CONFLICT DYNAMICS BETWEEN RURAL AND URBAN COMMUNITIES IN THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY
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1.1 Background to the study
Rural communities may be defined as areas that may be outside city centers and cities. They are mainly characterized by large farms, an agricultural activity or large plots of land that remain unused without much development activity. On the other hand, an urban community is an area marked by developed city centers and sometimes these cities have developed into cities. In most cases, these cities were once rural areas that, thanks to technological advances, industrialization and urbanization have become what they are now. It goes without saying that urban and rural centers have something in common to interact with. In an attempt to develop in urban areas, rural areas need to borrow some development advice from urban centers, while urban centers can not survive without the support of rural areas, for example in terms of agricultural products from: to provide for their needs. In addition, the movement of people, goods and resources from one point to another maintains close links between these two diverse areas (Bodtker and Jameson, 2013, p. 267). Over the years, history has proven that every urban city today has a certain rural origin. It therefore seems temporarily correct to say that this same village is a potential city waiting. However, some particular scenarios would like to prove the opposite, especially in the case where the more developed areas of the same region, nation or state seem to dominate the less developed rather than provide the support needed to achieve a common goal urbanize (Bercovitch, 2011).
Conflict is the major pattern of social interactions (Ukaegbu and Agunwamba, 2015). Ekong (2010) also reiterated that conflict is a form of social interaction in which actors eliminate or weaken the other party to obtain a scarce reward. Conflict simply suggests differences and disagreement, struggle and strife. It is an ever-present process in human relations and an integral part of human’s life. Studies have shown that generally, conflicts share three common characteristics. First, there is a kind of contact or relationship between the parties involved; second, the parties perceive conflicting views; and finally, one of the parties always wants to redress existing contradictions (Vanderlin, 2005; Ekanola, 2014; Deutsh, 2011).
There is no single practical definition of conflict; rather, different views exist on a continuum. While some perceive it as a negative situation which must be avoided at any cost, others see it as an occurrence which could be managed and another category consider it as opportunity that must be exploited to the best advantage. Whatever the position upheld on this continuum of viewpoints on conflict, it is certain that a continual state of conflict is not desirable for any meaningful community and national development (Nebgen, 2008). Rather, conflicts constitute a threat to community peace, stability and development as well as having serious implications for tribal co-existence, especially in a multi-ethnic and multi-tribal nation like Nigeria.
In the North-Central geo-political zone, the herders-farmers incessant conflicts have remained dominant and features in all the states located in the zone. Land remains a scarce resource in this zone, worsened by increasing demand resulting in frequent clashes between the herders and the host communities – most of whom are farmers. Also, rural banditry and cattle rustling are rife in this zone, characterised by armed assaults, rape, kidnapping, organised attacks and reprisals on the villages and communities. In addition, protracted disputes over supremacy and the right to chieftaincy stools are also historically prevalent in this geo-political zone; often degenerating into indigene-settler conflicts (Usman, 2017).
Furthermore, urban gangsterism and frequent clashes between these gangs over territories and illegal tolling were found in all the states of this zone. Land, boundary and chieftaincy conflicts involving communities in some states in the zone, and extending to communities within the neighbouring geo-political zones, were also found. Responses have been largely through the deployment of armed security personnel, commissions of inquiry and humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflicts. Attempts at prosecuting culprits have often not yielded much dividend. Some states in the zone have also initiated amnesty programmes, akin to Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programmes, as forms of political pardons for warlords (Tyoden, 2017).
Rahim (2016) posited that most conflicts have negative connotations, invoke negative feelings and often lead to destruction and whether the effect of conflict will be good or bad depends on the strategies used to deal with it but Robbins, (2013) considers conflict as a potential force contributing to the performance of individuals. Thus, it is necessary to pay attention to causes of conflict and correct them in order to improve group performance (Robins, 2013). Bodtker and Jameson (2013) therefore suggested conflict resolution training and direct intervention as some of the ways to influence the communities against conflict.
1.2 Statement of the problem
According to Ofuoku and Isife, (2016), the overall levels of conflict between rural and urban communities in the federal capital territory have risen between 2010 and 2016 (Ofuoku and Isife, 2016). Alabi, (2017) opined that there was communal clash erupted in the Federal Capital Territory between Karu and Gwari residents claiming two lives and displacing 1,500 people from 27 communities leading to them squatting in a temporary camp on the permanent campus of the University of Abuja in Gwagwalada area. Sustained conflict is known to be both caused by and contribute to poverty; however, according to Oyesola, (2017) wealth does not protect households from exposure to conflict in Nigeria. Many conflict events are never reported to authorities; engaging community and religious leaders in surveillance may improve rates of reporting events and improve overall understanding of the changing context of conflict in the federal capital territory (Oyesola, 2017).
The frequency and the violent nature of conflicts have caused Nigeria residing in these conflict zones to live in fear of the uncertainty. The economic havoc, the social disruptions and political instability brought about all these conflicts, undermining the foundation of the cooperative existence of all the affected area to enhance peace resolution. It is unfortunate that in this era of globalization, many Nigerians are still openly discussing with impurity the possibility of dismemberment of the community through succession (Ekong, 2010).
1.3 Objectives of the study
The general objective of this study is to investigate the conflict dynamics between rural and urban communities in the federal capital territory.
Specific objectives of this study are:
- To describe socio-economic characteristics of respondents in the study area
- To identify causes of conflicts in the study area
- To determine the effects of such conflicts on the socio economic life of the people
- To identify conflict resolution strategies used in the study area.
1.4 Research questions
- What are the socio-economic characteristics of respondents in the study area?
- What are the causes of conflicts in the study area?
- What are the effects of such conflicts on the socio economic life of the people?
- What is the conflict resolution strategies used in the study area.
Two hypotheses were set in the null form
- There is no significant relationship between effects of conflict and the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents
- There is no significant relationship between effects of conflict and causes of conflict.
1.6 Significance of the study
The issue of conflict has been a major obstacle to the eradicative of a stable community where all the community members are allowed to pursue the legitimate business in the community. As our problem of statement has emphasized there is urgently of the need to address the issue of conflict to avert further disaster. This work will contribute to the various writings e.g journals and textbooks that have been highlighting on the dangers of conflict dynamics and how to handle it finally, it will help policy makers in the study area and Nigerians to know the root cause of conflict, so as to explore strategies by which the negative effects of conflict could be mitigated in the future. Thus making lasting policies that will obliterate conflict chauvinism and its consequent effect on the people.
1.7 Scope of the study
The study focuses on the investigation of conflict dynamics between rural and urban communities in the federal capital territory.
1.9 Definition of terms
Conflict: This is an attempt to outwit or completely subdue other individuals or groups by means that may separate from informative order, industry violence.
Effect: – is a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.
Cause: Is anything that gives rise to conflict between rural and urban communities in the federal capital territory.