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AN OUTLINE OF ETHNIC MILITIAS IN NIGERIA

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Abstract The insurgent activities in north-eastern Nigeria have gained global attention since 2009 when the acclaimed leader of the group, Alhaji Mohammed Yusuf was killed in extra-judicial circumstances by the Nigerian state. The group anti-state activities have reached bloody levels resulting in countless loss of lives and destruction of property. To be sure, there is already a harvest of literature on the more regimented militant Niger-Delta insurgents such as the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) as well as the Islamic Boko Haram sect. This by no means forecloses further research. However, outline of ethnic militias can provide useful background to narrative of insurgent groups in the country. Thus, this article focuses mainly on ethnic militias in the country. It traces the emergence of the militia groups to activities of actors and factors in the nation’s political terrain especially towards the end of the last millennium underlined by the annulment of the June 12 presidential election in 1993. It objectives is to provide a general information on ethnic militias, namely: the O’odua People Congress (OPC), Bakassi Boys, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Egbesu boys, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) and Arewa People’s Congress (APC) for a better appreciation of the dynamics of the Nigerian situation. However, it goes on to argue that the activities of the militias are largely counterproductive as they accentuate ethnic rivalry and impede socio-economic intercourse and development of the country. In conclusion, article recommends good governance such that policy output would lead to improvement in the general wellbeing of the people.
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... Deve-se enfatizar, no entanto, que, na vigilância da democracia e do povo desde o início da quarta república na Nigéria, alguns grupos de vigilantes, especialmente aqueles governados por regras formais, nas grandes cidades, pareceriam ter tido um bom desempenho na complementação das estruturas formais de policiamento. Por outro lado, alguns parecem não ter se saído melhor com a democracia vigilante como nos casos daqueles com agenda conflitante (Akubor 2014 ...
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Nos últimos anos, grupos de vigilantes e outras estruturas informais de policiamento assumiram um papel maior na arquitetura de segurança de muitos países, especialmente aqueles que saíram da ordem autoritária. Apesar deste desenvolvimento, no entanto, questões e preocupações são constantemente levantadas sobre se eles realmente poderiam ser agentes do policiamento democrático contra o pano de fundo de sua propensão para violações de direitos humanos e assassinatos extrajudiciais. É contra esse cenário que este artigo examina o balanço de grupos de vigilantes em uma Nigéria em democratização. Após uma extensa revisão da literatura existente sobre grupos policiais, de policiamento, de vigilantismo e grupos de vigilantes, bem como estudos relevantes sobre grupos vigilantes na Nigéria, observa-se que ao contrário da prática em democracias liberais, onde grupos de vigilantes, - em conduta e prática - , seguem os princípios do estado de direito e constitucionalismo, o oposto é o caso de uma Nigéria em democratização Argumenta-se e conclui-se que enquanto os grupos de vigilantes, como os estabelecimentos formais de policiamento, continuam sendo instrumentos de intimidação política de opositores políticos pelos políticos que os controlam; o terreno do vigilantismo continuaria a ser no reino da "anocracia".
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The study examined nativism as the cause of the struggle for ownership and control of resources in Nigeria. It employed sociological, observation and formalistic methods of enquiry. The paper had five sections. The first section conceptualised nativism and used social identity theory to interrogate the concept. The term nativism is a discriminatory principle that confers some rights and privileges on people born as natives over others. The second section dealt with nativism in Nigeria. The paper argued that colonial administrators introduced the idea of nativism to Nigeria through their policies. The third section discussed the consequences of nativism that ranged from unhealthy competition, fear of domination, intolerance, and marginalisation. The paper also reviewed the steps taken by successive governments to remediate the situation. The last section suggested strategies for reducing nativism and how Nigeria can harness its potential as a developing society.
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Since the birth of the Fourth Republic on May 29 1999, Nigeria is experiencing increasing waves of ethnic conflicts, while its leaders engage in a series of ‘dialogue of the deaf’. For now, a great deal of literature has explored the causes of ethnic crisis and unsuitable solutions are being proposed for a wrongly diagnosed structural social malaise. Thus, this article examines the fundamental causes of ethnic violence, being championed by the various ethnic militia movements in post-military Nigeria, by emphasizing the impacts of institutional failure. Hence, it contends that the extreme dissatisfactions of some ethnic nationalities with the Nigerian post-colonial state are clear manifestations of the government failure to provide the necessary infrastructure and enabling environment required to ease the inordinate human degradation, disillusionment, anger, rural decay and high crime wave prevailing in the country. Thus, ethnic violence is created and maintained by militia movements in a vicious circle of frustration and repression as the Nigerian leadership tries to consolidate itself in power while the marginalised categories (ethnic minorities) of the population claim for their fair share in national resources. Finally, the study suggests that for the interest of peace and stability, there is the urgent need for immediate redress to the inherent lapses in Nigeria’s inherited federal structure, through a programmed professional participation that would be reflective of its peculiar socio-historical experiences.
Article
Summary The paper discusses the recently promoted view that organized insurgent violence should either be conducted by activists bonded together by social capital ties or self-interested quasi-mercenaries, depending on the type of financial resources available to the group. We contrast this perspective with the study of an ethnic Nigerian militia, the Oodua People's Congress (OPC). It appears that the success of this militia over time was jointly sustained by important preexisting social connections and numerous opportunities for economic gains. The perpetuation of OPC, we argue, is ensured by a "moral economy" whose members enjoy self-insurance in an environment perceived as unsafe.
Article
As the ethnic militias increased in strength after the transition to democracy, voices were raised whether they could pose a threat to the consolidation of democracy. In order to understand the problems that ethnic militias pose for the consolidation of democracy we try to show how they were established and how they have influenced the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria. Further, we ask if the ethnic militias have outplayed their role in Nigerian society. The main results show that the ethnic militias arose because of necessity, in an environment where ethno-nationalism was prevalent because of a repressive state’s inability to take care of its own people. The violent activities of the ethnic militias was not good for democracy in the short run, but as a counterweight to the state the ethnic militias played an important role in what can be described as civil society taken up arms. This militarising of society seems to have forced the state to take the ethnic militias more seriously. Hence, it can be claimed that the ethnic militias served as a midwife to the current Nigerian transitional democracy. However, as the state recognised the ethnic militias as a part of the political realm, and not just violent groups, the legitimacy for the ethnic militias eroded. The Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), which was the most influential ethnic militias in Nigeria, has now changed its agenda, and has not gone back to being the socio-cultural organisation as they were formed as. There is an important role for the OPC and the Niger Delta ethnic militias as a counterweight to the state, but dialogue should be the main way of communication, as violence will only foster violence. It seems clear that the state needs to take the first step in order to make this happen. The conclusion is that ethnic militias have had, and still have an effect on the consolidation of democracy by holding the state responsible for its actions, and by punishing the state when it does not act according to its people’s wishes. It can be claimed that they forced out democracy by highlighting the flaws of the Nigerian state even if the way they operated, was not democratic. By highlighting corruption, lack of law enforcement and unnecessary use of force, they were able to bring down the authoritarian rule and make way for the transition to democracy. However, they do not seem to pose a threat to consolidation in the short term, rather they can have a positive effect, as they can act a counterweight to the ruling elite and other forces obstructing democracy. As we show, ethnic militias are and have been a part of civil society, and the focus of the future should be how to incorporate them into civil society, especially the Niger Delta ethnic militias as they are still active. Ethnic militias (except for some ones in the Niger Delta) were a brief phenomena in Nigerian history, and the focus should be on understanding the reason for them coming into being, in order to avoid it happening again. This thesis tries to give a holistic view of the Nigerian political situation. This thesis fills a gap in the literature concerning ethnic militias, by incorporating the most important factors into a framework. This makes it easier to make an accurate conclusion on how they have affected democracy, and questions the opinion that militias were only harmful to Nigerian development. It is the author’s opinion that this thesis will give scholars a more nuanced perspective of the ethnic militias, and lead to more accurate research in the future. Thesis (MA (Political Science. International Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.
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