A One-Day Seminar on various topical issues bordering on the causes of conflicts in Nigeria was held at the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Training School, Abuja Study Centre, on Wednesday, 12th October, 2016, with far-reaching recommendations on ways to control and manage such occurrences.
The seminar was designed and tailored towards addressing the most critical issues bedevilling the Nigerian economy in recent times; hence, the programme was not only timely but also politically expedient in curbing the torrential spring-up of conflicts in various parts of Nigeria.
Organized by NICO Training School, Abuja Study Centre, for Post Graduate Diploma in Cultural Administration (PGDCA) students of the 2015/2016 Academic Session with the support of the Management, the programme had the participants divided into five groups presenting topics as follows:
- The Agitation of Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB)
- Militancy in Nigeria: A Case Study of the Niger Delta Avengers
- Political Intra-Party Conflicts in Nigeria: A Case Study of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Intra-Party Conflict
- Religious Crisis in Nigeria from 1990 to 2016
- Fulani Herdsmen and Farmer’s Menace in Nigeria: A Case Study of Agatu Community in Benue State
The first paper, “The Agitation of Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB)”, presented by the group leader, Mr. Thomas Anongu, x-rayed the origin of MASSOB, as founded on the 13th of September, 1999 by Chief Ralph Uwazurike, an Indian-trained lawyer based in Lagos, stressing that the necessity for a Biafran State stemmed from the perceptions that the Igbos were not accepted in Nigeria, thereby being neglected and marginalized and that the establishment of MASSOB was to protect and defend agitating Igbo communities.
The second paper, entitled, "Militancy in Nigeria: A Case Study of the Niger Delta Avengers", presented by Mrs. Chinye Chibuogwu, also highlighted some of the causes of conflicts in the Niger Delta, including, agitations against colonial subjugation and exploitation, grievances expressed against the perceived domination, and side-lining and marginalization by the dominant ethnic groups, amongst others.
The third paper, entitled, "Political Intra-Party Conflict in Nigeria: A Case Study of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Intra-Party Conflict", presented by Mrs. Dominica Toruka, highlighted the various sub-groups fighting to protect and foster their interests and zoning arrangement, positing that the formation of political parties gave rise to intra-party conflicts.
The fourth paper on "Religious Crisis in Nigeria from 1990 to 2016", presented by Mrs. Sherifat Abdulrazaq, highlighted various causes of religious crises, such as, religious fundamentalism, extremism, obstructive and disruptive modes of worship, and disparaging preaching and stereotyping.
According to the paper, the most disturbing was the conspicuous support of ruling governments for particular religious bodies and the misguided utterances by spiritual leaders, which eventually spark up and mount up hatred against each other.
The final presentation on "Fulani Herdsmen and Farmer’s Menace in Nigeria: A Case Study of Agatu Community in Benue State” was presented by Mrs. Ihuoma Nzeaka, where she identified the causes of the conflict, including, absence of developed grazing reserves, lack of policy direction in this regards, and neglect in seeking a lasting solution.
From discussions on the papers presented, the following recommendations were proffered:
- That government agencies, aggrieved communities, agitators, religious bodies and political parties have great role to play in ensuring a long lasting peace in the country;
- That most of the conflicts discussed were attributable to the failure of government in one way or the other; and
- That, agitations by the citizenry should be done with a high sense of loyalty to the country.
In her closing remarks, the Coordinator of NICO Training School, Abuja Study Centre, Dr. Mrs. Regina Onuoha, expressed gratitude to the guest examiner, Air Commodore Ayodele Dudusola of the Nigerian Air Force, for his presence; the lecturer for Peace and Conflict Studies, Mr. Akanle Oyewole; and the Assistant Lecturer, Mrs. Sandra Kingsley-Omogiade for their efforts.
She also acknowledged the Management of NICO for their immense support, especially the Executive Secretary, Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma and the wonderful students of 2015/2016 Academic Session, for their hard work, dedication and commitment to their studies.
NICO Training School
Abuja Study Centre