Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, November 03, 2017

Cleavages and conflict in the Middle Belt

It's easy to divide Nigeria into three regions: north, south, and east. The cleavages seem clear and the political competition obvious.

But along the edges of those regions things are not so clear cut. The "Middle Belt" is a large area that extends east to west across the central part of the country. Many smaller ethnic groups (remember Nigeria has over 400 identified ethnic groups) find themselves in direct contact (and competition) with each other. When the differences across the cleavage divides are greatest, conflict often results.

Clashes Between Herders, Farmers Claim 2,500 in 1-Yr - Abdulsalami
Violent clashes between farmers and herders have claimed over 2500 lives in four states of Kaduna, Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa within one year, former head of state General Abdulsalami Abubakar has said.

Speaking at a one-day forum on farmers, herders clash organised by the Search for Common Ground [an American NGO] in his farm yesterday in Minna, the former head of state also said over 62, 000 people were displaced, while the country lost $13.7 billion to the clashes…

"With respect to economic impact, the federal government lost $13.7 billion annually as a result of farmer/herder conflicts in Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau states," he said, adding, "It has been estimated that about 2,500 persons were killed nationwide in 2016."…

He said there was a breakdown of communal conflict resolution mechanisms and the conflicts had become deadly.

He said the widespread conflicts were wake up calls to all "relevant stakeholders, states and federal government, legislatures, traditional rulers, civil society organizations, security agencies and communities on the need to address the deadly conflicts which he said were expanding gradually to other states in the federation.

"The current situation is threatening the fragile peace of the nation," he asserted…

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