1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Man’s insatiable want and competition for virtually all necessities of life has often pitched him against his neighbours and his environment. This situation is further complicated by the inadequacy of life’s needs such as shelter, food and security. All these have combined to precipitate disasters, conflicts and crises. Implicitly, man has lived with conflicts and crises since ancient times (Joseph, 1980:1). Conflict is defined as a condition of disharmony or hostility in relations (Mbachu, Eze, 2009:6). Conflicts usually occur as a result of clash of interests between societies, groups or states that are pursuing common but opposing goals (Okon, 2003:67). The many years of the Cold War between the Western and Eastern bloc was a vivid example of clash of interests as a source of conflict. Crisis, on the other hand, is a condition of instability or danger that may lead to a decisive change (Ibid:12).
Some African countries have experienced crises resulting from clash of interests or mismanaged disputes, while some of these crises are localized within towns, regions or nations, others transcend international boundaries. The crises in Liberia for instance, which started as an internal crisis quickly escalated beyond its borders into contiguous nations of Guinea and Sierra-Leone. Similarly, the Rwandan genocide, involving the Tutsi and Hutus, spilled over to neighbouring Uganda and Burundi thereby confirming that conflicts, once started may not be easy to localise to a specific place (UN Paper on Perspectives on Conflict and Securing Peace, 2001:3).
Notwithstanding the scope of a crisis and people involved, crises may either be armed or unarmed, interstate or intrastate and can be classified in terms of its intensity as high, low or violent (Ibid:2). Most crises in Africa in recent times have been intrastate. Nigeria has experienced various crises situations in recent times. Crises such as the Kaduna and Ife-Modakeke crisis of 2000, Tiv-Jukun/Fulani crisis of 2001 and Jos crisis of 2009 are some of the effects of conflicts in Nigeria. These crises have had their roots in factors such as religious, ethnic, social, economic, political or a combination of these factors. Irrespective of the causes, these crises have led to loss of lives and properties, dislocation in governance and threaten the basis of Nigeria’s national security.