Accession Number:

ADA551064

Title:

Nigeria's Pernicious Drivers of Ethno-Religious Conflict (Africa Security Brief, Number 14, July 2011)

Descriptive Note:

Monograph

Corporate Author:

NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC AFRICA CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2011-07-01

Pagination or Media Count:

9.0

Abstract:

Nigerias statutory framework grants local officials the authority to extend or deny basic rights to citizens in their jurisdictions, thereby creating incentives for the politicization of ethnicity and escalating intercommunal violence. Ineffective state responses to repeated ethnic clashes have highlighted a lack of political will to address this violence. While currently concentrated in central Nigeria, the systemic drivers to identity conflict have the potential to spread elsewhere in the country and will require fundamental institutional reforms to resolve. The ethnic or religious dimensions of the conflict have been misconstrued as the primary driver of violence when, in fact, disenfranchisement, inequality, and other practical fears are the real root causes. Capitalizing on such conditions, many political rivals have instrumentalized the ethnic and religious diversity of Jos to manipulate and mobilize support. Each outbreak of violence worsens suspicions and renders communal reconciliation more difficult, deepening the cycle and further incentivizing polarization. The heads of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs issued a joint statement in 2010 denouncing local politicians in Jos for exploiting communal tensions for personal gain. Entrenched institutional factors are at the heart of the accelerating distrust and violence in Plateau State. Left unchecked, this pattern is likely to expand to a growing number of Nigerias 36 states. Fundamental changes will be required to reverse the incentives feeding this violence Eliminate indigenesettler classifications in government decisionmaking Strengthen, coordinate, and deconflict security institutions Make protection of minority rights a priority and Establish community-based, state-supported peacebuilding committees.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Geography

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE