Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cleavages and conflict

When ethnic and economic cleavages coincide, theory says the divisions are strengthened. What happens then, if population growth and climate change dissolve the geographic cleavages that kept those groups apart?

Nomad-Farmer Clashes Increase as Pasture Shrinks
Amid deadly clashes with farmers and expulsion orders by state authorities, thousands of nomadic herders in Nigeria do not know where to turn.

The latest clashes, in Plateau state state on 6 and 7 June, started with the alleged killing of an ethnic Chala woman by some Fulani nomads in a dispute over her farmland... family members of the slain woman killed two Fulani pastoralists in a reprisal attack...

A local expert says effects of climate change are partly to blame for the disputes. Northern nomadic communities are increasingly moving southwards as climate change turns their grazing land into desert...

"Given the volatility of Wase [in Plateau state]... that has witnessed communal unrest and remains a flash point, the arrival of the migrants became a matter of security concern to the immediate communities, traditional rulers and the local government council," said Plateau information commissioner Yenlong. "Our action is based on security considerations and not on ethnic or sectarian motives."

Ethno-religious clashes in the town of Jos, in northern Plateau, in November 2008 claimed hundreds of lives...

Politics is polarized along ethnic and religious lines in Plateau state, partly because of the way Nigerian politics defines local rights by whether or not residents are indigenous. Many Muslims are not considered indigenous and feel dominated by Christian-dominated party rule, according to Nigeria analysts.

The areas in question are federal grazing reserves, earmarked as international cattle routes since 1956...

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