Monday, May 30, 2011


Recurring violent conflicts caused by ethnic/religious differences have become a common occurrence in Nigeria since the early 1990s but unfortunately, the solutions that are mostly employed only lead to negative peace, with the root causes never found out and eradicated.

An example is the situation in the city of Jos in the Middle Belt region of the country which got engulfed by ethno-religious crises about a decade ago. The reaction of the government to the outbreak of these violent conflicts has always been to send in troops to stop the fighting. The killings and lootings usually stop after the troops have been stationed in the city thus achieving a situation of negative peace.
But unfortunately, the dangerous forms of structural violence are still prevalent in the society; with discriminations, mismanagement induced poverty, and various forms of social injustice still occurring.
It is usually the continuance of this unresolved structural violence that has always fuelled renewed eruption of fresh violent conflicts in the city.

There is no trust among the various groups and each see the other group as being responsible for its woes. With such a deep mistrust and lack of mutual understanding, any fragile peace enforced by the troops has never served as a lasting solution to the crisis.

There has been a lot of peace building initiatives, especially by religious organizations from both sides of the divide, but it is has mostly been in form of stopping the violence after it has erupted and offering relief assistance to victims. There has not been a directed effort to reflect on the root causes of the conflict and find ways to get the various groups to initiate a trust-building and healing process that could foster peaceful coexistence among the people.

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This work by Ibrahim K. Oyekanmi ( is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.