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Indigene/ Settler Dichotomy And Its Effect On Conflicts

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Download complete project material on Indigene/ Settler Dichotomy And Its Effect On Conflicts from chapter one to five 


The negative consequences of the Wukari conflict and other similar conflicts in Nigeria have stimulated the debate on citizenship in the country. This debate is driven by questions that hinge on contestable issues such as who is an indigene in Nigeria, why should other Nigerians be termed non-indigenes, settlers, migrants in other parts of the country and what should be the rights of Nigerian citizens? Using the Wukari conflict as an example, this project work deals with the trajectory of the Nigerian citizenship crisis evoked by Nigerian experiences of discrimination when living in places other than where they come from. It suggests that for the citizenship crisis to be tackled, Nigerians from all backgrounds must enjoy boundless access to basic rights and freedom wherever they live in the country; besides this, citizenship contestation and the conflicts it rolls out represents a danger for national integration.


Title page







1.1  Background of the Study

1.2  Problem Statement

1.3  Research Question

1.4  Aims and Objectives of the Study

1.5  Hypothesis

1.6  Scope and Limitation of the Study

1.7  Research Methodology

1.8  Definition of Terms


2.1 Introduction

2.2 A Brief Historical Perspective of the Jukuns

2.2.1 Jukun Rulers of Wukari, with Title ‘Aku Uka’ between 1833 till Date

2.3 Wukari Crisis: The Building Blocks

2.4 The February and May 2013 Episode

2.5 Theoretical Framework

2.5.1 Importance of the Theory


3.1 Introduction

3.2 Economic Resources (Land and Territory Issues in Conflict)

3.3 Socio-Cultural Factors

3.4 Political Factors

3.5 Wukari

3.5.1 Ethnic Composition and Culture

3.5.2 Economy

3.5.3 Population

3.5.4 Urban and Rural Settlement

3.5.5 Religion

3.6 Zango Kataf 1992 Inter-Communal Conflicts

3.6.1 Causes of the Zango Kataf 1992 Inter-Communal Conflict


4.1 Introduction


5.1 Introduction

5.2 Summary

5.3 Conclusion

5.4 Recommendations




1.1 Background of the study

Nigeria is a country with extraordinary diversity. It has more than 250 ethnic groups with each social ethnic boundary manifesting its unique character; however, socio economic considerations have resulted in many waves of human movements within the country. The receptiveness of settlers into new locations have been a major problem in intergroup relations, this work examines the complexity of indigene/settler inter group dynamics in Nigeria.

It draws extensively on account of historical migration of the Wukari nationalities, ethnic and race in both pre colonial to post colonial periods. It also identifies the pull and push factors, which facilitated contact among  diverse groups and sought the implication of these in, interethnic cooperation and conflict, it finally explores ways of achieving harmonious coexistence among the increasing antagonistic interests in Nigeria.

Globally, communal crisis, religious, ethnic, inter and intra-state conflicts appear to have remained the most destabilizing feature of politics in the third world countries especially in Africa. In Nigeria, since the return to civil rule in 1999, domestic instability arising from ethno religious, inter and intra communal conflicts of varying degrees and dimensions have been recorded.

The implications of these crises to national security, development and democratic survival and consolidation are well captured in the works of Jega, (2002); Osaghae and Suberu, (2005); Nwaomah, (2011); Egwu, (2013); Nwanegbo (2012); Salawu, (2010); Osaghae, (1992); Fawole and Bello, (2011); Imobighe, (2003); and Egwu (2003). The humanitarian tragedies that have accompanied these ethno-religious violence have been prohibitive (Egwu, 2013:26; Nwanegbo 2012:29).

Studies over the years have shown that indigene/ settler dichotomy and issues of citizenship that is rooted in the nebulous national constitutional misconstruction and discriminatory tendencies of elitist politics have been the reinforcing factors for ethno-communal violence in Nigeria (see Ojukwu and Onifade, 2010; Aluaigba, 2008).Thus, the political use and misuse of citizenship and indigeneship has promoted dual conceptual explanations and application of the notion of indignity. In this regard, a Nigerian citizen may be excluded or denied opportunities in Nigeria owing to his/her parental genealogy.

Nigerians, who have their ethnic genealogy elsewhere, even if they were born in a particular state or lived all their lives there, are regarded as “settlers” (Ibrahim, 2006). This discriminatory tendency especially at the local levels has been a major and potential source of conflict. For instance, discrimination on the basis of indigenship or citizenship is quiet problematic because it is directly tied to individual or group access to societal resources including political opportunities this has served to further sharpen the “we” and “you” divide . Therefore issues such as land ownership, power and authority or Rulership, external sponsors of conflicts are what will be considered in this work.

The Tiv-Jukun conflict is among the numerous ethnic conflicts that have blotted stability and instigated economic and social dislocation in Nigeria lately. The conflict is one of the protracted inter-ethnic feuds (Egwu, 1998: 65; Irin, 2001: 2) that have occurred in 1959, 1980, 1990 and 2001. Like for conflicts such as the Zangon-Kataf conflict in Kaduna State, Aguleri-Umuleri in Anambra State, the Mango-Bokkos conflict in Plateau State, the Ife-Modakeke feud in Oyo State and so on; the land factor has been one of the central issues stimulating clashes between the Tiv and the Jukun people (Egwu, 2004: 56).

The reason why land remains a predisposing factor in the escalation of violence between these two ethnic groups is the role played by the use of the indigene-settler divide as a tool for claiming their right to it. For the Jukun, the Tiv are settlers in the present day Taraba State and ipso facto have no ownership right to the land they occupy. The Tiv on the other hand, argue that they have been living there for long and therefore claim both land ownership and political rights in the State, particularly in the Wukari Local Government Area. These conflicting claims shave triggered bloody clashes in the past; the most recent one happened in 2001. This indigene-settler division has been responsible for conflagration and souring relations between ethnic groups involved in the other conflicts mentioned above.

The problem of all these claims and counter claims by different ethnic nationalities across Nigeria is that it pitched one ethnic or sub-ethnic group against another. These inter- and intra-ethnic wars have led to colossal losses of lives and properties in the country, even more so since 1999 when the country returned to civil rule (Imobighe, 2003: 1; Omotola, 2006: 748).

Most significantly, this development has induced a debate articulated on broader questions such as: Who is an ‘indigene’? Who is a ‘settler’? Why should certain groups be qualified as ‘settlers’ in certain parts of Nigeria? Who really is a Nigerian citizen? What rights should a Nigerian citizen enjoy? Should such rights be enjoyed in one location and be denied in another part of the country? What is the position of the 1999 Constitution on the issue of citizenship rights in Nigeria?

Using the Tiv-Jukun ethnic conflict as a reference case, the paper assesses the unsettled question of citizenship evoked by the ‘indigene-settler’ syndrome. It examines how the issue of citizenship rights has fuelled and prolonged the Tiv-Jukun conflict in particular and other similar conflicts in general. This paper is a descriptive analysis based on qualitative data obtained from data acquired from secondary sources.

1.2 Statement of Problem

The challenge to be addressed is that less efforts  are geared towards this root cause of other major conflicts and the issue of migration and the divide and rule policy of the colonial era has fostered this feud to a wider range therefore what can the government of Nigeria do to help curb this type of conflict. The discriminatory tendencies ushered by these influences in Wukari area would also be compounded.

1.3 Research Questions

  1. a) How is indigene settler feud a major source of conflict in Wukari?
  2. b) How did deep rooted aggravations between ethnic groups lead to a protracted conflict in Wukari?
  3. c) What is the place of citizenship and indigeneship in Nigeria?
  4. d) How is divide and rule policy/ migration a source of settler/ indigene feud?

1.4 Aims and Objectives of the Study

This study seeks to achieve the following objective;

  1. The extent to how indigene/ settler fend a major source of conflict
  2. To understand how deep rooted aggravations between ethnic groups lead to long term conflicts in Wukari.
  3. To evaluate the place of citizenship and indigeneship in Nigeria.
  4. To establish how divide and rule policy/ migration has led to indigene/ settler feud.

1.5 Hypothesis

The idea of a place of belonging is a strong need in every individual, therefore, where ever humans are found, there is always a major sense to territorial ownership and rule and this natural instinct pushes one to seek to protect and promote growth within the territory, therefore, an individual’s right to rule and access every resource needed for growth Is welcomed, but it is only threatened, when there is an opponent, who has the same need for sense of belonging and is contesting for the same right to rule, but it’s not welcomed therefore rivalry that erupts can lead to further levels of conflicts.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

This thesis is to address indigene/ settler feud in Nigeria but will specifically base its work within the Wukari Local government Area of Taraba State, understanding the dynamics of Tiv versus Jukun crises.

1.7 Research Methodology

The data analysis to be used in this study is from secondary sources which include textbooks, journals, articles, newspapers, papers presented at seminars, online materials and other materials relevant to the study.



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