Justification of Armed Conflicts
Today, Nigeria is laced with some of the most obstinate armed conflicts, most of them constructed from differences in religious and ethnic identities. Religious and ethnic nationalism has led to conflicts about control of state power, unequal allocation of state resources, citizenship issues, state collapse, economic decline and ethno-religious clashes. Nigeria has been pushed hither and thither by recurrent crises of regional or state illegitimacy, often impairing efforts at economic transformation, democratization, national cohesion and stability.
Armed conflicts in Nigeria has been hinged on multiplicity of factors ranging from inept political leadership, corruption, struggle for resource control, negative effect of external debt burden, poverty, marginalization of some ethnic groups in the country, tribalism, favouritism and nepotism, arbitrary borders created by the colonial powers, heterogeneous ethnic composition of states amongst others.
Corruption and inept political leadership since the inception of independence in Nigeria has led to series of armed conflicts over successive years. Gross mismanagement of national resources and misrule by unqualified leaders have impoverished and denied opportunities to majority of Nigerians which has led to agitations by her citizens.
Clear inequality exists in the way Nigeria shares her federal positions and allocation of infrastructure projects among the federating states. To curb this seemingly injustice and create a sense of balance, the government established Federal Character Commission but this has not stopped protests and incidences of conflicts since the Federal Government most often than not, fail to use the Federal Character for all appointments, hence leading to the clamour for resource control among other demands.
The unending struggle for control of resources by federating states has also been justified as a reason armed conflicts have gained momentum through the years. From 1966, when Isaac Adaka Boro formed a militia group to fight for resource control till date, this issue has remained contentious one in the country.
The battle for resource control remains primarily due to the environmental degradation, marginalization of some ethnic groups and lack of substantial development in the states where these resources are derived from. Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua tried to resolve some of the issues associated with resource control when he gave amnesty to Niger Delta militants and offered to train them and rehabilitate the Niger Delta area in exchange for the surrender of their weapons.
The marginalization of some ethnic groups in the federating states over long years, has been alluded to the reasons why armed conflicts has been sought by the citizenry. In recent times, groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kenny Okwu Kanu have emerged agitating for the sovereign state of Biafra, an ideal which seems a mirage to most Nigerians from other ethnic groups.
This agitation, which was originally spearheaded by Comrade Odumegwu Ojukwu, was part of the causes of the civil war in 1967-1970. The eastern part of the country have through successive years complained strongly about the bias and marginalization carried out on them by the Federal government as it relates to inequitable distribution of government appointments and projects. So far, they are yet to receive full reparation and attention by the government.
The justification for armed conflicts has also been founded on Nepotism, Tribalism and Favouritism by successive Nigerian governments. Loyalty to ethnic groups impedes true nationalism and unity of the country. From the colonial times till date, leaders use ethnic biases to win elections and divide the country.
Most of the armed conflicts that take place begin from this ancient ethnic sentiment fuelled by selfish political motives. Employment into public office, ministries, agencies, and directorates of Federal government are mostly for tribal reasons and not competence and when objections are raised, it snowballs and degenerates into ethnic fight.
Furthermore, the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates made up of many ethnic groups with different languages and cultures in 1914 by the British colonialist for administrative convenience formed bedrock that fostered hostility and eventually degenerated into conflicts which persists till date.
<www.bbc.com͕͕͕͕͕͕/news/1970> accessed on 14 March 2019