Home Project-material CONFLICT MANAGEMENT IN ANAMBRA STATE. A STUDY OF UMULERI AND AGULERI CONFLICTS.

CONFLICT MANAGEMENT IN ANAMBRA STATE. A STUDY OF UMULERI AND AGULERI CONFLICTS.

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Abstract

This research studies conflict management in Anambra state. a study of Umuleri and Aguleri conflicts which focus on the Umuleri and Aguleri communities’ experience. Both communities were engulfed in intractable conflicts over the ownership of Otuocha land. Aside the contest over land, both communities have been engaged in the reconstruction of their history with each claiming to be the direct descendant of Eri. The research adopts qualitative evaluation method. The research basically draws from primary and secondary sources. The research hypothesized that conflict management in Anambra state is the major ingredients in conflict resolution. The research from its findings discovered that good governance promotes peace in Umuleri and Aguleri and can be achieved through a transparency and accountability, Respect for the rule of law, prudent management of resources, strict adherence to the principle of federal character in appointments. It further discovered that conflict management in A

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1             

Background to the Study

Conflict has become an evitable phenomenon in human existence. As long as there are social relationships between individuals and groups in the society, conflict will persist. Although, conflict often initiates change in society, its violent form is negative and reverses societal progress, promoting poverty and anarchy. There is no doubt that violent conflict has wreaked havoc on our communal and national social fabrics since 1999, in particular, when electoral democracy was enthroned in Nigeria (Ake, 1985).

Compounding the problem of underdevelopment in Nigeria is micro nationalism, ethnic, religious and communal conflicts which pose great threat to peace, security and progress. The conflict in Umuleri and Aguleri had closed the doors of friendship, interaction and rapport among the various ethnic groups in the nation. Therefore, attempts at promoting peaceful co-existence among the various identities that exists in the nation becomes contradictory if not elusive as various ethnic, religious, political, economic and social catastrophe keep one reoccurring in the polity (Fayeye, 2011).

This has compounded the situation of insecurity in Nigeria’s fragile federal system which, over the years, has experienced ethnic, religious and political crises of monumental proportions. The most devastating amongst these have been communal conflicts in all parts of the country. The frequent occurrence of conflict in Nigeria in recent times is a threat not only to democracy but also to the corporate existence of the country as a political entity. Since good governance is an essential ingredient in the promotion of peaceful coexistence in the society given its indispensable elements of rule of law, human right protection, free and fair election, accountability, independent court of law as well as creating the right environment for socio-economic development (AbdulMaleek 2011).

The state commissioner for information and public enlightenment, Don Adinuba said that the swift resolution of the crisis followed the directive by Governor Willie Obiano to the Anambra State Security Council, urging it to bring the crisis to an end immediately. The commissioner added that the governor also directed the council to find out the immediate and remote causes of the crisis and proffer suggestions on how to address them to avoid a similar crisis in future. Adinuba said: “Following the governor’s directive, the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, the state Director of the Department of State Security, the Commanders of the Army and Naval formations in the state, the state Commandant of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Special Adviser to the governor on Security, as well as the Special Assistant to the governor on Security, led other State Security Council members to end the dispute quickly (Galtung, 1990).

Meaningful discussions were held with leaders of Anam community and those of the herdsmen. It was apparent that the crisis was precipitated by the entry of some herdsmen from a neighbouring state into Anambra State without following the protocol guiding the conduct of herdsmen in the state. “For instance, they entered Anam without informing the local leaders of the herdsmen association, who would have registered them as members and inform them of the rules of doing cattle business in Anambra State. The consequence was that the new entrants violated the rules in a repugnant manner and caused a breach of the peace.

The people and government of Anambra State deeply regret the occurrence. While commiserating with victims, we will not leave any person or group of persons in doubt about the determination and capacity of the state government to bring the culprits to book and make them feel the full weight of the law.” According to the commissioner, Anambra State had for years, adopted a Code of Conduct for herdsmen and crop farmers in the state, which had proved exceedingly effective in determining the excellent relations between the groups, adding that the faithful implementation of the code was one of the reasons the state had over the years been free of clashes between herdsmen and crop farmers, as experienced in different parts of the country.

Umuleri community leaders have petitioned the Commissioner of Police in Anambra over an alleged breach of peace agreement by Aguleri people, with whom they have been at loggerheads in respect of the disputed Aguakor Umueri land (Ibeanu, 2005).

Aguleri is the country home of Blessed Michael Iwene Tansi, the beatified Roman Catholic Priest, and Gov. Willie Obiano and both communities are in Anambra East Local Government Area of the state. A renewed clash earlier this year in which a few people sustained injuries and some houses destroyed, was successfully quelled following the intervention of state government and the Police. However, in a petition to the Commissioner of Police, signed by the President-General of Umueri General Assembly, Chief Pius Okonkwo and the Secretary-General, Mr. Samuel Mbukwesili, raised an alarm that the clash might start again.

The petition dated July 4, 2018, and made available to newsmen on Monday in Awka, alleged that Aguleri people had forcefully entered the disputed land. They also claimed that Aguleri people and their armed thugs were threatening the peace and tranquility of people in the area. “Pursuant to our earlier letter, you directed that Umueri and Aguleri people should desist from entering into the area of land in Aguakor Umueri land (from Otuocha-Oye Agu Road to the fish market up to the Otuocha Township Stadium).

Nnobody should construct any building or carry out any activity therein so as to ensure peaceful co-existence between the two communities. “To our chagrin and in total disregard to the peace committee, Aguleri people and their armed thugs have continued to enter into the disputed area of land in Aguakor Umueri and are carrying on construction works daily on the land.’’ The Umuleri leaders further stated that the people of Aguleri were usually well armed with guns to scare Umueri people away and threaten to kill any Umueri indigene who challenged them. “Umueri people are peace-loving and law-abiding; thus, our obedience to your directives and respect to the peace committee, are practical proof. (Ibrahim, 2002)”

They, therefore, appealed to the commissioner of police to urgently call Aguleri people to order, noting that their conduct was likely to trigger another inter-communal crisis between the two neighboring communities. The development attracted the attention of the Police Command, which prevailed on the two communities to sign a peace agreement to ensure tranquility. Meanwhile, in his reaction, Chief Emmanuel Ikem, the Deputy President-General of Aguleri Town Union dismissed as false the breach claim by Umuleri people. “The Umuleri people are crying wolf where there is none; no Aguleri man or woman had entered the disputed Aguakor Umueri land, rather it is the people of Umuleri that violate the principle of the peace agreement.

 

Strategies to Resolve or Manage Conflict are:

  1. Embrace conflict. When conflict arises, don


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