Abuja, Nigeria. February 7th, 2017 – Latest public opinion poll results released by NOIPolls, which focused on the Kaduna crisis, have revealed a high sense of insecurity in Kaduna South senatorial district as reported by 44 percent, which formed the majority of the residents interviewed. Also, 34 percent of Kaduna residents confirmed that they have either lost a family member or a friend during the crisis, a deeper analysis by senatorial districts show that Kaduna South had the highest number of residents (51 percent) who recorded a loss, this is unsurprising as it the hotbed of the conflict. This figure is quite worrisome as it reflects not only the high state of insecurity in Southern Kaduna but also the huge loss of lives incurred during the period of the conflict as it was reported that about 800 people lost their lives and properties worth millions of naira were destroyed.
More findings also revealed that some of the causes of the recent conflicts in southern Kaduna were due to religious differences (38 percent), farmers and herdsmen misunderstanding (26 percent) and political differences (14 percent) amongst others. These findings further indicate that there is an urgent need to control religious intolerance and also solve the farmers and herdsmen crisis in the affected area in order for the citizens to enjoy undiluted peace that would in turn bring about growth and development of both the region and the nation. An assessment of Kaduna State’s residents also revealed that 45 percent rated the response of the security agent good or satisfactory when compared to other stakeholders, giving a majority hope and a good sense of security for their lives and properties. Interestingly, 60 percent stated that the security situation in Kaduna State has improved very much compared to two years ago and another 56 percent affirmed that they feel secure in their present location regardless of the conflict.
Lastly, as recommendations to prevent future conflicts in the state, residents advocate that the government should improve security in the state (35 percent), preaching of religious tolerance and peace (28 percent) and dialogue between religious leaders and stakeholders (12 percent) amongst other remedies. Therefore, the military base that was set up in Zango Kataf local government area is in line with the people’s thoughts and would go a long way to douse the crises rocking Southern Kaduna in recent times. In addition, there should be a thorough teaching of religious knowledge, from the primary level in all the national schools, with a special focus on tolerance. These were some of the key findings from the Southern Kaduna Conflict poll conducted in the week of February 1st, 2017.
The Southern Kaduna conflict has continued unabated over a period of three decades and half, during which many lives and properties were lost on both sides of the ethnic and religious divide. The 2011 post-election era witnessed an increase in these kinds of attacks in the state. The conflict has been designated as an ethno-religious crisis given that villages and towns in the southern part of the state have continued to experience incessant attacks by faceless groups. These constant attacks have recently ravaged suburbs and villages in Jama’a Local government area and other councils within the southern Kaduna territory; once again, lives and properties were lost and residents of the affected and neighbouring communities were forced to flee their homes.
The most recent attacks occurred before the yuletide season of 2016 and it is rumoured to have only ended recently having gained the attention of the international community. Across the Nigerian social and traditional media, there have been various theories regarding the cause of this conflict ranging from political/religious and ethnic differences to the trans-border nomadic culture of herdsmen and growing activism of host communities, especially the younger generation who may have been told stories regarding previous conflicts thereby fuelling and promoting hate amongst parties involved in the crisis.
Other theories as to the reason for the conflicts were; negligence or slow response on the part of the state government and the government at the centre, religious bigotry and ethnic chauvinism, especially expressed through the condemnation of others. The present government of the state has described as untrue the thoughts that the attacks in the southern part of the state is an orchestrated plot against Christians; stating that attacks are being carried out by some armed bandits that have been terrorising some states in the northern region. Another interesting theory as to why this conflict keeps re-surfacing has to do with some groups stating that religious leaders have been spreading false information on the unfortunate Southern Kaduna attacks and killings to amass foreign donations in order to enrich themselves.
At the moment, there seems to be a return to normalcy as the military has recently established a base in the troubled area with the intention of restoring peace and security. In view of this background, NOIPolls conducted a survey to gauge the perception of the residents of Kaduna state regarding the conflict in Southern-Kaduna; with the objective of finding out the cause of the perennial conflict and suggest ways to avert future occurrences.
The survey was solely focused on Kaduna State residents and as a screener question, 8 percent of the residents who claimed that they were not aware of the Southern Kaduna conflicts had their interviews terminated at this point. However, 92 percent affirmed that they were aware of the crisis continued their interview.
Further findings revealed that out of the 92 percent that are aware of the conflicts, 38 percent disclosed that religious differences served as the background that triggered the conflict and there are more female (48 percent) than male (27 percent) respondents who gave this assertion. Similarly, those aged 61 years and above had the highest percentage (56 percent) of the respondents who believed that the conflict erupted due to religious differences.
In addition, 26 percent mentioned that the crisis occurred as a result of the lingering misunderstandings between the farmers and the herdsmen on the basis of grazing lands and water sources disputes. The combination of a growing cattle population, the effects of climate change on the availability of water and forage crops, as well as the lack of access to some North-Eastern foraging grounds due to the Boko Haram crisis could contribute to the increasing tensions between farming communities and Fulani herdsmen.
Also, 14 percent attributed the cause to political differences among the elites whereas, 11 percent stated that it was because of ethnic differences. Some other mentions include ‘insecurity’ (2 percent), ‘sectarian differences’ (2 percent), intolerance and self-interest (2 percent) as the major cause of the conflict in Southern Kaduna among others.
The survey also assessed the direct impact of the conflict on the residents and results revealed that 34 percent of the respondents confirmed that they had either lost a family member or friend during the conflict. This figure is rather worrisome as it reflects not only the high state of insecurity in Southern Kaduna but also the huge loss of lives during the period of the conflict as it was reported that about 800 people lost their lives and properties worth millions of naira were destroyed. This is further supported by an analysis based on senatorial district which revealed that more residents (51 percent) from Kaduna South senatorial district (51 percent) recorded the highest percentage of Kaduna residents who lost either family member or a friend.
Subsequently, the poll sought to gauge the perception of Kaduna state residents regarding the responses of some stakeholders in the state in resolving the conflict and the poll revealed that a larger proportion (45 percent) of the respondents reported that the ‘security agencies’ response during the conflict was good and this is closely followed by those who mentioned ‘religious leaders’ (44 percent) while the ‘government’ had the poorest rating as declared by 44 percent of the respondents. An overall analysis of these findings show that the respondents had some level of satisfaction on the responses of the security agencies and religious leaders while respondents were not satisfied with the response of the government in resolving the conflict. Therefore, it is clear that a lot more needs to be done on the part of the government in preventing and resolving conflicts that may arise in the future.
The poll further sought to get the perception of Kaduna residents on the state of security over the last 2 years and analysis shows that 60 percent of the residents affirmed that the security situation in the state has relatively improved within the last 2 years. It is worthy to note that during the course of this survey, respondents disclosed that they are safer especially at night as they can stay late at night without fear of being attacked. On the contrary, 27 percent of the residents think that the state of security has not improved and respondents from Kaduna South senatorial district accounted for the largest proportion of respondents in this category.
The survey also gauged the extent to which the conflict has affected the residents’s sense of security in their present location and findings revealed that 56 percent (which formed the majority) of the respondents stated that they feel secure at their present locations despite the conflict and this assertion was made mostly by residents from Kaduna North senatorial district (68 percent). On the other hand, while 11 percent stated that they feel somewhat secure, 33 percent of the resident, which are mostly from Kaduna South senatorial district (44 percent), indicated that they do not feel secure in their present location. This reflects the perception of the residents of Kaduna and the need to create adequate security in the areas affected by the conflict as well as using diplomatic means to establish peace between the conflicting parties.
Lastly, the poll also sought to find out the expectations of Kaduna residents on what can be done to prevent these conflicts from re-occurring in the future and the larger proportion (35 percent) advocated that the government at all levels should improve on security in the affected area. This substantiated the recent move by the government to site a Forward Operation Base of 2 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Zango Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State for a quicker response should such conflict rear its ugly head in the future.
The perceived influence that many religious leaders may have on their congregation has also made 28 percent of the residents to advocate for the preaching of religious tolerance and peace as a preventive measure. Similarly, 12 percent called for a dialogue between religious leaders and various stakeholders to address the misunderstanding that has led to the conflicts among other remedies mentioned.
Conclusively, the recent poll results have revealed that 38 percent of the Kaduna state residents disclosed that the recent conflict in the Southern Kaduna was caused by religious differences, while 26 percent blamed the cause on farmers and herdsmen misunderstanding. The poll also revealed that 34 percent confirmed that they lost a family member or a friend to the conflict. More findings revealed that most Kaduna state residents rated the responses of the security agencies high (45 percent), when compared to other stakeholders during the conflict while 30 percent of the respondents feel secure in their present location. Also, the populace of Kaduna state believe that future occurrences can be prevented if government would consider improving security (35 percent) and if religious tolerance and peace is preached (28 percent) among other suggestions.
Finally, it is of utmost importance for the government to address the famers/herdsmen issues while other stake holders work to promote religious tolerance especially at the grassroots level and among the several religions practiced in the state. There should be a full commitment to peace and security by the concerned personnel and the perpetrators of these should be found and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent for others.
The opinion poll was conducted in the week of February 1st 2016. It involved telephone interviews of a random Kaduna State sample. 500 randomly selected phone-owning Kaduna residents aged 18 years and above, representing the three senatorial districts in the state, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 4%. NOIPolls Limited is the No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com
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