Land Management and Violent Conflict in Ebonyi State, Nigeria
Main Article Content
The nature and character of conflicts in Africa have remained intractable. This is as a result of an unending agitations and fights among parties to the conflict, struggling to win at all cost. In Nigeria, the extent of conflict, especially communal has taken a dangerous shape as losses are counted unceasingly. Interestingly, the degree of eruptions and spread of violent communal conflicts, and claim of ownership of land by communal groupings in Ebonyi State have created a state of perceptible fear among Ebonyians with the attendant loss of lives and property and displacement of thousands of people. Violent communal conflicts have caused huge disarray in the state’s internal security situation and reached critical proportions, yet no systematic effort has been made to know the nexus between management of land in the state and persistence of violent communal conflict in the state. Thus, it was on this premise that the study examined how undocumented method of customary management of land account for the persistent violent communal conflicts in Ebonyi state, and how persistent occurrence of violent communal land contestation lead to forced population displacement in Ebonyi state. Methodologically, the study utilized documentary method, and data were analyzed using content analysis. The theoretical framework of analysis for the study was anchored on the theory of Eco-violence theory. The study found that predominance of communal land regimes which makes for management of land undocumented, and subsistence agricultural system where greater percentage of the people depended on were responsible for the continuous violent communal conflict in the state. The study recommended that Ebonyi State government should develop a land law in line with the 1978 Land Use Act that will make land available to peasant farmers in different communities, and also to develop a proactive mechanism that will detect early warning signals where violent communal conflict may likely occur in the State and set up a special panel to hear all land issues in different communities.