Ethnic/ Religious Insurgencies and Nation-Building in Nigeria

Monday, July 14, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: 424
Oral Presentation
Matthew EGHAREVBA , Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria., Ota, Nigeria
Oluremi ABIMBOLA , Sociology, Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria
Barnabas SULEIMAN , Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria., Ota, Nigeria
Over the last decade, the activities of ethnic/religious insurgencies have permeated the Nigerian nation, bringing into question the essence of survival of the Nigeria project. This ranges from the activities of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, the indigene/settler crisis in many states, and the Boko Haram saga in the North-East region. Several factors ranging from economic, political and cultural marginalization, widening social inequalities, lack of basic infrastructure and exclusion have been cited as reasons for these insurgencies in order to attract attention from the national government and the international world, it is the contention of this paper that employing tactics of violence and killings against innocent individuals, communities and armed conflict with the state creates  more long-term devastating consequences than the short–term goal of attracting attention to whatever genuine demands any group may hold. The paper further argued that insurgency creates conditions where the most vulnerable particularly women and children are more at risk of hunger, malnutrition related illnesses and death. Furthermore, countries in conflict suffer disruptions in livelihoods, infrastructure, schools, markets, assets, nutrition, health and loss of resources required for food production and distribution. The end result is that instead of the nation building sustainable development, the perpetration of conflict and violence causes the country to suffer long-lasting losses, including losses to food production. The paper concludes with the recommendation that employing constructive non-violent dialogue and demanding accountability from the leadership in all spheres of life and authority without recourse to employing parochial ethnic and religious sentiments would go a long way in getting answers to the people’s socioeconomic grievances so we can all galvanize our collective drive, energies and resources in generating more secure livelihoods for the population currently mired in poverty, hunger and insecurity.