Cecelia Geoffrey
Department of History and Diplomatic Studies
Federal University Wukari, Taraba state
Email: geoffrey@fuwukari.edu.ng

The Dera are regarded as one of the most peaceful ethnic groups in Adamawa. This research examines the political, economic and social relations that existed between the Dera and their earliest and closes neighbours- the Nunguraba from. The research aimed at analysing the forms of relations the Dera have had with the Nunguraba in pre-colonial and colonial Nigeria. Historical approach was adopted as a methodology to which primary and secondary sources were used including archival materials and oral interviews. Intergroup relations between the Dera and Nunguraba can be traced to the 19th century, when the two ethnic groups came into contact at the upper Benue and lower Gongola-Hawul River basin area of present-day Adamawa State. The findings of the research postulate that the Gongola-Hawul River played a vital role as a push and pull factor of the migration of these ethnicities to the area of research. As age-long neighbours, the Dera and Nunguraba had unique differences in their political organisations and system of inheritance. Colonialism and mission activities were two essential factors that led to a fundamental shift in the relations of the groups. The Nunguraba through colonialism became subjects of the Dera. As time evolved, they borrowed the Dera political system and system of inheritance. On the other hand, the once powerful Dera people through failure of leadership lost the enormous power they once wield on the Nunguraba at the dawn of Nigeria’s independence to the Nunguraba.
Keywords: Intergroup relations, migration, peace, interdependence, interactions

Inter-group relations is an essential ingredient for survival among humans. Man has always been in close relationship with his environment in different forms. Intergroup relations, recently alternatively used with “interethnic” and “international relations” refers to the manner people belonging to similar social groups perceive, feel, think and behave towards and interact with people of other groups (Hogg, 2013). These relations are often characterized by competition, conflict and exploitation, hostility, intolerance and prejudice which have become major challenges towards intergroup co-operation, compromise, tolerance and social harmony (Hogg, 2013). No man lives in absolute independence. Man is always compelled by many factors to be in constant contact and interaction with other beings as well as his environment for the need of food, shelter, clothing, marriage, war, trade, leadership etc. Co-operation has proved to be vital in inter-group relations among peoples of the world. All races and people throughout history have had reasons to interact with other groups. These relations have brought about both co-operation and alienation, the issues of Christian crusades and missions, Islamic Jihads, colonialism, racism, genocide, apartheid and Xenophobia as is the case in South Africa are all products of intergroup relations.

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