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Inter-Group Relations in the Lower Benue Valley Since 1900: What Went Wrong?

By Aboki Associates

Summary

This work examines why the Lower Benue Valley communities that were erstwhile at peace with themselves have now earned a reputation as an area noted for orgy of violence along the Settler-Indigene divide. In fact, the continuous struggle between groups of the zone has intensified with attendant consequences of group distrust, suspicion, antagonism and tension culminating in violent expressions. Thus, the Lower Benue area has been stigmatised as an area known for violence.
Specifically, the work sees the changing trend of peaceful and mutual co-existence to the divisive legacy of colonialism which emphasised the differences of the people by bringing to the fore that, the people and communities were separated from great distances, differences of history and traditions, ethnology, political, social and religious barriers. Closely related, the nature and character of colonialism was economically exploitative.
The work also argues that, even at independence, party politics emerged as a means of gaining power to enhance economic wellbeing of the political class and their friends, (prebendal politics) hence, the Lower Benue Valley communities have devised the means of survival, which is exploring the phenomenon of settler-indigene, so that, other communities are excluded in the scheme of things in order to benefit from power and resources alone, which often leads to violent conflicts.
The work suggests that, when the diverse ethnic groups in the Lower Benue Valley are shown a sense of belonging, and they participate in the decision making through Democracy and the political class is determined to provide good governance: peace, harmony, accommodation, tolerance and the mutual co-existence that once existed in the Lower Benue Valley will return.
Inter-Group Relations in the Lower Benue Valley Since 1900: What Went Wrong?
 
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Abstract

Communities that make up the Lower Benue Valley, all migrated from different areas to the Lower Benue Valley because of the valley’s attractive features and fertile soil. There existed a kind of mutual harmony as peaceful co- existence reigned between groups that arrived later i.e. host-settler communities. In other words, tolerance, accommodation, patience and love existed between the communities. Even when conflicts arose, they were amicably resolved thereby strengthening inter-group relations through the conflicts. Something later went wrong. What, went wrong? 

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Aboki Associates

Aboki Associates

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