FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Nigeria’s Pernicious Drivers of Ethno-Religous Conflict" from ACSS

Nigeria’s Pernicious Drivers of Ethno-Religous Conflict
by Chris Kwaja

I knew I would enjoy this recent paper published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) just from the title.  While personally I am quite judicious in my use of the word 'pernicious', in this paper's case, the author is justified in his use of the word.

In case you are unfamiliar, pernicious means:

-causing insidious harm or ruin; ruinous; injurious; hurtful.

I've included a few choice quotes from the author's paper that I thought you were enlightening and/or important.

-This began to change in the early 1990s following an adjustment in the distribution of indigeneship certificates. In Nigeria,
-Part of the problem is disconnected lines of authority. Police and the armed forces are centralized at the federal level, and all related security requests must be channeled to the national capital for consideration. This poses serious challenges for early  response and management of internal security at the state and local levels.

-The concept of indigeneship inherently divides Nigerians and undermines the democratic form of government that Nigeria aspires to uphold. Indeed, it undercuts the very notion of what it means to be Nigerian.
indigenes are "original" inhabitants of a local government area, or members of those ethnic groups that trace their lineage back to the area. All others are considered "settlers," or migrants. The distinction was initially intended to allay concerns among minority groups who feared that their traditional customs and authority structures would be overwhelmed and eroded by the expansion of larger ethnic and religious groups. However, in practice, the classification has often been used to determine who "belongs" to a particular locality, which in turn determines whether citizens can participate in politics, own land, obtain a job, or attend school.4 Accordingly, the indigeneship certificate is now a defining document in the day-to-day lives of many Nigerians.

The link above will take you to past security briefs.

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