Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Report
Title Nigeria: A Study into the Causes of Internal Conflict and Instability
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a589028.pdf
Abstract
The research sought to determine why internal conflict and instability still occur within Nigeria
after forty years of independent governance. The research had to determine what factors related to
the persistence of violence and internal conflict within Nigeria. The first step was an exploration
of how various civilian and military governments interpreted the Nigerian constitution and how
they governed. The founding constitution and subsequent constitutions defined the federal
government’s role in providing security, equal representation, a unified Nigeria, and economic
investment at both federal and state levels. Since the constitution provided ample authority to the
armed forces and federal police to maintain internal security, it was necessary to explore the
Nigerian security apparatus to determine why the security forces have not been able to establish
order and prevent violence. Stathis Kalyvas offered a theory about how violence can be used by a
government to obtain collaboration and control. The theory argues that the government through
proper application of selective violence can gain popular support. The final part of the research
was an analysis of the political and social factors that influence the effectiveness of the
representation system and the security apparatus. Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler offer a theory
about how greed and grievance create factors that may lead to civil war and internal conflict.
Analyzing these factors identified several social and political conditions that are strongly related
to the persistence of conflict in Nigeria.
The evidence showed that the constitution provided ample authority to federal government.
Further evidence indicated that Nigeria has nominally sufficient capability to provide internal
security absent other aggravating factors. The analysis of the security apparatus illuminated other
political and social factors that impede the creation of domestic order. The analysis of these
factors identified several social and political conditions that are strongly related to the persistence
of conflict in Nigeria. Those conditions are the quest by ethnic and religious groups for ethnic
conflict or religious dominance. The competition between these groups is impelled by economic
disparity and perceptions of political under- representation throughout Nigeria’s independent
history. Analysis of these factors during select Nigerian governments showed the factors to be
powerful impediments to stability and security in Nigeria. Thus, in Nigeria the various attempts at
constitutional government have neither ameliorated disparities in wealth nor attenuated the
competition between internal groups. Consequently, Nigeria is a polity that lacks a national
identity

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