nigeria’s post-civil war nation-state peacebuilding project was framed around reconciliation, rehabilitation, and reconstruc- tion policies which shaped the nature of national citizenship, the “peace dividend,” and reintegration of the Igbo into a united Federal Republic of Nigeria. The failure of these policies has inevitably fueled lingering post- war memories. The construction of individual and collective memories of the war is intertwined with relations of power, inclusion, and exclusion. Ul- timately, while attempts at post-war reconciliation and national unity ap- peared to have eased opposing memories of the war in the public realm, group memories of “hurt,” “injustice,” and “marginalization” still flourished in the private realm—which consisted of kinship and family networks, town unions, and ethnic groups. Part of the focus of this paper is to examine the onnections between such ill feelings and the emergence of neo-Biafran groups within the country and in the diaspora that are evoking memories of, and nurturing the quest for, a “new” Biafra. As the mobilization efforts of the neo-Biafra groups gain increasing attention in Southeastern Nigeria, the problematic nature of Nigeria’s post-conflict peace, which has not com- pletely eliminated the risk of a relapse into conflict since 1970, is brought to the fore.
  • Topic: Civil War, Diplomacy, Nationalism, Citizenship, Memory, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Jeremiah O Arowosegbe
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: One central aspect of the national question within the discourse on Nigeria concerns the conflicts and disputes historically driven by struggles over land-based resources. Examples of such conflicts include that of Ife- Modakeke in Osun State, the Jukun-Chamba conflict in the Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State, the Tiv-Jukun conflict in Benue and Plateau States, and the Umuleri-Aguleri war of attrition over Otuocha land in Anambra State. Drawing on primary data generated from focus group discussions and oral interviews between October 2009 and March 2015 across locations with pronounced incidents of land-based conflicts in Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo States in southwestern Nigeria, this work examines the impact of economic considerations on ethnically motivated conflicts in the country over land from 1999 to 2015. It examines land conflicts in southwestern Nigeria—which have been occurring since the 1980s and stubbornly resurfaced in recent times—as a major economic and sociopolitical problem at the national and state levels. This study examines the following questions: How has land been connected with some of the historical conflicts across Nigeria? How has the character of the state in Nigeria affected the management of ethnically motivated land conflicts? What does this case study suggest in terms of the resolution of land-based conflicts across the country? This study argues that colonialism—through its policies and programs as well as the administrative structures and political systems put in place by the colonial state—not only changed the material conditions of populations across Nigeria by forcefully integrating them into the colonial and later global capitalist system (by compelling them to participate in colonial economic activities largely dominated by profit motive, thereby negating the autonomous development of the emergent postcolonial state), but also radically altered the complexities and directions of the land question. Hence Okwudiba Nnoli’s assertion that colonial and postcolonial societies are characterized by struggles that do not originate in local changes in the prevailing systems of class relation and material production.
  • Topic: Minorities, Ethnicity, Conflict, Land
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Charles Ukeje
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: With its roots in decades of crude oil production and the attendant crises of mismanagement of oil revenues, the reemergence of armed groups1 in the Niger Delta region in early 2016 marked a return to the ‘business-as-usual’ insurgency that dominated the oil region since the 1990s. In February 2016, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) claimed responsibility for attacking oil facilities owned by major international oil companies (IOCs). During the same period, the state-owned Nigeria National Petroleum Com- pany (NNPC) reportedly spent N4.023 billion to repair 293 pipeline breaks. These attacks disrupted oil production and forced the IOCs to declare a force majeure, reducing daily oil production from 2.2 million to between 1.6 and 1.7 per million barrels per day. These developments coincided with a na- tional fiscal crisis linked to dwindling global oil prices; from over $100/barrel to around $50/barrel. Without steady gas supplies, the already dire electricity situation nationwide was further compounded by a 2,500 megawatts drop in power generation.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Non State Actors, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Elias Courson
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Since the late 1990s, the oil-endowed Niger Delta region has become an almost ungovernable space. From 1999, there has been a turn to militancy, which escalated with the emergence of the Movement for 1 the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in 2005/6. Although the government was initially slow to react to the unfolding trajectory of violent conflict in the region, there was a period of relative peace in the wake of the 2009 amnesty deal, which was somewhat disrupted in February 2016 by the emergence of a new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).2 Apart from the NDA, a plethora of little-known militant groups emerged in the Niger Delta between February and November 2016. Their attacks brought the oil industry and by extension, the nation’s economy to a state of near collapse. The government lost about $7 billion (N2.1 trillion) due to the activities of insurgent groups and oil pipeline vandals in the Niger Delta. Some estimates suggest that these disturbances brought down oil production from 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd), to barely 1 million bpd. The NDA’s strategic return to the oil creeks to mount sting operations on Nigeria’s petro-economy when global oil prices had fallen drastically (from a peak of $115 per barrel in mid-2014 to less than $40 per barrel in early 2016), exacerbated the country’s financial woes and contributed towards the national economic recession.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Global Recession, Militias
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Aloysius Nyuymengka Ngalim
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This paper begins with a description of the conflict, mediation and post- mediation clashes, and an analysis of the mediation process. The main argument is that post-mediation clashes were a result of the exclusion of the views and interests of residents of the Bakassi peninsula. Background information on the conflict is presented to situate the paper within extant ideas on international mediation and to provide theoretical underpinning and a theoretical basis for the conclusion. This study draws data from documentary sources complemented with interviews conducted during fieldwork between January and April 2013. Documentary sources include press reports and legal documents related to the dispute as well as scholarly publications. Data was analyzed using the content analysis approach.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Imperialism, Conflict, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon
  • Author: Nkwachukwu Orji
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Despite widely held concerns about the likelihood of a destabilizing outcome, Nigeria suc- cessfully conducted its general elections on March 28 and April 11, 2015. The peaceful and positive result came to many as a surprise, considering the difficult political and secu- rity environment in which the elections were conducted. Five major obstacles had stood in the way of their going smoothly: the competing claims to the presidency by northern and southern politicians; a keenly contested campaign smeared by inflammatory messages; the grave security threat posed by the Boko Haram insurgency; allegations of politically motivated postponement of the elections; and gaps in electoral preparations. This briefing assesses Nigeria’s 2015 general elections, highlighting factors that enabled the country to avoid larger-scale violence and lessons that can be learned from its experience.
  • Topic: Elections, Democracy, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria