The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of communal violence on the socio-economic development on Oduoha community in Emohua Local Government Area from 2010 – 2020. In Nigeria, there have been incessant cases of communal violence in recent time. It has become a recurrent decimal in the quest for national integration and unity. Communal violence have constituted serious security challenge in the country. There is no part of the country that is spared from its ugly deficiencies. The study employed the use of survey design to obtain the relevant information. 250 respondents were systematically selected from the study area and questionnaire was used as a tool for collecting data. The findings revealed that there has been a frequent occurrence of communal violence in the area which have adversely affected its development. The study concludes that communal violence have resulted into enmity and hatred between the people who have lived together in peace for years in the area. The resultant consequences of the above were the gross loss of lives and destruction of millions of Naira worth of properties which had adversely affected the activities in the area. It therefore recommends among others that efforts should be geared towards peaceful co-existence in the area by all stakeholders if sustainable development is to be achieved and national security guaranteed.
1.1 Background of the study
Most developing countries are ethnically diverse. For many years, social sciences preferred to ignore the brute fact of ethnic identity. More recently, evidence is accumulating that is detrimental to economic performance. Journalistic accounts of wars in Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and several other countries of sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s have raised concern that ethnic cleavages and overlapping affiliations of religion and race may undermine prospects for economic and political development in much of Africa (Kamla-Ra, 2006). This perception is fostered both by some graphic individual scenes of inter-ethnic violence, and by an aggregate correlation: Africa has not only the highest ethnic diversity, but also the highest incidence of communal violence.
Nigeria regained her full socio-economic and political freedom from the British on 1st October, 1960. This was the consequence of the decolonization process of the post-world war II, which has been thoroughly interrogated and needs no repeating here. Suffice to say this however; that regardless of the festivities that accompanied this historic development however, independence came with a lot of challenges for the emerging Nigeria nation. For instance, Nigeria since independence inherited a socio-economic and political structure, a defective and unbalanced federated unit, an intensification of ethno-religion consciousness and rivalries, a subverted indigenous ethos of government and culture and above all our inexperience leadership therefore compounded a lot of inter-ethnic crisis that engulfed our nation today precisely the Rivers State which is the area of focus.
This unholy relation claimed a lot of lives and properties destroyed in the area. Not only that the displaced people face a lot of hardship therefore, cripple socio-economic and political activities in the area. Most of the apparatuses of the state could not meet or support the aspiration of the emergent nation. From all indications, there was little doubt that independent Nigeria was, despite the euphoria that greeted her birth, headed for a turbulent and crisis – ridden future. All these contradictions seriously affected the nature and character of interethnic relations in the country. For example, they were fundamentally to the issues that led to the Nigeria civil war 1967 – 1970. Similarly, they are critical variables in the phenomenal upsurge in communal crisis, religious wrangling, the clamor for resource control and insurgency related communal violence in different parts of the country today. Others include socio – economic and political crisis among others were the major causes of inter – ethnic crisis in the study areas.
With the heterogeneous nature of the country, the tendency of the various nationals is towards parochial consciousness at the expense of national consciousness. A far reaching and in-depth survey of Nigeria public opinion carried out by the International Foundation for Elections Systems-IFES on behalf of United States Agency for International Development-USAID in 2000 found out that ethnicity is the strongest type of identity among Nigerians. Almost half of all Nigerians (48.2%) choose to tag themselves with an “ethnic” identity. (Osinubi, 2006).
Communal violence in Nigeria and Africa in general arise as a result of scarcity of political resources, multi-culturalism, religion, militarization of ethnicity among others. These conflicts cannot be ignored. It is therefore patently clear that realistic measures to solve these problems are needed. It is against this background that, this paper is set to examines, the nature and the main contending issues that always lead to the crisis in Rivers State precisely, the Emohua Local Government Area of the State. The paper therefore shows that the contradictions which flow from these crises are critical variables in the unbalance between different sections in the State.
This study, therefore, aimed at examining the influence of communal violence on national security using Oduoha community in Emohua Local Government Area, Rivers State as a case study. It also examines the effects of communal violence on the country’s search for unity and identifies the possible issues for resolution.
In the final analysis, the paper will profound or make recommendations which will go a very long way to ameliorate the major challenges of inter-ethnic crisis in the State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In the world over, conflict is perceived as something abnormal, dysfunctional and therefore detestable, yet indispensable. For the aftermath has often been trailed by circle violence with attendant loss of lives, wanton destruction of property, infrastructural damage, maiming, population displacement, and have been communal violence induced by ethnic-religious factors. Beginning mainly from 1960’s, these phenomena has become hydra-headed monster which has threatened the fundamental basis of global peaceful co-existence, with great doubt to have effects on people for a long time across all sections.
Many states in Nigeria, especially in the northern axis have had their own share of conflict, most recent are the ones unleashed on innocent citizens by fundamentalist Islamic sects like the Maitatsine, Sara-suka, Kalakato, and Boko Haram etc (PIDAN, 2010). For over a decade the once uniquely calm and peaceful people of Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria has continued to witness seemingly unabated spate of violent conflict. Although conflict situations are not peculiar to the people of Emohua Local Government Area it has tended to linger in some communities in Emohua Local Government Area with very intriguing implications. For instance of late, the communal violence in and around Emohua Local Government Area have graduated from localized dispute to scenarios of more extreme and unacceptable dimensions.
It has been noticed that Nigeria, Rivers State, the study area in particular was made of a conglomeration of antagonistic ethnic confederacies whose association with one another are entirely artificial, accidental and recently the product of colonial rule. However, the conflicting issues in respect to land as a factor of production, settlers and indigene dichotomy, who to govern, the crisis between the herdsmen and the farmers form the basis problem of this research work because they had serious implications on the history of inter-groups relation among the people. What also prompted me to venture into this research was the complexities and dimensions of the expression of ethnic nationalism in the study area-which also poses serious threats to national stability. All these are therefore some of the contending issues, this study intends to investigate and profound solution to it.
One of the greatest challenges confronting the contemporary Emohua Local Government Area is the endemic conflict that engulfed the once peaceful area and why the conflict has been dragging for too long. There is now a widespread sense of loss and insecurity within the area because of the ethnic, religious divide and a deep sense of animosity between different people in the study area.
1.3 Research Questions
The following questions were set to guide the study;
- What is the nature/extent of communal violence in Oduoha community in Emohua Local Government Area?
- What are the inherent causes of communal violence in Oduoha community in Emohua Local Government Area?
3. What are the effects of communal violence on national security?
4. What are the possible ways to resolve these conflicts in Oduoha community in Emohua Local Government Area?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The aim of this research is to examine the impact of communal violence on the socio-economic development on Oduoha community in Emohua Local Government Area.
Among the specific objectives include the following:
- To analyze the nature/extent of communal violence in Oduoha community in Emohua Local Government Area.
- To identify the cause of communal violence in Oduoha community in Emohua Local Government Area.
3. To identify the problems associated with communal violence on National Security.
4. To explore, suggest and specify ways of addressing the problem of continued crisis in Oduoha community in Emohua Local Government Area.
Hypothesis is stated in null form, the research is dependent on the following assumption:
- There is no significant relationship between communal violence and national security
1.6 Signification of the Study
- The study will identify and will bring out the major challenges or problems in the area.
- Another significance of this study is that, it is coming out at the time Nigerians needs to re-examine themselves together, learn how to live together, arising from the crisis that nearly set the State apart and nation at large. iii. The study is also significance in the sense that, it helps in reconstructing our approach to the concept of national building and citizenship.
- The study will also expand our knowledge of Nigerians ethnic complexity and will promote common national understanding and cultural integration of its diverse ethnic nationalities.
- The work if accomplished will continue to remain in the library for others to consult and to see the nature and character of inter-ethnic relations that existed among the various ethnic groups in the area.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study is basically on the Communal violence and socioeconomic development of Oduoha community in Emohua local government area of Rivers State. The study was within the timeframe of 10 years, from 2010 – 2020. The study will focus on the activities of relations between the ethnic nationalities that inhabited the areas with the view to analyze the major factors that banded them together as well as the major challenges that displaced them.[email protected].[email protected].