Dauda Ayuba

Centre For Conflict And Peace Studies

University of Jos


Bala Thomas Mabiri

Centre For Women And Gender Studies

University of Jos


For over the past two decades now, violent conflicts have been a recurring decimal in Plateau State, most especially within most communities in Northern senatorial district. However, this paper examines the simmering conflicts and the role the state Government in promoting sustainable and positive peace building. Anchored on eclectic model of conflict analysis and with heavy reliance on secondary data, this study examined violent conflicts and strategies/approaches employed by the state government in achieving peace. The study x-rayed the effectiveness of workable and suggestive solutions employed by the Plateau State Government in bringing lasting peace within northern senatorial district. 


Emerging and dominant ethno-religious divisions and violent conflicts are an on-going feature of the global order and landscape in most states in Nigeria to include Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Borno, Osun, Imo, Zamfara, Niger and Plateau. These states provide insight into the dynamics and impact of ethno-religious violent conflicts. In societies where these elements are common place, many things go wrong and both people and the order in the world are deeply affected negatively. 1 Africa has had its share of ethnic-related conflicts in countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Nigeria, and Rwanda. A widely observed trend in these global and continental cases is that ethnicity and religion become a source of conflict when they pervade the political space to mobilize support for or promote specific ethnic, political and economic agendas. 2

The State in its holistic and modern senses, nature and characteristics is a product and generator of conflict situations and a promoter of peace-building in the society. 3 This is particularly evident in the fact that at any point in time, the State represents certain specific social, political, economic and general material interest of certain dominant social group(s) in the society and which also control it. However, it is very important to note that conflicts are inevitable facts of socio-economic existence. Dumoye emphasized that in any social formation, conflict is as inevitable as co-operation. Conflicts may be functional to the social system by creating a form of social cohesion within groups; but it is the dysfunctional aspect of conflicts that are detrimental to the survival of the State. 4 Thus, conflict is a barometer for testing the fragility or otherwise of every State and creates the basis for future remedy and adjustments.

Ethnic and religious violent conflicts in Plateau state seems to have increased in frequency as well as severity since the turn of the century particularly, since the return to democratic rule in Nigeria. There are some consensuses that the generally accepted peace which prevailed in the state before 2000 has been shattered; this is largely attributed to the inability of the state actors to be in the fore-front of managing conflict and promoting sustainable peace-building. 5 Successful civilian administrations since 2001 had adopted several constitutional and institutional remedies towards the resolutions of these conflicts and process of peace-building. These includes; setting up commissions of enquiries, establishment of developmental institutions and peace agency, creation of grazing reserve areas for herdsmen, the use of armed forces, provision of political opportunities, seizure of lands (under the land use decree) and the provision of additional incentives to resource producing communities. Most of these measures had rarely worked while some were seen as pacification methods and mere palliatives. 6

This paper seeks to evaluate and examine previously outlined recommendations and implementations and in so doing, establish what is required to transform them into action, developing and recommending a state-wide strategic peace-building framework for Plateau state guided by conflict transformation theory which defines and crafts relevant programmes, policies and institutions to achieve these recommendations. Most importantly, examining the usefulness and relevance of these state actors in peace-building programs, policies and institutions in the context of Plateau state and providing clarity on the implementation of these recommendations and the role of the state in so doing.

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