n African Journal on Conflict Resolution - Explaining inter-ethnic harmony in Enugu city, South-eastern Nigeria, 1970-2003

Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-6997


Ethnicity is a prominent feature in Nigeria's socio-economic environment and is fervently exhibited within the context of the 'indigene-settler dichotomy'. As this encourages exclusivism, it has been a major factor responsible for violent conflicts across the country. While many urban spaces in the country have witnessed such conflicts, a few have not. This study examines the indigene-settler inter-relations in Enugu to determine why and how the city sustained ethnic coexistence, cooperation and harmony since the end of the civil war (1967-1970). It demonstrates how, while ethnic attachment appeared to be strong, and while conflicts and occasional tensions did occur in the city, inter-ethnic relationships were cordial and symbiotic. It further identifies and interrogates cogent factors responsible for this trend. The paper argues that the constructive management of ethnic conflicts, as demonstrated in the city, could be efficient and productive. Despite optimism in Enugu's peaceful condition, however, it concludes that potential complications could emanate, as the factors responsible for Enugu's condition are amenable to change. Both primary and secondary sources (eighty-six in-person interviews, twelve focus group discussions, archival and secondary materials) were used within a multi-disciplinary framework.

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