ETHNO-RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS AND THE INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS: AN AGITATION FOR LEGAL FRAMEWORK A CASE STUDY OF KADUNA STATE
Nigeria as an Independent state with different ethnic and religious groups over the years experienced a number of ethno-religious conflicts which have claimed lives and properties. The consequence of this is the displacement of many inhabitants which are referred to as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s). The affected persons are denied certain constitutional rights as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and other international legal instruments which are aim at protecting their rights. It is to this extent that this work examined the causes of ethno- religious conflicts vis-à-vis the laws that seeks to protect the rights of victims of such conflicts. The study also examined the role of Government and Non-governmental agencies in the protection of the rights of victims of ethno-religious conflict whether such role is moral or legal? Data were collected through questionnaire and interviews and later the data were analyzed. The findings are that in Nigeria today there is no certained law dealing with the problem of internally displaced persons. Our recommendation is that with the foundation laid down by the Kampala convention and the general principles of issues relating to IDP’s, the stage is set for Nigeria to hasten the process of enacting its laws or adopting the kampala convention as a national law
CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Ethnicity and religion have become powerful factors of mobilization for violence leading up to the destruction of lives and properties, displacement of whole communities and especially in Kaduna State and Nigeria as a whole.
In Kaduna State, there have been conflicts leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties at KasuwanMagani in 1980, Kaduna metropolis in 1982, Gure/Kahugu in 1986, Kafanchan in 1987, Kaduna City again in 1992, Kafanchan in 1999 and Kaduna, KachiaandBirninGwari in February 2000. Also, in 2007 at ZangonKataf Local Government and lastly the election violence of 2011in many parts of Kaduna State which have 3 religious and ethno-centric colorations. The causative factors that culminated into ethno-religious crises in Kaduna State include struggle for power, religious differences, political party disputes and economic imbalance.1
Other Factors Include:
- High level of poverty and unemployment,
- Government reliance on repressive measures which later erupt on a more serious scale.
- Government failure to promote social welfare, social security, social justice and equity.
- Government structure is anchored on patronage and social exclusionthrough discriminatory policies and actions resulting in mistrust and
1International Crisis Group, African Report No 168- at page 10, 20t,h December, 2010
- Poor threat analysis, ineffective and inefficient intelligence information by security agencies and relevant government
- Lack of seriousness in the implementation of the report of panels and commission of enquiries‟ recommendations and their manipulation‟s.
In Northern Nigeria, we are faced with a more devastating situation, some communities, ethnic and religious group that have enjoyed peaceful coexistence have been pitched against one another as enemies. This enmity hasoften times degenerated to a situation where whole communities are sacked, burnt down, and property worth billions of Naira have been lost or destroyed in the process.
In Kaduna State alone, during the 1987 crisis, hundreds of lives were lost, while police assessed damage to properties at seventy-eight million, five hundred and thirty- seven thousand thirty- eight naira (N78,537,038).2
On 6th February, 1992, more clashes occurred which according to official report resulted in the death of 95 persons and 252 others injured, while 133 houses and 26 farmlands were destroyed.3 Also in May, 2000 ethno-religious crisis eventually engulfed, Kaduna, Zaria, Ikara and ZangonKataf local governments. According to official report 471 persons were killed, 518 persons were injured and 229 houses and 218 vehicles were destroyed.4
In 1999 and 2000 violence erupted as a result of introduction of Sharia in ZamfaraState. Followed by Kaduna State, fighting lasted for four days in the State with death of about
2 Okoye F., “The Impact of Religious and Ethnic Conflicts on Women and Children in Northern Nigeria”.
: Publication Human Rights monitor (2000)
3New Nigeria news paper 20th July, 1992 at page 10
- R. I. Doi, Lslam in Nigeria (Zaira, Nigeria: Gaskiya Corporation, 1964), 210
4Police investigation Report on Kaduna Sharia Religious Crisis of February 2000
1,800 people and about 5,100 people were injured.5
Recurrent incidences in ethno-religious violence have taken a severe toll in the region especially in Kaduna State. All the conflicts have led to significant population displacement affecting children, women and the aged. Also, properties worth more than N40b(forty billionnaira) were destroyed.
Furthermore, in 2011, there was incidence of ethno-religious violence which permeates the political scene in Nigeria; this resulted in the loss of lives which mostly affected children, women and the aged. Similarly, places of worship, homes, schools and even hospitals were destroyed.6
Also the incessant insurgency by the group called Jama‟ataulSunnahWal- Jama‟aa.k.aBoko Haram (Western Education is illegal or prohibited) devastated the Northeastern part of the country i.eBorno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe and Bauchi States. Many more other states such as Kaduna, Kano, and Abuja were not left out in the attacks which had claimed the lives of many people and their properties.
This research work, intends to confront the monumental task of ensuring protection for persons forcibly uprooted from their homes by violent conflicts, gross violation of their rights and other traumatic events, but who,however,remain within the borders of their own countries. Often, they suffer from severe deprivation, hardship and discrimination
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