Sub-Ethnic Identity and Conflict in Nigeria: The Policy Option for the Resolution of the Conflict between Ezza and Ezillo in Ebonyi State
AbstractNigeria’s high level of ethnic diversity can explain the country’s ethnic based conflicts. Scholars have focused attention on explaining these inter-ethnic conflicts using political and linguistic differences as well as patterns of segregation as factors behind the conflicts. However, sub-ethnic identity conflicts are becoming increasingly common in Nigeria today. While such conflicts hardly attract academic attention relative to inter-ethnic conflict, they are capable of yielding theoretical insights into identity formation, ethnic transformation and the questions that border on citizenship. This study, therefore, analyzes the conflict between Ezza and Ezillo in Ebonyi State. It assesses the role of material interest and deep-seated animosity in the conflict between the two communities in a homogenous setting. It argues that the conflicts emanate from the interface between material interest and animosity. Our analysis indicates that the effects are deep-rooted and widespread. The study made use of documents and interviews as its method of data collection. It concludes that political factors, linguistic differences and patterns of ethnic segregation are found to be poor predictors of sub-ethnic identity conflict. It finally proffers a-people-oriented approach to conflict resolution.
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