STRUCTURAL VIOLENCE IN THE NORTH CENTRAL GEO-POLITICAL ZONE OF NIGERIA: A CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION APPROACH

STRUCTURAL VIOLENCE IN THE NORTH CENTRAL GEO-POLITICAL ZONE OF NIGERIA: A CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION APPROACH

ABSTRACT

The dynamism of this study generally sought to understand why the Nigerian state has remained deeply divided and prone to structural violence especially in the North Central zone despite all governmental and nongovernmental efforts at ensuring stability, and fostering unity in diversity and peaceful coexistence among its regionally, ethnically and religiously diverse population. The study was an attempt to understand and shed some light on a phenomenon that has had debilitating consequences on the Nigerian state and its people, and left some gaps in our knowledge of the circumstances that harness or hinder the integrative and peace-generating function of federalism in Nigeria.

The adoption of the conflict transformation approach in dealing with structural violence in the North central zone was also explored and examined in order to understand how the approach can work in the Nigerian federation, and in enhancing political stability in Nigeria. In understanding the phenomenon, the study specifically examined structural violence and the various challenges posed by structural violence in the Nigerian political space. It also explored the concept of violence in the Nigerian federal structure from 2011-2015 in relations to the North central Zone. In an attempt to investigate the phenomenon, the study employed a qualitative research method for gathering and analyzing data.

In achieving the objectives of the study, the thesis assessed the context of federalism all over the world, and narrowing it down to the Nigerian example, its origins and other contextual issues connected to it, structural violence was also examined extensively, and its key concepts, including incidences of structural violence in the north central zone and the overlying and underlying causes. The conflict transformation theory and the structural conflict/violence theory were adopted for the theoretical discourse.

The summary of findings of the research suggests that the values, attitudes, actions and perception of the people with regard to issues that were ethno-religiously contentious reinforced the centrifugal forces that tend to cause structural violence in the North Central zone. This finding emanates from the expressed descriptions and indicated perspectives of various authors as well as the data obtained from other sources. It thus recommended that Nigeria should aim at fashioning out a political culture that will downplay, if not totally eliminate feelings of mistrust, deep-seated animosity that exists among the various ethnic groups in the country.

Keywords: Structural violence, Conflict transformation, Violence, Peace, Conflict.