General / Nigerian Affairs / Northern Nigeria

“Re-thinking Nigeria’s Indigene-Settler Conflicts” ~ A Report by USIP


A few weeks ago, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) released a report, written by Aaron Sayne, looking at indigene-settler conflicts in Nigeria, the basis of deadly communal violence notably in Jos and Kaduna, but also Warri, Wukari in Taraba, parts of Benue and other parts of the country. The report, based on thorough analysis delves into many issues surrounding these conflicts, but importantly locates such violence within the context of constitutional provisions (indigenization clause) and identity politics  that enable such indigene-settler clashes. You can read the full report HERE (PDF).

Here is a summary:

  • Many of Nigeria’s worst conflicts pit the recognized original inhabitants, or indigenes, of a particular place against supposedly later settlers. These conflicts may be growing deadlier and more numerous with time.
  • State and local governments have free rein to pick who is an indigene. Abuse of the label can foster deep socio-economic inequalities, given that indigenes enjoy preferential access to land, schools, development spending, and public jobs. These inequalities feed into violence, although righting inequality may not be sufficient to end violence in every case.
  • The indigene-settler distinction is also explosive because it reinforces and is reinforced by other identity-based divides (ethnicity, religion) in Nigeria. These differences in ethnicity, language, religion, and culture can be longstanding and deeply felt, but how they factor into violence is again not well understood.
  • Poor law enforcement responses also help entrench violence between indigenes and settlers. Official complicity and indifference make prosecutions rare. Destructive conduct by the Nigerian security forces itself often becomes a structural cause of violence.
  • Serious thought about how to prevent or resolve indigene-settler violence has barely started in Nigeria. Addressing inequality between indigenes and settlers calls for serious, microlevel analysis of local economic dysfunctions and opportunities, along with real official commitment to make and enforce better policies.
  • More holistic understandings of justice are also needed. The worst hot spots will need a wide menu of well-planned interventions. Options include securitization, criminal prosecution, mediation and dialogue, truth commissions, victim compensation programs, public health and trauma assistance, public institutional reforms, education, and communications work. In some cases, building sustainable peace could take a generation or more.

I find the report rich in detail, yet concise enough — at less than 20 pages — not to be boring, but readable in one sitting. It balances theoretical arguments with factual analysis derived from interviews and discussions with key stakeholders. Some points I found to be highly significant and worth highlighting include:

  • The report underscores the role of identity in indigene-settler violence which tends to be downplayed especially by foreign analysts who prefer instead to focus on structural factors such as economic inequality and poverty as drivers of conflict. Though the study acknowledges the link between inequality and violence, I find it quite dismissive of the major role played by these socio-economic factors of poverty, inequality and access to economic opportunities and resources, as drivers of indigene-settler violence, especially as more prosperous and urbanized people in bigger cities are less likely to engage in identity-based communal conflict.

  • The report reflects on the need to devise concrete measures and policies to engage Nigeria’s massive, fast-growing, young population, with measures such as attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), ensuring ordinary Nigerians have access to loans and credit financing and overdue federalist reforms that would push “more resources away from Abuja and down to the states”. Importantly, it highlights the major retrogressive role of discriminatory attitudes and practices of socio-economic exclusion based on indigene-settler dichotomy on economic growth and development, and how this needs to be addressed if parts of the country where this discrimination is prevalent are to reap socio-economic dividends.

  • It notes government’s (at different levels) tendency to respond to outbreaks of serious violence with ad-hoc measures rather than long-term and sustainable ones, such as launching numerous ad hoc judicial commissions of inquiry with no enforcement powers and with their findings seldom published, adopted, or acted on. For instance at least sixteen commissions have examined violence in Jos alone. Similarly, the ad-hoc security-based approaches to violence such as presidential declarations of emergency, augmenting local police presence with military task forces or ad hoc disarmament exercises which lead to few results, sometimes further entrench conflict and add to the human toll.

  • Some pragmatic recommendations listed include: “…overlooked change agents, such as local peace and security committees or female religious groups, should be engaged more creatively”; community policing which has been relatively successful in Lagos; establishing truth commissions which have been successful in Rwanda, can heal the psychological trauma and scarring of communities which have experienced such violence, and institutional reforms of the security forces. Though the study also recommends civil society engagement in involving grassroots stakeholders’ participation to make peace settlement negotiations more sustainable, it doesn’t  actually state how such grassroots involvement is to be attained especially as it further (dis)regards such CSOs as donor driven and lacking genuine constituencies.

Importantly, the report underscores the need for “serious thinking about how to prevent or resolve Nigeria’s indigene-settler violence…” which “…has barely started.” It adds “…as often in the country, existing analyses are stronger on problems than on solutions.” Clearly, this critical point provides an insight into our approach to other pressing national issues as well; there is a tendency to (over) analyse problems, with exceptional clarity but with little solutions proferred in the public sphere.

We need to “re-think” , re-evaluate and re-assess how we approach our numerous challenges in Nigeria, from new perspectives. In many cases, this would entail engaging in micro-analyses at sub-national levels and proffering solutions no matter how ambitious, idealistic or quixotic they might initially appear. We need to get conversations started on possible solutions so that they would be discussed, debated, fine-tuned and ultimately accepted and implemented.

Effective and sustainable solutions to Nigeria’s numerous problems, especially the recurring and tragic outbreaks of violence, can only come from Nigerians themselves. Much as such fine reports by USIP or other think-tanks conduct excellent analyses and recommend pragmatic solutions, it is when we Nigerians profer, discuss and debate solutions that we can accept them and work with them.

RELATED POSTS:

“‘What is Boko Haram?’ ~ A Report By BBC’s Andrew Walker for USIP” June 6, 2012

“Cannibalization of Muslims in Jos, Where is our Humanity” February 4, 2012

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29 thoughts on ““Re-thinking Nigeria’s Indigene-Settler Conflicts” ~ A Report by USIP

  1. nice one zee, is the govt that need to re-think and re-evaluate. As in jos from the escalation of crisis in 2001,several peace working comitee was established which at long run, the submited a recomendations but at last, it was not been implemented bt rather trash to dust bin

  2. Pingback: “Re-thinking Nigeria’s Indigene-Settler Conflicts” ~ A Report by USIP | Danjauro3321's Blog

  3. Having read both the original piece and your summary,I came to the conclusion that,’if only wishes were horses’. The little I have to contribute? Well,just like in many regions of the world,the indigene-settlers malady in Nigeria is an old age quandary. The discrimination between the aboriginal people and the migrant fellows even in antediluvian dynasty and prehistoric colonies authenticate to this assertion. However,contrary to the pristine period when the issue was not much of a headache,the manipulations associated with it this contemporary time has given it a new dimension due to individual and group gains. This was not the case in the distant pass when highly multifarious or hybridized people and culture, sparkled from the blending of autochthonous and migrant groups, were been produced. The most recurrent communal clashes that have dogged the Nigerian indigenous sphere is purely due to lack of well-defined constitutional provisions. The general accepted cause of the conflict however,especially amongst the lower class,was the blurring of the hitherto clearly boundaries and crossing over of such by people believed to be refugees from the crumbling society who are trying to assert their rights to the land in more than century of residence which the acclaimed owners refused to accept. But for me,many causes could have given rise to such conflict. This could include pressure of the land due to pattern of migration,competition for economic and political power,religion which people now use as a platform in pursuing economic and political interest/advantage and lack of individual’s identification of their social group making them firmed to their ethnic groups. The law on citizenship has not help matters especially section 147 of the 1999 constitution which insist that ministerial appointment be based on indigene but without clear definition of state indigene. The real live-wire that has netted and energised all these problems together is illiteracy, supported by the harsh global economic condition caused by the unfair economic relations of the exploitation among regions of the country. The solutions should be that difficult to outlined. However,collusion of interests has hindered the implementation of such figured suggestions. One of which is PEACE education. Even though educating Nigerians on certain issues can be sine qua non,peace education is almost inevitable if communal clashes is to be avoided. People must be made to understand the importance of living together,much as interacting sociologically with various backgrounds for positive prosperity. The issue of national integration must be taken into cognisance while discrimination on the grounds of place of origin,sex,religion,status,ethnic or linguistic association or ties should be prohibited. Constitutional amendments involving reviewing of the indigene status is something we shouldn’t trow to the bye line. Generally,the government must engage the populace through various channels,vis-a-vis,empowering the youths,eradicating poverty,fair economic considerations and tactful handling of sudden conflicts. Sincere and honest leaders we must pray to have,those that will allow personal,ethnic and religious interests to blind them when it comes to implementing national,state and local policies. May God help us all and open our eyes to the present day realities. Don’t know how much to thank you again Zainab,as usual,great effort,very insightful and resourceful summary. God bless.

  4. Let’s have a discussion about Indigene-Settler rights, but lets not forget the rights of Non-Muslims under “political Sharia”. Let’s not forget how difficult it is for Christians to obtain planning permission to construct Churches in Nigeria’s far North.

    I can imagine us convening a conference on the “rights of Indigenes and Settlers”, the representative of CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) will simply ask about “the rights of Non-Muslims under state sanctioned political Sharia”. He will provide documented evidence of exclusion based on religious bias, massive arguments will ensue and the entire conference will be scuttled.

    The same people who advocate a form of exclusion (no matter how mild it seems to their imagination) based on religion, do not and cannot have the moral right to insist that “settlers” be treated the same way as “indigenes”.

    Nigeria is a work in progress and we all have to make compromises to make it work. If we refuse to see the total picture: i.e. that exclusion can be more than ethnic, it can also be religiously based and that these two variants of exclusion need to be tackled at the same time, we aren’t going to make progress.

    I know people are going to accuse me of several things – bigotry, bias etc, but this is how things stand, and to ignore all this is the very definition of delusion.

    I’ve put this out in the open so hopefully, the more objective people among us can ponder deeply on what I just wrote. I am ready for the entirely predictable insults.

  5. How do you resolve the intolerance of the Northern Muslims to everything that doesn’t agree with their religion ? Honestly speaking, that means everything.

    In the South West, we have 2 religions co habitting together in equal measures. No stress whatsoever until the Northerners came and shattered the peace briefly some years ago. We try to ignore them and achieved some success because of sheer volume. What would happen when they move in droves ?

    This topic is a no brainer, allow every part of the country to be productive and prosperous, then people won’t feel the need to associate with any particular part of the country forcefully.

    The Yorubas settled everywhere in the West, they still go back to their ancestral homes in almost every case. The Hausa Fulani shouldn’t be different.

    Call me whatever names, but Nigerians are really not a PEOPLE. We are so many nations. Unfortunately, some of the people can’t be as tolerant as others. Its in their DNA.

    • Thanks for pointing this out, the thing about Muslims from the far North is they seem to lack the capacity to understand how bigoted they can be at times.

      In 1999, an extra layer of exclusion was added via the adoption of political Sharia. Of course, this was enthusiastically adopted by the masses.

      The best argument for political Sharia is that Christians would “live separate but equal” lives under it. They forget the lessons of history: “separate but equal” systems exclude. It doesn’t matter we are talking about Christians under Ottoman rule or Blacks in the pre-Civil Rights era in the American South.

      These are the same people demanding “full inclusion” in Plateau state.

      Having said that, this problem still needs to be dealt with holistically and we need to understand its roots and ask pertinent questions.

      IBB triggered off the crisis by creating the Jos North LGA. He was smart enough to know that there were mine fields ahead. I cannot discern his intentions, but I suspect they were malicious.

      But we need ask ourselves questions about the behaviour of Hausa-Fulani when they settle in large numbers. Are they the only settler population in Nigeria? Why do they keep on having violent clashes with the “indigenes”.

      There are so many examples, Sagamu in the South-West, clashes with the Tiv and only a few days ago, 2 teenagers were killed by Fulani herdsmen in Enugu state (who of course, fled).

      Then a foreign “expert” presents a cliche ridden, peripheral account of Nigeria’s settler/indigene problems. Kano’s Sabon-Gari, the most potent physical and psychological symbol of exclusion in West Africa is somehow glanced over.

      We all know that some Igbo and Yoruba families have lived in Kano for close to 100 years. We also know that most have barely left Sabon-Gari since then and the preferred way out is conversion to Islam and the abandonment of one’s culture.

      Every keen student of Nigeria’s history knows that since 1953 in Kano, mobs of brain-washed religious fanatics have been unleashed periodically on hapless “settlers”, to maim them, kill them and destroy their property. (This of course, couldn’t have of occurred without the tacit endorsement or at least acquiescence of both the local population and the local leadership).

      So fellow Nigerians, let us discuss exclusion holistically. If we maintain that religious exclusion is somehow superior to ethnic exclusion because it is “Divinely ordained” – just know that we a have big log in our eyes and we lose legitimacy.

      And that exactly is happening, the rest of Nigeria yawns when the Hausa-Fulani complain about “exclusion”, because they are masters of that art.

      (The aim of my write-up is not to please us but to provoke us to think deep and hard).

      • Chavuka (or is it Maduka):

        You raised the issue of (Political) Sharia and the exclusion of non-Muslims in far Northern states. Its a valid point and it is quite problematic in many respects. However, Sharia APPLIES ONLY TO MUSLIMS. In many states in the North, e.g. Kaduna, there are many areas that are Shariah-free zones. There is no compulsion on religion or shariah to non-Muslims.

        When it comes to the judicial system for instance, Shariah courts have existed side by side with High courts and Customary courts right from independence. This is something you don’t find in the South. Shariah courts are there to cater for the needs of Muslims ONLY on issues such as marriages, divorces, inheritance and estates of the deceased because there are detailed specific islamic prescriptions for these. For the non-Muslims in these areas, Customary courts cater to such similar needs of theirs. Please go and do some research on this and find out.

        That said, I do agree that there is discrimination and exclusion under the guise of “POLITICAL SHARIAH”. Notice I used the word “political” as a qualifier. This is because this movement of the post 1999 era championed by some northern state governors is more of a populist move (than substance) by these Young Turks (those governors) trying to hold their own in a “new” democratic era. There has always been some form of Shariah in the North, but this post-1999 movement was more political and populist than substance, and in typical Nigerian fashion used as a cover in appropriating or expropriating resources – in this case discrimination and exclusion — by the political elite.

        HOWEVER, discrimination and exclusion is not exclusive to the northern states or to the North. It is very widespread in the southern states and in the South.

        Infact, many Northerners who have lived in the South recount tales of outright hostility and unhidden “hatred” against them, even in federal institutions and places of work. It is difficult for an ordinary northerner to just migrate to the south as southerners have done. How many northerners are enrolled in southern universities and institutions of higher learning compared to what obtains in the north? How many northern academics can you find in southern universities, when you can find a number of southerners in northern universities? Northerners are made to feel very unwelcome. It is not a northern, southern or “shariah” thing, it is a Nigerian phenomenon.

        Discrimination on the basis of religion, ethnicity or both is widely pervasive ALL OVER Nigeria. That’s why you find fewer proportion of northerners living in the South, compared to southerners living in the North. The general idea is “go to the South at your own peril”. Many choose not to.

        Ask yourself Chavuka, if the Igbos didn’t feel welcome or safe or secure in the North, would they have returned to establish more businesses after all that happened with Biafra? (P.S. this isnt meant to be offensive, and if it does, I apologise but its just to emphasize on a point). No matter how enterprising and adventurous a person is, and in this case the Igbos, they would NOT risk their lives unnecessarily after the experience of the Civil War, if they didn’t feel secure or welcome in the North.

        The northern states have never carried out any execution on the basis of conversion FROM Islam. You are muddling up the issues here. Indigene/Settler dichotomy is something entirely different.

        We need to stop this sort of selective reasoning or selective amnesia.

        And people like you need to stop relying on rumours and hearsay.

      • Seriously guys, this is one problem with this country, too much complicated English from the people who should know and who should make the efforts to communicate to the guys lower down the line. Do we really think more than 1m Nigerians understand all we’ve said ? I don’t think so.

        Lets keep it simple and not go off the discuss. Settlers shouldn’t have indigene rights in Nigeria until Nigeria can boast of 100m educated people spread across all regions. Untill Nigerians can stop stealing public money. Until Nigerians can move around the country without having their limbs blown off or cut off for stealing tomatoes.

        How do you indigenise people who are gonna try implement sharia the moment they have the numbers.

        Lets get real.

      • Chavuka, you said:

        “We all know that some Igbo and Yoruba families have lived in Kano for close to 100 years. We also know that most have barely left Sabon-Gari since then and the preferred way out is conversion to Islam and the abandonment of one’s culture.”

        That is just a misnomer. All over the world, foreigners, migrants, minorities etc congregate in hubs. Its not a northern Nigeria phenomenon, its a global phenomenon. Hence you have Brixton, Peckham and Tottenham in London for instance where you find mostly Afro-Carribean minority communities. Infact with Peckham, you’d think you’re in Lagos or Jamaica and not London. Others are Newtown in Birmingham where its mostly the Somali community, Harlem in New York, Madou in Brussels, and so many others. These days, most global cities have a China town. Its common knowledge that when you apply for a job in the UK, your postcode (the area you live, whether its a poorer neighbourhood with lots of minorities) SOMETIMES determines whether you are called for an interview or not or whether you get the job.

        Of course with increased prosperity, the upper middle class minorities eventually move away from these neighbourhoods as they become wealthier, more “cosmopolitan” and “urbane”.

        THIS IS JUST A NATURAL HUMAN TENDENCY FOR PEOPLE TO ASSOCIATE WITH THEIR KIND especially when you move to a foreign city as a foreigner, immigrant, minority or settler. In the South East and South West of Nigeria you have Hausa quarters and Hausa neighbourhoods of northerners just as you have Sabon Garis in the North. Let’s not conveniently ignore what happens in other parts of Nigeria in an attempt to paint ONLY a certain section of the country black.

        …again you need to rid yourself of your penchance for reliance on rumours and hearsay and find out that it is certainly NOT ONLY the Haua-Fulani that complain of exclusion as you claim. Go and do some opinion sampling of minorities living in different states.

        This is a Nigerian problem.

      • Zainab,

        I don’t want to engage in a circular argument, but I need to put across some key points:

        1. As someone who desires to play an active role in Nigeria, I advise you to update your knowledge of Southern Nigeria. The way you write shows you know very little about Southern Nigeria and you resort to hearsay and stereotypes to support your points.

        2. Igbos go wherever they find business opportunities, they may not necessarily be treated well (as the experience in Kano shows), but economic gain over shadows risk – this is why Igbos could be seen in war torn Sierra Leone and Liberia, and they are still there.

        3. Having said, the North is presently a less attractive destination – based on the accumulated effect of decades of hostility. Many taxi drivers in Enugu are former business men who lost everything to irate mobs motivated by religious bigotry and yes, jealousy.

        I attended a thanksgiving service for a vicar who lost all to mobs in Northern Nigeria and was rehabilitated by the local diocese.

        4. You are probably unaware of a massive drift of young men of Northern extraction southwards. They are motivated by better economic opportunities and safety. They are found in Southern cities like Lagos, PH, Asaba and Enugu.

        5. There is a correlation between the introduction of political Sharia, the rise of fundamentalist groups and the relative economic decline of the North. The question one must ask is why Muslims in the North can abide such an intolerant system and Muslims in the South West cannot?

        I’ll leave that to scholars to ponder over.

        6. You emphatically state that “Sharia applies to only Muslims”, but when a system of laws empowers a serving deputy governor to openly advocate a “death fatwa” for young female journalist for “insulting the Prophet”. When a poor young mother is “sentenced to death by stoning for adultery” – only to be rescued by the Italian government, when young men are amputated for “stealing cows” – don’t expect me to be silent.

      • Chavuka,
        Posterity will surely judge us if we fail to be all inclusive critiques by either intentionally exonerating certain part of the country or presenting amnesia suffered evidences. Yes,Igbos are business bound and can be found wherever they sensed potentials,and the north is less attractive economically at present. These are valid points you raised. However, I beg to differ with your logic of risking my life for economic purposes. i’d like to state here that if the Igbos doesn’t feel secured and comfortable,never would they have returned to north after series of politically influenced crisis. No rationally thinking human will dare sacrifice his/her life for economic bounty. You talked of Igbo businessmen losing their all to mobs in the north,but did you ever care to ask the number of northern business class individuals rendered empty by irate thugs and mobs in the south? The hostilities they were subjected to as well? Now,compare the proportion of all classes of life been engaged by southerners in the north to that engaged by northerners in the south. What explanations can you provide for that. You think the northerners doesn’t want to explore the business terrain in the south? They’d rather choose their safety than risk being non existent because the adventure is such a horrific one on account of experiences from those that tried it. I had lived and still living with so many Igbos in my state,and based on the perspective you received and opinion sampling on such topics,you’d get the notion that these people prefer the north to their region. I have no idea where you got your statistics from,but LAGOS aside,and probably IBADAN too,the claim for northerners influx to the south is a false claim. The desperation of a northerner is not apex based,and will resist any temptation to stay locally than jumped to an unfamiliar and dangerous territory where the reception istoo hostile too accommodate. The issue of political sharia been correlated with fundamentalist group and northern decline is an assumption no one will conceive.The hypothesis clearly exposed your shortcomings in respect to political sharia and the fundamentalist group existence and operations. I doesn’t want to go into history for obvious reasons. To answer your question on ‘intolerant system’,let me say here that neither the sharia nor Islam is an intolerant system. As I pointed out earlier,Islam,which harbours the sharia law,promote tolerance and peaceful co-existence among humans, irrespective of religion,race,tribe and belief. The problem with the political sharia however,is that,it doesn’t represent the full defination of true sharia and many wrongs that are rather political and interest based have been done under the guise of sharia. Finally,I guess no one compelled you into choosing your faith and adhering to its principles and laws? Every system functions upon certain principles,Islam isn’t an exception. There is no basis for COMPULSION in islam and every religion,if anyone feels he/she can’t abide by the principles of islamic injunction,he/she should quit and be free. Beside,Islam stated clearly that,know me in details before you come onto me. Sharia is entirely muslim affair,it has nothing to do with non Muslims. I suggest you do more research on sharia(true sharia) for more comprehension on how it operates. I insists,the indigene-settlers problem is a Nigerian one, rather than a secular discourse.

      • “I would go so far as to suggest that the repeated rioting against southern Nigerian Christians in Kano is seen as a way of keeping those “strangers” in their place, reminding them that Kano is not theirs and reasserting the right of Muslim dominance in a Muslim city.”

        Last, M. 2008. “The Search for Security in Muslim Northern Nigeria.” Africa 78 (1): 47.

      • When I was talking about religious exclusion and intolerance, this is what I meant:

        Kano Hisbah Board nabs 20 for refusing to fast: http://dailytimes.com.ng/article/kano-hisbah-board-nabs-20-refusing-fast#.UDfdm62fEQM.twitter

        I cannot abide such a system, no matter what the “Divine” justification is. I know there is widespread support for such a system in Northern Nigeria.

        But before the cancerous contagion of Iran-style religious fascism is allowed to spread south wards, we who love Nigeria must talk about it (in addition to settler/indigene conflicts).

      • Maduka or what ever you call yourself, i am not surprised @ your comments after all your great grand father Major kaduna Nzeogu (who was raised in the north & loved by sardauna) betrayed the north & sardauna & started our problems in Nigeria for clearly selfish & biased reasons, and your grand father Ojukwu (who was also born & raised in the north) tried but failed to compound our problems. How will you not think &write comments like this.

    • blinkingam,

      How does your “no compulsion in religion” square up with hisbah arrests of “gossips”?

      It is what Muslims do, not what Muslims say Islam is, that interests me.

      Having said that, the practice of Islam varies. In the South West, an inclusive, tolerant form of Islam is practiced, while in the North, Islam has been traditionally more rigid and less inclusive/tolerant.

      This was compounded by the 1999 push of political sharia. The behaviour of the hisbah points to its logical conclusion: the founding of a fascist Islamist state in which even “thought crimes” are punished.

      If we don’t nip it in the bud, people like even you will be forced to run down south for safety and freedom of expression.

    • Zainab,

      The reason why there aren’t many educated Northerners in the South is the same reason why you will find a lot of Southerners outside Nigeria, but very few Northerners.

      The uncomfortable truth is that educated Northerners don’t tend to be either adventurous or entrepreneurial – so they look for excuses to go back to the North.

      For example, from the way you talk, you probably haven’t stayed in Southern Nigeria for an appreciable length of time. You consider yourself educated and exposed, nonetheless.

      All you stories about “Northerners under threat in the South” are unverified rumours and hearsay. Ask yourself, how many Northerners have been beheaded or had their head paraded on a stick because they “defaced the Holy Bible”.

      You find many Southerners in the North for the same reason you find Southerners in Atlanta, Japan, South Africa, London, Russia etc – they are hardworking and ready to take risks. Don’t blame Southerners for your risk aversion.

      It might interest you to note that there is a massive influx of less educated Northerners to the South. They are more open-minded and more open to risks than you “educated Northerners” that think your education entitles you to an easy life free from threat or risks.

      P.S: Thousands of Igbos fled the North in January, so THEY CLEARLY DON’T FEEL SECURE. As an Igbo man, let me tell you that Igbos don’t only do business where they feel secure. They do business where they can. They are Africa’s biggest risk takers.

  6. There you are again! Each Religious divide can claim injustices meted to it by the proponents of the other depending on which divide you belong to. These may be true or false and the argument will continue indefinitely. Why is it that such claims are happening only in Nigeria. Unless you want to be myopic the root causes of our problems are not based on Christian-Muslim dichotomy rather they are based on social and developmental failures. For centuries Muslims and Christians have co-existed without rancour, why then the story is different now? I believe lack of respect for the religious and cultural values of one another plus the moral and leadership failure among our Leadership who stop at nothing to loot the Government treasuries for self -aggrandizement to the detriment of the overall economic development of the people bread all kind of reactions that manifest in all forms of social and religious colourations. If you want these problems to give way be honest enough to vote only for God-fearing people with unquestionable/unfettered character to lead us in all tiers of governance without religious,tribal,sectional and other prejudice.

  7. In as much as I hate to respond to one dimensional views,I find this compelling,if not inevitable. Did I heard someone said ‘Northern Muslims not been tolerant to what does not agree with their religion’? That’s laughable on the bases of deep realistic pictures. Let me start by outlining some established facts. Just as there are many who call themselves Muslims,but do not live in accordance with the teachings of the religion in all ramifications,its safe to say also,many who call themselves Christians do not live according to the teachings of the Christ. Having set this preamble,the harsh reality is that many a times,governments,groups,or individuals use religion primarily as a pretext for carrying out their political,economic,and cultural agendas. Horrifying examples abound all over the world. I wish to state categorically that,Islam as a religion,clearly defines how to live with one another irrespective of religion,race,tribe,and whatever sort of differences that exist without even rendering an offensive word. Intolerance and religiosity are jointly determined by in-group or out-group polarisation resulting from competition and conflict for scarce resources. Its evident and important to note here that,religiosity is merely a carrier of group identity and is not excepted to bear the direction of intolerance related to ethnicity or culture.. No doubt,frictions may exist,and which can be dangerously fatal,but the fundamentals are what I’m taking into account. As stated emphatically by Islam and Christianity,we all are one family under different beliefs. The bible said ” there is actually to us one God the father,out of whom all things are” (1 Corinthians 8:6). Further,it says “He made out of one man every nation of men” (acts 17:26). The Qur’an said ” O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female,and made you into nations and tribes,that ye may know each other,(not yet may despise each other)………….”. Now its very clear where the problem lies right? Let me switch to the more complex and intriguing factor,the ethno-political one. Ethnic intolerance varies in identity and seriousness. From offensive and thoughtless acts/remrks to efforts to exterminate an ethnic,religious or political groups as a national policy. In such instances,opportunistic religious clerics,traditional leaders,and political big wigs explore such chances to their interests manisfrsted by the various divisions we are now suffering from. The high level of illiteracy amongst many of such troubled areas inhabitants left them with no reason but accept whatever is brought to them as factual,beneficial and right. Even the little literate onse are been brain-washed to believing and accepting the false ideologies of such high placed opportunists.That led us to the roots causes right? Socio-economic deficiencies and abuse of laws.. But before I deviate,let me clear an issue here. Just as Wale rightly outlined,the south-west consist largely of Muslims and Christians living together peacefully. For me that’s a simple logic to conceive,they’re all of thesame tribe,traditional beliefs and within thesame ancestral cocoon. That justified my earlier assertion that religion isn’t our major problem,in as much as it has its own contributions too. To the issue of sharia law and living separately but equally within the sharia law practising states/region. One thing I have to say here is that,none,I mean no any state or region in Nigeria has ever and or is practising well defined sharia law. Even in Zamfara and it likes where they once tried a peripheral,skirmish,and politically moved sharia law,I for once never heard any case of abuse or inequality rendered to any believer of different faith. The issue of Hausa-fulani being always at the Center of indigenes-settlers conflict is for me easy to answer. Everyone knows the nature of the fulani rearers interms of migration and settlement. But that doesn’t mean they are the only instances. The tiv-jukun,basa-ebira,chamba-kileb,modakeke-ife,ijaw-ibibios and many others do exist as well. But my worry is how to avoid all these rather than dwelling on its nature or provincials. Hence,the following questions,does government have a well defined policy or constitutional provisions to curtail the ever dominate claim by the settlers and a clear definition of state indigene?Does government have policies in place that will restrict or limit such migrations? Are the laws that prohibit discriminations of all sort been properly implemented? What are the rights of the minorities scattered all over the country? Who are indigenes,settlers,minorities and majorities within the context of Nigeria’s constitutional provisions? Are laws been adhered to and whoever abuse it punished,irrespective of class,position,tribe and religion? These are some of the questions our governments need to provide answers to. I would want to believe that no one is a bigot here but deep thinking Nigerians passionately trying to render solutions to Nigeria’s various peculiar and persistent troubles. Please let’s debate on mutual understanding,general context of Nigeria and not sectional inorder to have achieve effective resolves and mandates. Generally,I want us to beckon the primordial approach assertion which pointed the existence of ‘ancient hatred’ among ethnic and cultural groups. The urge to define and reject others goes back to our remotest human ancestors and indeed beyond them to our animal predecessors. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change and have to continue with the trend. If human bias tendencies,ethnic conflicts and conflict potential ethnicity can be nationally and rationally resolved, albeit answering the above raised questions,I believe a new circle of peaceful co-existence among whatever kind of complex tribes in Nigeria can be established. May God guide us all.

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  9. & to you zainab as much as i will like to commend you for your various articles & sharing of some reports on your facebk, i hate some responses on this articles which is why i must ask you this question, must you write on such topics that divides Nigeria? If anybody does’nt want peace & development to rain in his domain must you give the insignificant non-entities the opportunity to abuse the north? Please stop writing on such topics. Don Allah stop cos is really pissing me off

  10. Pingback: “Re-thinking Nigeria’s Indigene-Settler Conflicts” ~ A Report by USIP « magarya

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