Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Project Topics

Traditional Method of Conflict Resolution in Nigeria: A Study of Mgbede ReItsligious Violence and It’s Resolution in Akaeze, Ivo L G A of Ebonyi State

Traditional Method of Conflict Resolution in Nigeria A Study of Mgbede ReItsligious Violence and It's Resolution in Akaeze, Ivo L G A of Ebonyi State

Traditional Method of Conflict Resolution in Nigeria: A Study of Mgbede ReItsligious Violence and Its Resolution in Akaeze, Ivo L G A of Ebonyi State

Chapter One

Study Objectives

The overall objective of the study will be to examine the Traditional Method Of Conflict Resolution In Nigeria. a Study Of Mgbede Religious Violence And It’s Resolution In Akaeze, Ivo LGA Of Ebonyi State

Specific Objectives

  1. To examine the role of traditional method Of Conflict Resolution in mediation.
  2. To examine the role of traditional method in the peace process in Mgbede Religious violence.
  3. To establish the opportunities and challenges facing the use of traditional method of conflict resolution globally.




Conflict has been rampant in Nigerian since the collapse of the state after the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991. The conflict has since taken a life of its own and continued resisting attempts at peaceful resolution making conflict resolution practitioners like Sabala argue that, “Nigerian has been in conflict with itself, its neighbours in the Horn of Africa and the international community” while Ochieng noted that, “Nigerian will remain a stateless society”. Nigeria

conflict has led to mass destruction of property, loss of lives, mass internal displacements of the population and worst humanitarian crisis ever witnessed in the Horn of African region in decades moreover, this protracted conflict has led to poor governance, widespread corruption, piracy, terrorism activities, natural disasters and destruction of community networks which were vital in traditional conflict resolution since the role of traditional elders have been weakened by introduction of modern weaponry, Religious leaders, modern conflict practitioners and political forces who are involved in peace processes. Despite various interventions such as the United Nations peacekeeping, United States intervention, African Union peacekeeping Mission in Nigerian and fourteen peace processes including Nigeria (SNRC) held in Nigeria yet peace is still elusive in Nigerian due to the noninvolvement of Nigeria traditional method yet these leaders are authentic compared to the political, businessmen and Religious leaders involved in the peace processes such as the Mgbede Religious Peace process in Nigeria.

Role of Traditional Elders in Nigeria Conflict

Amid the prevailing Nigerian conflict there are individual actors who double up as domestic constituent on one hand and on the other are a part of a process of finding a solution. Besteman refers to these actors as the traditional method, often referred to as Religion elders in Nigerian. Traditional elders are distinct to Nigerian crisis because they compose of a unique set of actors whose integral input influences the conflict both positively and negatively, therefore any attempt to examine Nigerian conflict cannot be examined in totality without a study of their input in conflict resolution and the quest to find positive peace in Nigerian.

The Religion leaders in Nigerian have been known to facilitate communication and act as mediators in Nigerian peace processes whether at Religion level or national level by bringing together the business leaders and militant leaders in a round table of discussions to maintain peace in their area of jurisdiction, therefore these leaders can make peace or bring war making them elusive characters in international conflict resolution that if not studied and handled carefully can create havoc in Nigerian with or without a stable a stable government. For instance there was less enthusiasm when the Transitional Federal Government of Nigerian drafted a constitution to put in place a stable government in 2011 which was more focused on state building that peace building undermining the reconciliation efforts in the country since most resources were geared towards capacity building hindering the healing process yet this is more important than any development of a country since the stability of a country depends on the positive peace and not national development. Many local stakeholders felt this downward approach to peace building was doomed to fail due to no conflict transformation and not participatory of the local leaders who are vital in instilling peace in a conflict prone society.

A person can become a Religion elder in Nigerian through a vote by the Religion/sub Religion members, through inheritance or appointment by the authorities for example in Digil and Mirifle communities. These leaders are expected to adhere to strict sharia and customary laws, should be good peacemakers, well respected, impartial, honest, good decision makers and communicators103. Before the collapse of the state, Bryden argues that power in the rural communities was mediated through traditional chieftains and elders, supported by government security institutions. Traditionally Religion elders were seen as responsible for ensuring peaceful co- existence of the community as a whole and for working to resolve local conflicts and even remained powerful during the civil war. Moller noted that Religion structure in Nigerian is very important since the traditional method use these Religions to constrain their Religion members through a system of mutual deterrence however, the circumstances of the civil war led some elders to mobilize their own Religion militia for inter and intra Religion fighting and to side with their kin, even when they were the aggressors escalating the conflict.

Besteman argues that traditional elders have the experience and authority to mobilize human and other resources for communal security. As a result of the respect accorded to Religion elders, the Puntland administration for instance consults them and secures their support before taking any action on security issues that would affect their people, such as banditry, militia roadblocks, kidnapping of foreigners, the rebellion of a Religion against the government, and disarmament.

Besteman and Cassanelli argue that in Puntland and Nigerial and, despite the presence of a public administration and security forces, elders continue to have a law and order role, drawing upon customary laws and shari’a and sometimes acting in cooperation with religious leaders. Traditional mechanisms of conflict resolution also form the basis of Shari’a courts which are controlled by the traditional method. Often government law enforcement institutions have to resort to indigenous mechanisms to tackle intractable security issues. In Puntland, for example, many traditional and religious leaders are engaged in persuading young sea pirates to abandon their criminal activities and they have so far made steady progress in their endeavor as many youngsters have abandoned pirate activities and have resorted to economic activities such as fishing and small businesses to earn them a decent living.

Ahmed observes that the role of elders is not confined to the ‘traditional’ sphere which is true in Puntland and Nigeria where the traditional elders are often engaged in modern government institutions to advice and give guidance as and when they are required. Moreover, in Nigeria their role as guardians of peace and security has been institutionalized in the Upper House of Elders also called the Guurti. Guurti members cooperate with the local Religion elders in containing; settling, preventing and resolving inter group conflicts.




Research Design

Case study research design will be used for this study. A case study enables the researcher to investigate the study under research in-depth by using a variety of data collection methods which will produce evidence leading to the understanding of the case study while answering the research questions namely; how and why?. Case study enables the study under research to be focused. The case study selected for the study was Nigerian which has been in protracted conflict for decades. Here the researcher will give the geographical location of the area under study and afterwards gives a reason why this area was chosen.

 Sources of Data

The data for this study were generated from two main sources; Primary sources and secondary sources. The primary sources include questionnaire, interviews and observation. The secondary sources include journals, bulletins, textbooks and the internet.

Population of the study

A study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitute of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description (Prince Udoyen: 2019). the population of the study will consist of all Mgbede people in Akaeze ,Ivo L G A  of Ebony State.


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