Explaining inter-ethnic harmony in Enugu city, South-eastern Nigeria, 1970-2003

Type Journal Article - African Journal on Conflict Resolution
Title Explaining inter-ethnic harmony in Enugu city, South-eastern Nigeria, 1970-2003
Volume 10
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Page numbers 111-136
URL http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajcr/article/viewFile/59309/47607..
Ethnicity is a prominent feature in Nigeria’s socio-economic environment and
is fervently exhibited within the context of the ‘indigene-settler dichotomy’. As
this encourages exclusivism, it has been a major factor responsible for violent
conflicts across the country. While many urban spaces in the country have
witnessed such conflicts, a few have not. This study examines the indigene-settler
inter-relations in Enugu to determine why and how the city sustained ethnic
coexistence, cooperation and harmony since the end of the civil war (1967–
1970). It demonstrates how, while ethnic attachment appeared to be strong,
and while conflicts and occasional tensions did occur in the city, inter-ethnic
relationships were cordial and symbiotic. It further identifies and interrogates
cogent factors responsible for this trend. The paper argues that the constructive management of ethnic conflicts, as demonstrated in the city, could be efficient
and productive. Despite optimism in Enugu’s peaceful condition, however, it
concludes that potential complications could emanate, as the factors responsible
for Enugu’s condition are amenable to change. Both primary and secondary
sources (eighty-six in-person interviews, twelve focus group discussions, archival
and secondary materials) were used within a multi-disciplinary framework.

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