1.1 Background to the Study
Nigeria is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and multicultural society with enormous potential for socio-economic, industrial and democratic development (Imobighe, 2003). However, intense conflicts and violence that manifested within the nation even right from the colonial rule have plagued and crippled effective development and progress in the country (Aliyu, 2009). Nigeria, like other African countries has been bedeviled by several forms of conflicts that have posed a mortal challenge to the State and its structures (Gyong and Ogbadoyi, 2013).
Nigeria as a nation is usually characterized as a deeply divided state in which major political issues are vigorously contested along the lines of complex ethnic, religious, and regional divisions (Eghosa, 2009). According to Bassey and Oshita (2007:57), ethno-religion is one of the most personal, but emotive phenomena and it is an important area that generates the most pervasive conflict in Nigeria, the resolution of which can hardly be effected durably. Hence, ethno-religious conflict occurs when the ultimate goal of conflict is of ethnic and religious nature and such conflicts are often associated with ethnic or religious sentiments. Thus, the usage of the concept denotes the fact that all crises that have religious and ethnic undertones are ethno-religious conflicts (Yakubu, 2005:19).
In Nigeria, an unprecedented number of conflicts arising from mostly religious-based disputes have been witnessed in some parts of the country since 2009 and the causes of these ethno-religious conflicts may be connected with the way and manner in which religion is portrayed to its adherent followers as well as mistrust between the followers of the various religious and ethnic groups which results in ethno-religious crises (Aliyu, 2009). As a matter of fact, deeply divided states tend to be fragile and unstable because there are fewer points of convergence and consensus among the constituent groups than are required to effectively mitigate or contain the centrifugal forces that tear the society apart (Eghosa, 2009).
It is incontrovertible to say that ethno-religious crises have strong implications for the socio-political and economic developments of Nigeria and this is captured by the comments made by the former President of the country, Gen. Obasanjo when he asserted that violence has reached unprecedented levels and hundreds have been killed with much more wounded or displaced from their homes on account of their ethnic or religious identification whilst schooling children has been disrupted and interrupted; businesses have lost billions of naira and properties are destroyed (Gyong and Ogbadoyi, 2013). It has been estimated that since the transition to civilian rule in May 2009, no less than ten thousand lives have been lost to religious-based violence (Presidential Committee, 2002).
Suffice to say that nearly every part of Nigeria has experienced one form of crises or the other with attendant consequences. Apart from Kano State, Kaduna which is the case study area for this study, has registered more than any other city in Nigeria, a superlative number of ethno-religious disturbances ever in the history of Nigeria (Ikejiani-Clark, 2007:526). In Kaduna State, there have been conflicts leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties in Kasuwan Magani in 2010, Kaduna in 2013, Gure/Kahugu in 1986, Kafanchan in 1987, Kaduna in 1987 and Zango Kataf in 1992, Kafanchan in 2009 and Kaduna, Kachia and Birnin Gwari in February 2000 (Okoye, 2000: xii-xiv), and in 2002 (occasioned by the introduction of Sharia legal system and the Miss World pageant) (Gyong and Ogbadoyi, 2013). During these periods, many people,…..
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Due to the strategic position of Nigeria in Africa, the country has become a receptacle of arms flowing from other war-torn countries of the African region and the sources and level of these illegal small arms in circulation in Nigeria can hardly be ascertained. It is believed that the frequency of political and ethno-religious violence has led to arms build-up in the country. As from January to September 2007, the Former Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro, revealed that about 1,582 arms and 6,614 rounds of ammunition were recovered from various parts of the country (Gyong and Ogbadoyi, 2013). Local observers have estimated that few thousand weapons melted down from the cameras is only a fraction of the number of weapons in circulation. The sources of these illegal small arms remain a mystery.
Given this observation, it is also difficult to say categorically the sources of illegal small arms and light weapons in Kaduna State, as Gyong and Ogbadoyi (2013) rightfully posited. If it is so, the question then is, how can one identify the various sources of illegal small arms and light weapons in Kaduna State? The next question would be; what are the causes of the proliferations of illegal small arms and light weapons in Kaduna State? Some people are of the view that ethno-religious groups might have equipped their followers and thugs with various weapons ahead of time, which are either smuggled into the country or produced locally to perpetuate violence (Olorunfemi, 2006:34). This may be connected with the fact that most of the crises in the State are either fought along ethnic or religious lines.
In Nigeria, Kaduna state more than any state, seems to have become can be referred to as ‗hot bed‘ because of the constantly generating religious crises of high magnitude in the area (Agbese, 2002). The ethno-religious crises in Kaduna metropolis have led to destruction of lives and properties and displacement of people. Suffice to say that most of the deaths recorded and injuries sustained in this ethno-religious conflicts are believed to be caused by small arms and light weapons illegally acquired by the inhabitants of the area. Many researchers believed that the availability and use of these weapons is believed to fuel ethno-religious conflicts, with untold consequences on development.
In spite of these attempts of the Federal Government of Nigeria to abate the illegal use of small arms and light weapons, proliferation and use of these offensive weapons continue unabated. This therefore appears to show that the entire situation has surpassed government solutions. What then is responsible for this? Since the obvious causes of conflicts in Kaduna tend to be rooted in religious, economic and social inequalities and imbalance among people in the area, which are often not properly resolved, it is possible to anticipate more eruptions which leads to the desire then may be to keep these weapons in case of a relapse of the conflicts.
It is against this backdrop that this study seeks to examine the impact of ethno-religious crises on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Kaduna State, with the view to proffering possible solutions to incessant proliferation of small arms and light weapons and frequent ethno-religious crises in Kaduna State
1.3 Objective of the Study
The aim of this study is to assess the impact of ethno-religious crises on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Kaduna State. The objectives of this study are as follows:
1. To examine the various sources of illegal small arms and light weapons in Kaduna state
2. To discuss the causes of the frequent proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Kaduna state
3. To assess the impacts of the ethno-religious crises on proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Kaduna state
4. To proffer possible solutions to frequent reported cases of insecurity in Kaduna state
1.4 Research Questions
This present study will provide answers to the following questions:
1. What are the various sources of illegal small arms and light weapons in Kaduna state?
2. What are the causes of the frequent proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Kaduna state?
3. What are the impacts of the ethno-religious crises on proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Kaduna state?
4. What are the possible solutions to frequent reported cases of insecurity in Kaduna state?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
This research study will be guided by the following null hypotheses:
H01: The proliferation of small arms and light weapons does not lead to increase in ethno-religious conflicts in Kaduna State
H02: There are no frequent cases of proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Kaduna
H03: Ethno-religious crises have no impact on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Kaduna state
1.6 Significance of the Study
Small arms and light weapons are capable of aggravating conflict in Nigeria, hence, this study shall provide a conceptual framework that will address the problems of small arms and identify the gaps in the field of study. This research will serve as a useful guide to policy makers on how best to tackle the issue of religious violence and proliferation of illegal arms in the country. Similarly, this study will also serve as a good source of information by Nigerian policy makers, constitutional lawyers, students of criminology and sociology including politicians and professionals in crises and conflict management as it would also identify loopholes and adopt
strategies to be adopted in the fight against the proliferation of small arms in the sub-region (Kaduna) and Nigeria. Furthermore, the international community will be more aware of Nigeria‘s policy and approaches on religious-based violence and proliferation of illegal arms. This study will serve as a starting point for further research by other scholars who might be interested in this area of study. Furthermore, this study will not only add to the body of existing literature, but it will also explore fresh options to contain the spread of small arms and light weapons in the sub-region (Kaduna) and Nigeria in particular.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study will be centred in Kaduna. The choice of Kaduna as the study area is because Kaduna state more than any other state in Nigeria, has witnessed more large scale of ethno-religious crises more than any state in the nation; hence it is referred to as ‗hot bed‘ because of the constantly generating religious crises of high magnitude in the area. For the study, the five local governments viz Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Makarfi, Sabon-Gari and Zaria Local Government Areas were selected out of the twenty local government areas in Kaduna State. The choice of these local governments were based on the fact that the selected local governments have witnessed ethno-religious crises in the past years. Furthermore, religion and ethnicity are very sensitive issue and as such, opinions to be generated in this study will cover personal views and perceptions of individuals from Police Force and religious institutions located within the five selected local governments on the impact of ethno-religious crises on proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Kaduna Metropolis.
1.8 Limitations to the Study
The limitation to the research will be that, the study will not cover the crises that occurred that are not related to ethno-religious crises