The Effects of Communal Clashes on Socio-Economic Development: A Study of Erin-Ile and Offa, Kwara State, Nigeria

London Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume | Issue | Compilation
Authored by AKINNUSI Ayodele Dle , Oladimeji David ALAO, Ayuba Gimba MAVALLA
Classification: NA
Keywords: boundary issues, communal clashes, community, expansion
Language: English

Erin-Ile and Offa are two adjoining towns in Kwara State, Nigeria. These two communities used to live peacefully together until 1970 when boundary issues, arising out of the expansionist needs of the two towns created clashes between these two former peaceful
neighbours. These clashes have become regular phenomena between these two towns with grave implications for socio-economic development. The study employed the convergent parallel design with a structured questionnaire as the main research instrument. The questionnaire was administered on 1,102 respondents purposively selected from the total population of 129, 731 people residing in Erin-Ile and Offa. The study found that much lives and property had been lost to these communal clashes between these two towns with adverse effects on their socio-economic development. This study, among other recommendations, called for government’s takeover of the disputed area between these two to prevent further conflicts between them in the future.

               

The Effects of Communal Clashes on Socio-economic Development: A Study of Erin-ile and Offa, Kwara State, Nigeria

Oladimeji David Alaoα, Ayuba Gimba Mavallaσ & Ayodele Dele Akinnusiρ

____________________________________________

ABSTRACT

Erin-Ile and Offa are two adjoining towns in Kwara State, Nigeria. These two communities used to live peacefully together until 1970 when boundary issues, arising out of the expansionist needs of the two towns created clashes between these two former peaceful neighbours. These clashes have become regular phenomena between these two towns with grave implications for socio-economic development. The study employed the convergent parallel design with a structured questionnaire as the main research instrument. The questionnaire was administered on 1,102 respondents purposively selected from the total population of 129, 731 people residing in Erin-Ile and Offa. The study found that much lives and property had been lost to these communal clashes between these two towns with adverse effects on their socio-economic development. This study, among other recommendations, called for government’s takeover of the disputed area between these two to prevent further conflicts between them in the future.

Keywords: boundary issues, communal clashes, community, expansion.

Author α: Ph.D Department of Political Science and Public Administration Babcock University Ilishan- Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria.

σ: Ph.D Department of Political Science and Public Administration Babcock University Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria.

ρ: Doctoral Student Department of Political Science and Public Administration Babcock University Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria.

  1. INTRODUCTION

The 20th century’s largest conflicts; World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Ethiopia/Somalia War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War are key reminders of how disputed boundaries can affect the tranquility of countries and continents. African countries today face greater challenges to peace and stability than ever before. The countries of sub-Saharan Africa, including Sierra-Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are a volatile mix of insecurity, instability, corrupt political institutions and poverty. Alarmingly, most of these countries lack the political will to maintain previous peace agreements, and thus have fallen prey to continuous armed ethnic conflict (Monty, 2003). This is partly due to ineffective conflict management. The conflicts in these countries are mostly between ethnic groups, not between states. If not checked, ethnic conflicts are contagious and can spread quickly across borders like cancer cells. It has been noted most African conflicts are caused by the combination of poverty and weak states and institutions (Irobi, 2005).The quest for resource control has partly been one of the remote causes of civil strife in Africa. This is evident in the trends of violence and conflicts that have engulfed the continent in recent times. Albert (2005) affirms that most conflicts in Africa are initiated or aggravated by the contest for resources which results in subsequent stress in distribution. Consequently, the contest for control of resources like land, mineral resources, and water among others has become responsible for confrontation that leads to death, displacement, and refugee issues. Boundary issues have become one of the causes of both intra and interstate conflicts in Nigeria. These conflicts have been responsible for slow economic development or better still, economic setbacks in the regions where they occur and have been tied to the failure of the government to forge national integration and promote economic progress which in turn has led to mass poverty, unemployment, ethnic, religious and class conflict,(Angaye, 2008).  One notable feature of most boundary disputes is its protracted nature and resurgence of direct violence. Most of these disputes last for decades; an example is the India-China dispute which has been on for over 60 years.

In Nigeria, it has become the same as several strive and disturbance have stemmed from territorial contest. Example of such includes Tiv/Jukun dispute, Ife/Modakeke, Aguleri/ Umuleri, Tiv/Bassa in Nassarawa State (2001), Bauchi, Jos, Kafanchan, Hausa/Yoruba in Sagamu, Eleme/Okirika, Tiv/Jukun in Wukari, Ogoni/Adoni in River State, Chamba/Kuteb in Taraba, Ijaw/Itsekiri in Delta State, Ijaw/Ilaje in Ondo State, Basa/Egbura in Nassarawa, Hausa/Fulani in Bauchi, and Erin-Ile/Offa in Kwara State and recently Ife/Hausa conflict.

This study goes further to prove the importance of territories and territorial control as motivation toward the issue of conflicts. Moreover, some of these conflicts become protracted because of the quest for domination of weaker group on account of indigene versus settler syndrome. Communal conflicts also takes root from population growth and the seeming low level of development of the area which combines to quicken the pace of competition for resources, ethnic rivalry and in some instances evolving into religious crises such as in Jos and Bauchi conflict. The inter and intra state conflicts in Nassarawa /Benue, Benue/ Taraba in 2001, were characterized with boundary dispute. Most times these conflicts have been known to be accompanied with high level of violence which usually led to the destruction of lives and properties on a large scale. However, when neighbouring communities cooperate across borders, economic as well as social activities can be enhanced and security strengthened. The history of Nigeria like other post-colonial nations-states may be described as one of continuous encounter with border problems. Boundary conflicts in pre-colonial Nigeria had one unique nature. They were basically inter-communal scuttles or conflicts that ensued in the course of disagreement between two or more groups exhibiting certain notable (minor) differences and also origin and interest (Fatile, 2011).

Based on the issues identified above, this study therefore is focused on examining the Erin-Ile/Offa communal conflict and the socio-economic development of Kwara State. These communities have engaged in communal clashes that have great deal of influence on their activities as human beings on the face of the earth. Issues will be reviewed and trends will be analyzed in order to proffer cogent solutions that will bring lasting peace to the region and also serve as a model to other areas where ethnic and communal conflicts are raging.

  1. LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1  Boun Dary and Communal Conflicts

There is no doubt that the concept of frontiers as boundary was virtually unknown in Nigeria and other parts of Africa during the period of European partition of Africa. This however does not suggest that the pre-colonial Nigerian societies had no desire for precisely demarcated boundaries. Among the Yorubas, certain geographical features, natural and artificial, such as the sea, lagoons, lakes, rivers, boulders, hills, mountains, and valley as well as man-made constructions such as brick walls were evidently used as markers in area considered to be the border regions between one Yoruba kingdom and another (Adejuyigbe, 1978).

Boundary dispute issues in Nigeria had always assumed inter-communal and intra-state dimension. The requests for boundary adjustment and demarcation among various contiguous communities have thus engendered inter-communal boundary disputes in the country. One cannot but blame the colonial master for the poor management of boundary problems in Nigeria. The British Colonial administration in Nigeria created artificial boundaries as suited their whims and caprices. In many instances, boundaries were arbitrarily fixed to the annoyance of the members of the communities (Anifowose, 1993). This is because Nigeria’s internal boundaries were not based on any deliberate plan meant to conform to natural features or existing ethno-cultural composition of the various communities delineated by the boundary line.

Hence, cases of border and communal conflicts have risen over the years. Such were the cases of boundary disputes between Oru and Ago-Iwoye communities in Ogun State, which presently put the relationship between the two communities to a near conflict situation or at a risk of boiling point. The Oru community claimed that the Ago-Iwoye people were laying claim to the expanse of land area which traditionally forms part of Oru territory. The Share- Tsaragi boundary dispute between a Yoruba dominated Share community and the Nupe dominated Tsaragi community over an ill-defined boundary led to a violent confrontation and consequently, massive loss of lives and properties in 2008 conflicts. However, both sides claimed that on the historical ground, they were the first to settle there but the Nupe admitted being outnumbered by the Yoruba (1976 reports section 177179).

Today, many rural areas have become theaters of intra-state boundary disputes. Some of the disputes have erupted into violence, thousands have been killed and properties been destroyed, and recently, there have been land dispute between the Idoma and the Igbo of Anambra State in which villages were scarred. Between January 16 and 18, 2006, ten persons were reportedly killed and about 150 houses razed following a clash between resident of Ebom and Ibijenka in Abi local government area of Cross River State. The two communities were at war over the ownership of the land where a health center is said to have been located.

There was another violent dispute in Namu village of Qua’an Local Government Area of Plateau State. Thousands of residents were forced to flee the villages and rampaging mobs killed at will and set homes ablaze. The immediate cause of the conflict has been traced to the attempt by a man from Gomai extracting sand from the disputed land in Namu village. This led to a fight that claimed five lives including one soldier and a police officer on April 9, 2006. Today, Ile-Ife and Modakeke are two neighboring communities in Osun State; the two communities are so close together that it is said to be difficult or almost impossible to delimit a clear-cut boundary between them. Despite this closeness, both communities have a long and surprising history of mutual antipathy and spasmodic crises and violence. Boundary issues in Nigeria today are treated as a matter of life and death. Many people have died and many are still ready to lay down their lives for what they consider their legacies (Fatile, 2006).

2.2  Effects of Communal Clashes on Socio-economic Development in Erin-Ile and Offa

The table below presents the casualties in respect of Erin-Ile/Offa conflict between 1970 – 2013.

Table 1:  No. of Casualties in respect of Erin-Ile/Offa conflict since 1970

DATE

CASUALITIES

1970

12 lives

1984

4 lives

1986

8 lives

2006

20 lives

2013

4 lives

Source: Kwara State Government White Paper (2008)

Table 2: Conflict Economic Losses to Offa Community

DATE

Buildings/Economic Trees

Electrical

Mechanical and Vehicles

Compensation or Total

1970

£30, 820.00

£ 9,018.00

£22,482

£63,200.00

1984

N 9,303,516.21

N2,013,313.29

N 4,120,311.00

 N 15, 437,140.50

1986

N 4,853,100.00

N 3,077,334

N 5,496,400.00

N 13,426834.25

1996

N 14,912,371.71

N 1,019,98931

N 10,570,000

N 26,502,361.02

2006

N 7,737,259.25

N 2,284,575.00

N 3,405.000.00

N 10,426,834.25

2013

N 18,106,241.00

N 8,783,559.11

N 23,520,000.00

N 40,409,800.20

2016

N 7,634,201.28.28

N 2,600,807.00

N 6,440,000,00

N 16,675,018.33

GRAND TOTAL

N 90,366,689.54

N 28,741,577.71

N 72,523,711.00

N 186,077,988.55

                                                             Source: Various Kwara State Government White Papers(2008)

Table 3: Conflict Economic Losses to Erin-Ile Community

DATE

Building Economic Trees

Electrical

Mechanical Vehicles

Total Losses

1970

£ 18,300

£ 13,250

£ 16,850

£ 48,400

1984

N 8,640,280.82

N 2,046,859.68

N 750,000,00

N 15,437,140.50

1986

N14,172,021.50

N 2,242,557.75

N 10,250,000.00

N 26,664,579.25

1996

N 4,541,350.82

N 2,285,483

N 6,500,000.00

N 13,426,834.25

2006

N 5,921,980.82

N 1,582,335.00

N 9,569,000.00

N 16,073,315.82

2013

N16,021,253.24

N 3,839,958.34

N 13,600,000.00

N 33,461,211.58

2016

N 6,270,162.62

N 912,258.27

N 7,200,162.00

N 14,382,420.89

GRAND TOTAL

N73,867,319.82

N 26,159,452.47

N 68,319,162.20

N167,845,501.49

According to table 2, the economic life of the two communities were grossly affected while the conflict lasted.

This has a long-term effect on the socio-economic development of the two communities. What knitted countries, religions, states and communities together can be trade, commerce and economic activities that will enhance value creation and wealth building. Erin-Ile and Offa conflict has defiled these economic principles this other of the day. This study examined the effect of these economic variables as conflict management techniques that if it is proper managed, it can snowballed into economic gains and economic prosperity for both communities was 254m under review. If this amount was utilized in developmental purposes, it would have put Erin-Ile and Offa on economic prosperities. The Erin-Ile/Offa communal conflict was polarized along communal division, suspicion, hatred, lack of trust and discrimination have often characterized the relationship between the people of different groups, thereby robbing them of socio-economic development. This crisis has gone a long way to threaten the social and economic fabric of the people. The  crisis has made the region to experience monumental loss of lives, destruction of properties and refugee crisis, that often divert the attention of government from the business of governance to crisis management (Alao & Popoola, 2012).The nature of avoidable destruction of lives and properties and the effects on socio-economic development and political life of the two communities and surrounding communities and disruption of free flow of people from North to Southbound Commuters informed the need to investigate and document the effects of the conflict.

It is expected that the causes of inter-communal conflict between Erin-Ile and Offa which is majorly, a contest for resources like land, position, power, control, and value actually play out in the conflict. Like most conflict, resources and value system are the most common factors that breed conflict; some countries in Africa with sectarian conflict include: Sierra-Leone, Uganda, Liberia, Mali and recently Libya. Osaghae (2005) listed 47 of 53 nations in Africa experienced one conflict or the other, of which 27 were inter-communal conflict. In Nigeria, local communal conflicts like Imuleri/Aguleri, Ife/Modakeke in Osun State, Tiv/Jukun, Saare/Isaragi and Zango/Kataf among others experienced persistence conflict.

Government interventions on these conflicts have not yielded any fruitful results. Like all conflict interventions, Erin-Ile and Offa has received seven (7) government interventions which are mostly peace-keeping and security patrols. Mediation role and all-inclusiveness in conflict resolution of Erin-Ile and Offa communal conflict has not produced a win-win situation as seen in Swedish Intervention of Sudan that produced a win-win solution.

While the conflict lasted, the socio-economic developments of both communities were in the lowest ebb. Banks were closed, markets were closed and even Ajegunle market (Wood industry and Plank market) were razed down by fire. Filling stations along the disputed parcel of land were set ablaze thus slowing down socio-economic development.

Erin-Ile/Offa communities have been living together for centuries and during their co-existence it has been peaceful but thing went bad about 54 years ago when their mutual existence witnessed change and violence. Failure of traditional rulers, peace agents and government intervention has not achieved peace hence, social vices and mistrust manifested. Documented evidences and focus group discussion revealed that the government of Kwara State among others had set up committees, panels and judicial commission of inquiry to look into the boundary dispute between Erin-Ile/Offa. One glaring observation from most of the committees set up was that the two communities did not employ proactive measures to prevent direct violence but will mobilize resources for full scale conflict and violence just with little provocation. While the conflict lasted, many peace initiatives were made most especially from spirited third parties, associations and churches. The 2006 conflict consumed the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Cornerstone parish, the parish pastor’s Nissan Pathfinder Jeep was set ablaze and the entire surrounding houses, including Mechanical workshops turned to ashes.

The conflict created a lot of social effects on the two communities. The Federal Polytechnic Offa was closed down for three months during the last conflict. Both the students and the staff suffered untold hardship during the closure. All academic activities were suspended. The closure is not peculiar to the Federal Polytechnic; the Polytechnic has two staff schools – The Nursery and Primary school and Federal Polytechnic Secondary School. These affiliate schools with the polytechnic were closed down for three months. The students’ churches opposite the Polytechnic gate were turned to ashes; one would think the churches will be spared but the irate youths from the two communities created havoc without limit. During Erin-Ile/Offa conflict, all the security – human security and National Security were threatened, cultural exchange were suspended and economic embargo for the local markets were in force. The market closures, market retaliation, schools closing down are part of what slowed down socio-economic development of the two communities. The closure affected all the public and private schools in the two communities, thus creating social imbalance in the system.

Recognizing that lasting peace cannot be achieved until people’s freedom, rights and development of enterprise are guaranteed. In the report 90% strongly agreed that the conflict resulted into loss of lives while 0% strongly disagrees and this is a clear indication that the conflict inflicted death, loss of lives and properties.

During the 2006 Erin-Ile/Offa conflict, more than 1000 families were internally displaced which make the government of Kwara to close down schools because those schools homes for the internally displaced families. The report indicated that 74.9% strongly agree on this whereas only 5% strongly disagree. Immediately after the conflict, arms and ammunitions were freely used, the dangerous weapons were in the hands of irate youths and opinion poll suggested that recent armed robbery, bank robbery and grossly insecurity accounts for that. In the study 35.1% of respondents strongly agree that the conflict has produced nefarious activities among the youths, even some adults, whereas 54.8% agree that the unseen hands of conflict has produced armed robbers, thief and cultism in the area. While the conflict lasted, marriages were hurriedly separated by the two communities; communities living in peace for centuries suddenly turned enemies. During my interview a school proprietor of Goodness Group of Schools an Offa man but married to Erin-Ile woman was asked by his kinsmen to produce his wife for possible killing. The man told them his wives divorced him last month (lied) his schools were set ablaze by his own kinsmen. These trails of woes were unending in Erin-Ile/Offa conflict.

  1. METHODOLOGY

3.1  Population of the Study

The population for this study is the entire people living in Offa and Erin- Ile Offa is located in Offa Government Area. The population of Offa which comprises of Offa, Igbodun and Kereaje is estimated to be 89,674 (NEF, 2016).

Erin Ile is located in Oyun local government area. The population of the local government area as at 2006 is estimated to be over 94,253 (NEF, 2016). Oyun local government area comprises of Ira, Igosun, Erin-Ile, Ilemona, Ipe, Ijagbo and Ojoku. Out of these towns, Erinle is estimated to be the largest in terms of population and market functions. The population of Erinle by largest share is given as 40,057.  Adding the population of Erin-Ile/Offa, with a total population of 129,731 subjects of the study.

Table 5: Population of Erin-Ile and Offa

S/N

Communities

Population Size of The Study

Percentage Representation of the Population

1

Erin-Ile

40057

31%

2

Offa

89,674

69%

Total

129,731

100%

Sources: filed work (2016)

The target population of this study was made up of adults (male and female) of different age bracket both in Erin-Ile/Offa communities, which will include: traditional leaders, politicians, opinion leaders, market men and women, informal economic stakeholders such as artisans, students, youth association and youth leaders, civil servants and civil society and community associations. Employing the Taro Yamane formula, a sample size of 1,102 respondents (Erin-Ile, 340 and Offa, 762) was arrived at. This study adopted a mixed sampling method for the purpose of collecting data for the study. The first method is the use of stratified sampling to group the population to two areas which are Erin-Ile/Offa. After that, the proportionate method was used to assign values to each area or strata depending on the percentage or proportion of value that they have. After that the random sampling technique was used to pick samples according to the required value for each stratum. Purposive sampling was adopted, for respondents who are indigenes or settlers who had lived in the communities for the ten years, five year or three years as the case may be. A structured questionnaire was administered on the respondents.

Table 6: Economic Effect of the Crisis

ECONOMIC EFFECT

SA

A

D

SD

U

MEAN

Std. Dev.

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

Reduction in agricultural output

1016

100.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

5.0000

0.0000

Loss of revenue through market closure

153

15.1%

863

84.9%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

4.1506

0.3578

Loss of revenue through non-collection of tax

813

80.0%

152

15.0%

51

5.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

4.7500

0.5368

Reduction in the contribution of Kwara state to the nation

203

20.0%

762

75.0%

51

5.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

4.1496

0.4773

Reduction in the per-capita income of the state.

762

75.0%

203

20.0%

51

5.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

4.6998

0.5575

From table 4.3 above, 1016 respondents, representing 100% of the population strongly agree to reduction in agricultural output; 0 respondent, representing 0% of the population agree to reduction in agricultural output; 0 respondent representing 0% of the population  disagree to reduction in agricultural output; 0 respondent representing 0% of the population strongly disagree to reduction in agricultural output; 0 respondent representing 0% of the population undecided to reduction in agricultural output.

153(15.1%) of the respondents strongly agree to loss of revenue through market closure; 863(84.9%) of the respondents agree to loss of revenue through market closure; 0(0%) of the respondents disagree to loss of revenue through market closure; 0(0%) of the respondents strongly disagree to loss of revenue through market closure; 0(0%) of the respondent undecided to loss of revenue through market closure.

813(80%) of the respondents strongly agree to loss of revenue through non-collection of tax; 152(15%) of the respondents agree to loss of revenue through non-collection of tax; 51(5%) of the respondents disagree to loss of revenue through non-collection of tax; 0(0%) of the respondent strongly disagree to loss of revenue through non-collection of tax; 0(0%) of the respondent undecided to loss of revenue through non-collection of tax.

203(20%) of the respondents strongly agree to reduction in the contribution of Kwara state to the nation; 762(75%) of the respondents agree to reduction in the contribution of Kwara state to the nation; 51(5%) of the respondents disagree to reduction in the contribution of Kwara state to the nation; 0(0%) of the respondents strongly disagree to reduction in the contribution of Kwara state to the nation; 0(0%) of the respondents undecided to reduction in the contribution of Kwara state to the nation.

762 (75%) of the respondents strongly agree to reduction in the per-capita income of the state; 203(20%) of the respondents agree to reduction in the per-capita income of the state; 51(5%) of the respondents disagree to reduction in the per-capita income of the state; 0(0%) of the respondent strongly disagree to reduction in the per-capita income of the state; 0(0%) of the respondents undecided to reduction in the per-capita income of the state.

Table 5.2.5:  Social Effect

SOCIAL EFFECT

SA

A

D

SD

U

MEAN

Std. Dev.

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

Loss of life

914

90.0%

102

10.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

4.8996

0.3007

Lack of trust by both communities

255

25.1%

710

69.9%

51

5.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

4.2008

0.5110

Unemployment has increased in the area

558

54.9%

306

30.1%

152

15.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

4.3996

0.7346

Increase in nefarious activities by youths and even adults

357

35.1%

557

54.8%

0

0.0%

102

10.0%

0

0.0%

4.1506

0.8549

Loss of properties

761

74.9%

153

15.1%

0

0.0%

51

5.0%

51

5.0%

4.4980

1.0746

From table 4.4 above, 914 respondents, representing 90.0% of the population strongly agree to loss of life; 102 respondents, representing 10.0% of the population agree to loss of life; 0 respondent representing 0% of the population disagree to loss of life; 0 respondent representing 0% of the population strongly disagree to loss of life; 0 respondents representing 0% of the population undecided to loss of life.

255(25.1%) of the respondents strongly agree to lack of trust from both communities; 710(69.9%) of the respondents agree to lack of trust from both communities; 51(5%) of the respondents disagree to lack of trust from both communities; 0(0%) of the respondent strongly disagree to lack of trust from both communities; 0(0%) of the respondent undecided to lack of trust from both communities.

558(54.9%) of the respondents strongly agree that unemployment has increased in the area; 306(30.1%) of the respondents agree that unemployment has increased in the area; 152(15.0%) of the respondents disagree that unemployment has increased in the area; 0(0%) of the respondent strongly disagree that unemployment has increased in the area; 0(0%) of the respondent undecided unemployment has increased in the area.

357(35.1%) of the respondents strongly agree that increase in nefarious activities by youths and even adults; 557(54.8%) of the respondents agree that increase in nefarious activities by youths and even adults; 0(0%) of the respondents disagree that increase in nefarious activities by youths and even adults; 102(10.0%) of the respondents strongly disagree that increase in nefarious activities by youths and even adults; 0(0%) of the respondents undecided toincrease in nefarious activities by youths and even adults.

761(74.9%) of the respondents strongly agree to loss of properties; 153(15.1%) of the respondents agree to loss of properties; 0(0%) of the respondents disagree to loss of properties; 51(5%) of the respondents strongly disagree to loss of properties; 51(5%) of the respondents undecided to loss of properties.

  1.  CONCLUSION

Erin-Ile/Offa communities have been living together for centuries and during their co-existence it has been peaceful but thing went bad about 54 years ago when their mutual existence witnessed change and violence. The conflict created a lot of social and economic effects on the two communities. The Federal Polytechnic Offa was closed down for three months during the last conflict. Both the students and the staff suffered untold hardship during the closure. All academic activities were suspended. The closure is not peculiar to the Federal Polytechnic; the Polytechnic has two staff schools – The Nursery and Primary school and Federal Polytechnic Secondary School. These affiliate schools with the polytechnic were closed down for three months. The students’ churches opposite the Polytechnic gate were turned to ashes; one would think the churches will be spared but the irate youths from the two communities created havoc without limit. During Erin-Ile/Offa conflict, all the security – human security and National Security were threatened, cultural exchange were suspended and economic embargo for the local markets were in force. The market closures, market retaliation, schools closing down are part of what slowed down socio-economic development of the two communities. The closure affected all the public and private schools in the two communities, thus creating social and economic imbalance in the system.

Recognizing that lasting peace cannot be achieved until people’s freedom, rights and development of enterprise are guaranteed. In the report 90% strongly agreed that the conflict resulted into loss of lives while 0% strongly disagrees and this is a clear indication that the conflict inflicted death, loss of lives and properties.

During the 2006 Erin-Ile/Offa conflict, more than 1000 families were internally displaced which make the government of Kwara to close down schools because those schools homes for the internally displaced families. The report indicated that 74.9% strongly agree on this whereas only 5% strongly disagree. Immediately after the conflict, arms and ammunitions were freely used, the dangerous weapons were in the hands of irate youths and opinion poll suggested that recent armed robbery, bank robbery and grossly insecurity accounts for that. In the study 35.1% of respondents strongly agree that the conflict has produced nefarious activities among the youths, even some adults, whereas 54.8% agree that the unseen hands of conflict has produced armed robbers, thief and cultism in the area. While the conflict lasted, marriages were hurriedly separated by the two communities; communities living in peace for centuries suddenly turned enemies. During my interview a school proprietor of Goodness Group of Schools an Offa man but married to Erin-Ile woman was asked by his kinsmen to produce his wife for possible killing. The man told them his wives divorced him last month (lied) his schools were set ablaze by his own kinsmen. These trails of woes were unending in Erin-Ile/Offa conflict.

V.    RECOMMENDATIONS

The issue of the disputed land between the two communities should be acquired by the government of Kwara State for development. The study discovered that the major contending issue between Erin-Ile and Offa is the parcel of land between the two communities and the government of Kwara State on land matter in tandem with provision of 1978 Land Use Decree constitute a danger in peace process between the two communities. Although, both Erin-Ile and Offa falls between the controlling land in Sun-Urban area, the responsibilities of chairmen of Offa and Oyun Local Government in issuing of Customary Right of Occupancy Certificate (R of O) should be intensified. The Adaramola Commission of Enquiry of 1972 recommended that the disputed land should be a buffer zone and can only be utilized by the Kwara State government as an industrial layout. This recommendation from Adaramola commission would enable both Erin-Ile and Offa to see peace process not as co-existence but a non-negotiable option. Recently, the Supreme Court judgement was in favour of Erin-Ile and the boundary is fixed at the defunct ECN – Electricity Corporation of Nigeria now IBEDC – Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company. These areas are well developed with houses and commercial centres like hotels, the Federal Polytechnic Offa mini-campus etc are ceded to Erin-Ile in the landside judgement.

The study noted that meaningful development cannot be achieved in conflict prone zones. There is a need for a wider consultation to make the peace process more embracing to accelerate socio-economic development for cultural exchange, socio-economic development to be achieved, this study recommends the combination of the traditional African and Western Models of conflict transformation.

REFERENCES 

  1. Adebusuyi, D. (2006) ‘One Killed-six Injured over Boundary Dispute in Kwara State’ the Punch Newspaper; June 22: 12
  2. Alao O.D (2012). An Assessment of Ethno-Communal Conflicts in Saare/Tsaragi Coommunities of Kwara State, Nigeria. PhD Thesis, Babcock University..
  3. Albert, I.O (2005). Perspectives on Peace and Conflict in Africa. Ibadan: Archers Press.
  4. Albert, I.O (2006). Baseline Survey Report of Conflict in Rivers, Delta, Kano, Kaduna and Plateau States of Nigeria. A project of IFESH Supported by USAID, Ibadan; Stirling-Hordon Publishers (Nig.) Ltd.
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