Wase Conflict Ethics Plateau State, the Twelfth Case Study

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Wase Conflict Ethics

Plateau state, the twelfth largest state in Nigeria is located roughly at the center of the country. It unique when it comes to its geography since its boundaries surrounds the Jos plateau. It has numerous features that attract a huge population as well as supporting numerous economic activities. There is available fertile land in the state that attracted many farmers from far areas to come and engage in producing crops in the region.it also has good climatic conditions with water and pasture available for animal rearing in the state.

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The plateau state used to be highly celebrated as the home of tourism and peace but this image has been destroyed in recent years due to Christian Muslim clashes that have occurred in the state. Large scale intercommuniol violence has become a recent phenomenon in the plateau state region as compared to other parts of Nigeria. There has ben longstanding grievances existing between communities for a very long time but it was not until 2001 when people started turning to violence which were organized. This was for the purpose of giving an expression of what they perceived to be economic and political marginalization. The plateau state has made news since the first major ethno-religious conflict that took place in 2001 that left close to 2000 people dead and property worth millions of Naira destroyed. These conflicts continued to reoccur sporadically particularly in different parts of the state such as Wase local government, Langtang North, Langtang South, shedam areas among others. Due to the reoccurrence of these conflicts on 18th May 2004 a sate of emergency was declared by the president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo .These conflicts had numerous negative consequences on the economy of the plateau state (Nigerian pilot, 2013).

Wase conflict in the plateau state

Case Study on Wase Conflict Ethics Plateau State, the Twelfth Assignment

In July 2002 there was the breakout of a fierce and bloody religious conflict in the Wase Local Government area of the Plateau state. This conflict claimed close to 5000 people who were consumed by Christians in lamba, Mavo as well as the Wase town. The Kadarko were chased out and their houses were burned down. Many children were left orphans and mothers became widowers. These women and children all became refuges as they no longer had a place they could call home.in 2003 there was the introduction of anew dimension into the on sought. However this place was short lived since security operations acted on the basis of some information they had got and went ahead to sweep away insurgents who were believed to be members of that raided the Rafin pa, Rikkos and Dnkali satellite villages. These were perceived hideouts where nefarious activities were taking place. There was recovery of many dangerous weapons from these regions (Olumide, & Onyekwere, 2012).

The council of Ulama elders acted swiftly in December 2003 condemning the actions taken by the government and demanding for compensation the families of victims who were affected by the conflicts. There was yet unrest in February 2004 in Wase where there was the demolition of houses which belonged to Christians who had returned to Yaundara village which is located along Wase-Langtang road. These houses were said to have been demolished by Wazirin Was on grounds that they had been illegal structures. The following day there was the killing of Lipdo Wapven who was killed in cold blood at 4.00am while he was still sleeping. This led to insurgents invading Hamale village in February 12, 2004 having displaced the mobile police that was manning the Wase town together with other border villages such as Kirim, Tsamiya, Hamale, Yaudara, and Duwi. There were a lot of damages that resulted from this conflict. There was carting of close to 46 bicycles and motorcycles .at the same time there was demolition and torching of houses (Olumide, & Onyekwere, 2012).

Reasons behind conflict at the plateau state

The conflicts that were taking place in the plateau state had political, ethnic as well as religious components which over time became inextricably linked together. Not all these factors where in existence from the beginning. Due to the fact that different groups soughed the inclusion of their allies so that they could help the support of their course the conflicts became very complex that drew in a large number of ethnic groups. The conflicts became widespread in different parts of the state that led to convergence of conflicts which initially rooted in different areas. Different communities soon began to react to the events that were taking place in other areas. Large attacks had repercussions not only in form of counter-attacks by communities that were aggravated within the same areas but also in other areas where there were different ethnic communities but they were from the same religion. These people often identified with victims and were out there to avenge them through attacking the people in their area who were not of the same faith as them. In many occasions some of the conflict even extended beyond the boundaries of the state.

The root cause of the conflicts in this region was the competition between indigenes and non-indigenes in the state. All over Nigeria the groups of people who considered themselves indigenes or those who considered themselves as early inhabitants of an area are given certain privileges such as being employed by the government, scholarships, lower school fees as well as political positions (Muhammad, 2008). The concept of indigene ship was exploited by various people in order to satisfy their various desires, in the plateau state the indigenes tend top be Christians while the settlers were Muslims. The dispute between the indigenes and non-indigenes occurred in different contexts.in some instances the conflicts were primarily due to political positions, others were due to land use .another dimension was the presence of Fulani herdsmen in this region. The Fulani were nomads and Muslims and most indigenes resented them since they allowed their cattle to graze on their land leading to numerous damages. Cattle rustling has been taking place where cattle belonging to the Fulani were stolen by other communities hence they plan revenge attacks which are often followed by counter attacks by these communities towards the Fulani.

Challenge of conflicts in plateau state

The biggest challenge that is posed by the conflicts in the plateau state is identification of the perpetrators especially those who are at the forefront of orchestrating the attacks. For a long time violence has not been carried out by people that are recognized in groups or militia which have clear structures. There has not been any individual group which has come out and publicly claimed that they are responsible for the killings.in fact across the plateau state there no groups which represent economic, political, social interest of the different existing ethnic groups as well as communities (Uchendu, 2010). However, none of these groups have come out openly to advocate for violence. During the Wase conflict there was no formal or clearly identified group who were visibly present during the entire period hen the conflict ensued.it might not be same people who take place in these conflicts since the conflicts occur in waves. The pattern of the large attacks in Wase conflicts clearly indicates that there are high levels of planning, organization and forethought in the conflict. Just like any state, the population of the plateau state comprises of many unemployed youth that come from poor backgrounds and who might not have strong ideological beliefs but can be easily convinced to take part in such violence. These youth may be the ones who make up the bulk of those who are executing the attacks. Therefore it is quite challenging to find the exact people who perpetrated the Wase conflicts as well as other violence related conflicts in the plateau state.

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