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Sept 2019


Youth and Ethnic conflicts

People especially youths are greatly influenced by those around them. In today's schools drugs are very common, “peer pressure” usually is the reason for their usage. Violence is a major social problem that our society faces. Young people nowadays are very violent and tend to get in fights over minor things. These young people use violence to prove that they have a certain power over those who are weak. Violence is an increasing concern and in most communities nowadays there is always some form of group. Without knowing, they are slowly forming a gang and if they don’t split apart throughout the years this could develop into a bigger group as they get new friends and become violent.  The advent of social media due to increased access to the internet has arguably contributed the formation of even larger, widespread groups, and more on issues of immorality and peer pressure to belong. Despite social media playing a positive role for most, new survey has found out the high use of social media, like too much watching TV can have a negative impact on youth self-esteem and easy manipulation. Two in three young people feel pressure to look good with what is happening on instagram these days; and with so much proliferation of fake content and fake news, children can easily be brainwashed. In Nigeria, almost all frequent users look at social media in bed before sleeping and the same thing when they wake up. The survey also found 25% of teenagers reported being approached by strangers on a daily basis through their online world. Around 60% of parents never monitor or cannot even monitor their teen’s social media account and are wrestling their own issues about how much is too much. Most are unsure of how to provide good guidance of appropriate social media use with their children. With technology moving at breakneck speed and organizations constantly changing, agility and adaptability can position a high potential to seize opportunities that others will miss, that is when using technology in a positive way. As the International Bestseller “Who Moved My Cheese” asserts, being able to understand and adapt to change can mean the difference between thriving and failing. Soderstrom questions even the use of the phrase “change management” in the business lexicon. Instead, she insists, just call it leadership! Indeed, change isn’t about a new, separate event. It’s ever-present day to day, and organizational superstars, don’t miss a beat when changes are introduced. They are 'change ready' as in digital ready; and agility is just part of their DNA." So, with the right guidance, youths can be led to seize the positive side of the social media and avoid fake, propaganda content.

Social change builds community-based responses that address underlying social problems on an individual, institutional, community, national and/or international level. Social change can change attitudes, behaviours, laws, policies and institutions to better reflect values of inclusion, fairness, diversity and opportunity. Social change involves a collective action of individuals who are closest to the social problems to develop solutions that address social issues.

For any social change to occur, one must be able to see the end result or a vision that depicts the change. You must see the change as if it has already happened. This is the only way that you can articulate the steps you will need to take to make your vision come true.

A vision must be your intentions for a better future than what currently exists now. This vision must:

·      Be understood among a collective, so others can share in the vision.

·      Empower and engage people to want to take action.

·      Be well defined and articulated.

·      Be vivid, engaging, and expressive.

The first step in engaging a collective action in our vision for change is for us to know what it is that we would like to change. What underlying issues are we trying to address? Are we working towards eliminating ethnic jingoism in the community? Is it about ensuring every child is healthy, safe, and secure? Is it to reduce crime and violence in our communities? Is it to address banditry and kidnappings in our community head on or the provision of tools for empowerment to everyone irrespective of ethnicity/tribe, social class, and religious beliefs or even political affiliation? We must be able to identify that one key issue we will address that can make a difference in our community and/or society.

Using the term protracted social conflict (PSC), to identify the type of conflict that has persisted in northern Nigeria, which is different from traditional disputes over territory, economic resources, or North-South rivalry and it was distinctive, most of all, because it revolved around questions of communal identity and grudge. Four clusters are identified of variables that act as preconditions for potential conflicts' transformation to high levels of intensity.

a.      Precondition I: Communal Content

The most useful analysis in PSC situations is the identity group: racial, religious, ethnic, and cultural; and others. Linking the disjunction between state and society as in many parts of the world to a colonial legacy which artificially imposed European ideas of territorial statehood onto different communal groups on the principle of “divide-and-rule” As a result, in many post-colonial multi-communal societies the state machinery is dominated by a single communal group or a coalition of a few communal groups who are unresponsive to the needs of other groups in the society. This strains the social fabric and eventually breeds fragmentation, thus feeding into the other factors which produce PSC.

b.      Precondition II: Deprivation of Needs

As postulated by Azar deprivation of human needs as the underlying source of PSC, in particular, security needs, development needs, political access needs, and identity needs (cultural and religious expression). In the approach taken by Azar, people's security can only be provided for by the meeting of these needs. Security is not a “stand alone” idea but is linked to needs for development and political access. The reduction of overt conflict required a reduction in levels of underdevelopment. Groups who seek to satisfy their identity and security needs through conflict are in effect seeking changes in the structure of their society. In this case, conflict resolution can only occur if societies can also develop economically. In this way, peace is linked to development and job opportunities because development in all ramifications (poverty reduction, wealth creation, healthy environment, social cohesion etc.) is the satisfaction of needs, which, if they remain unsatisfied, will propel people into conflict.

c.       Precondition III: State and Governance

The role of the state and the nature of its governance is a critical factor in determining the satisfaction or frustration of individual and identity group needs. Most states in which PSC happens tend to be characterised by incompetent, parochial, fragile, and authoritarian governments. The weakness of the state is a crucial factor in provoking these conflicts for three reasons. Firstly, in Western liberal theory the state is supposed to act as an impartial (just) arbiter of conflicts, treating all members of the political community as legally equal citizens. This is not what happens: political authority tends to be monopolized by the dominant identity group which uses the state to maximise their interests at the expense of others. Secondly, the monopolising of power by dominant individuals and groups and the limiting of access to other groups creates a crisis of legitimacy, so that excluded groups have no loyalty or attachment to the state and may then seek to secede from it or to take it over completely. Thirdly, PSCs tend to occur in developing countries which are typically characterised by rapid population growth and a limited economic resource base. This also means that they have a restricted political capacity. They often have a colonial legacy where they have had weak or non-existent participatory institutions, or a hierarchical tradition of imposed bureaucratic rule from above. They may also have inherited instruments of political repression. This limited and inflexible political capacity prevents the state from responding to, and meeting, the needs of all its citizens.

d.      Precondition IV: International Linkage

The concept of international linkage refers particularly to political-economic relations of economic dependency within the international economic system. The internal factors generated by the first three preconditions become complicated and exacerbated by the spread of the conflict across the borders of the state. A network of political-military linkages develops as both the state authorities and the rebelling groups look for regional and global sources of support. This is already happening in Nigeria but we must do everything possible to avoid a similar conflict in and around Rwanda in the 90s at all cost.

Mapping-out ways to prevent conflicts from happening

More recently analysts have located the sources of contemporary conflict at the global level, regarding conflict as local manifestations of global processes. The main focus here is on what Paul Rogers describes as three interlinked trends:

·    Deep inequalities in the global distribution of wealth and economic power;

·    Human-induced environmental constraints exacerbated by excessive energy consumption, bills for house rent/maintenance, costly living condition, etc., making it difficult for human well-being to be improved by conventional economic growth;

·    Continuing militarisation of security relations, including the further proliferation of drugs and lethal weaponry.

As a result of these trends, a combination of wealth-poverty disparities, limits to growth and poverty may contribute to future unsatisfied expectations. At the end of the twentieth century 1/7 of the world's population controlled 3/4 of its wealth, and 3/4 of humanity live in developing countries, a proportion which has been rising.

In this context, forecasters are giving serious consideration to predictions of a coming generation of conflicts fuelled by both local and global economic turbulence, environmental deterioration, north-south (and other) political tensions, drugs and weapons proliferation, and international crime impacting on “weak states”. As traditional patterns of authority and order are weakened, exclusionist policies linked to ethnic and religious identities emerge as alternative sources of loyalty. Looking at the kind of analysis we have considered here, most of the conflicts bedevilling the northern region (communal crises, kidnappings, armed banditry, farmer-header crisis, religious crises); and Nigeria at large that turned brutally violent are completely predictable and thus preventable.

Conflict mapping and prevention techniques

According to Tom Woodhouse, when the mapmakers of the old world came across terra incognita or unknown territory, they sometimes wrote on their maps, "beyond here be dragons". For peacekeepers and others working in contemporary conflict zones, there are dragons aplenty in the terra incognita of complex emergencies and protracted social conflict (PSC). A particular conflict can be understood and prevented by the use of conflict mapping and conflict tracking techniques.

We will move from how conflict, in general, can be understood at the macro-level, to how particular conflicts can be understood through a conflict mapping analysis at the micro-level (i.e., the component parts of a specific conflict). One of the first conflict mapping frameworks in Conflict Resolution was developed by Paul Wehr, from whom the guide here is adapted. The analysis of conflict is a necessary precondition for successful management and resolution. Conflict mapping provides a method by which to apply the broader guidelines provided by conflict analysis. Conflict mapping gives a clearer understanding of the origins, nature, dynamics and possibilities for resolution of the conflict; and with profiling, gives a clearer opportunity to predict future conflicts and take measure to prevent them from happening. A conflict map is an initial snapshot, to be regularly up-dated by conflict tracking and profiling techniques aimed at predicting a coming generation of conflicts fuelled by ethnicity, social, religious, political, communal or otherwise (analysis of a group or person's psychological, behavioural characteristics, violent tendencies so as to assess or predict their capabilities in a certain sphere; and address their root causes in order to prevent them from starting a crisis). This will include the use of algorithms or other mathematical techniques that allow the discovery of patterns or correlations in large quantities of data, aggregated in databases for the purpose.

The framework below provides a starting point by which we can gain an orientation and a good working understanding of the background to a conflict and to the actors and the issues they are pursuing. This analysis can be built upon and made more complex by adding other mapping features, for example, Section D. The relevance of this level of analysis will depend on the responsibilities held. Higher-level analysis of this kind is more likely to be conducted by those with strategic policy analysis roles in the military, diplomatic and political arenas. To map-out well, unless the nature and political intensity of a conflict arena is understood, outside intervention will be ineffective, if not counter-productive. In addition, the cultural dynamics of the conflict and its local peculiarity and population must be fully taken into consideration to avoid inappropriate and insensitive intervention processes.

Conflict Mapping Framework /Guide



A. Conflict Background

1. Map of the area

2. Brief description of the region/country

3. Outline history of the conflict.

B. The Conflict Parties

1. Who are the core conflict parties?

·         What are their internal sub-groups?

·         On what constituencies do they depend?

2. What are the conflict issues?

·         Is it possible to distinguish between positions, interests (material interests, values, relationships) and needs?

3. What are the relationships between the conflict parties?

·         Are there inequalities (asymmetries) of power?

4. What are the different perceptions of the causes and nature of the conflict among the conflict parties?

5. What is the current behaviour of the parties?

·         Is the conflict in an “escalatory” or “de-escalatory phase?

6. Who are the leaders of the parties?

·         At the elite/individual level, what are their objectives, policies, and interests?

·         What are their relative strengths and weaknesses?

C. Peacemaking Activities

1. What efforts have been made in the past to resolve the conflict?

2. What efforts are being made to resolve the conflict presently?

·         As a mediator (s)/peacekeeper, what is your role likely to be?

·         Is the role clear?

·         Do you have the expertise and resources to manage?

·         Who else in the area is involved in peacemaking efforts (either internal or external groups)?

·         Are you aware of other individuals or organisations in the area with which you might liaise?


D. National, Regional and State Level Context

1. National Level

·         Is the nature of the state contested?

·         Are there institutions or organisations that could provide legitimate spaces for managing the conflict? 

·         Regional and local Level

·         How do relations with neighbouring states and local societies affect the conflict?

·         Do the parties have regional/state/local supporters? Which regional/state/local actors may be trusted by the conflict parties?

3. International Level

·          Are there outside geo-political interests?

·         What external factors fuel the conflict?

·         What may change them?


(Analysis of a group or person's psychological, behavioural characteristics, violent tendencies so as to assess or predict their capabilities in a certain sphere; and address their root causes in order to prevent them from starting a crisis. This will include the use of algorithms or other mathematical techniques that allow the discovery of patterns or correlations in large quantities of data, aggregated in databases for the purpose).

·         Is the Adversary Satisfied with Its Current Position?

·         What Likely Future Moves or Strategy Shifts will the Adversary Make and How Dangerous are they?

·         Where is the Adversary Vulnerable?

·         What Will Provoke the Greatest and Most Damaging Retaliation by the Adversary?


During a three month period in 1994 an estimated 500,000-800,000, and in some estimates possibly up to one million people, were killed in the course of a genocidal civil war in Rwanda. Over two million people fled to become refugees in neighbouring countries, and up to one million became displaced within Rwanda. The conflict and its aftermath continue to trouble the Great Lakes Region within which Rwanda is situated.


  • In adopting the proposed five (5) year Arewa Regional Economic Plan discussed in Recommendation 1, it is vitally important to create Standing Committees (talents from various background and religion) with the primary objective to continuously track and map-out conflict and proffer solution for resolution, while monitoring people, groups and event with the sole aim of preventing would-be conflicts from happening; coordinated by the office of the Chairman, Northern States’ Governors Forum, or Northern Anti-Terrorists Agency (NATA) if created, can be saddled with this responsibility.


Strategic Data for Decision-Makers

Visualizing critical data that informs Arewa leaders and organizations of the region's unique characteristics.



Economic Development & Business Growth

Building trusting relationships among key players that spur the movement of ideas into action in an agile manner for the Arewa region.


Strategy & Planning

Promoting the development of a high quality multi-year plan that builds on the economic strengths of the entire Arewa region.



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