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1.1 Background to the Study
Many countries in sub-Saharan region in Africa have been plagued with ethnic and religious conflicts. Nigeria has not been immune to such conflicts. The country has and continues to witness high levels of ethnic and anti-state violence. Ever since independence from Britain in 1960 the African nation of Nigeria has been torn apart by wars, violence and ethnic conflicts.
The frequency of conflicts leading to violence and extensive destruction of lives and property especially since the early 80s in many countries of the world can without exaggeration be traced to many factors. Some of these factors are political, economic, ethno-religious conflicts and land boundary issues. Most of these conflicts are often presented as either ethnical or religious in nature, and oftentimes both. However, many findings indicate that the underlying fundamental factor that facilitates such ethno-religious conflicts revolves around prevailing economic and political crisis. This is the basic podium for most of the recurring predicaments (Ango, 2014).
Unfortunately, ethno-religious conflicts remain the political, economic and social legacies of three decades which involves perceived marginalization, mal-governance and disrespect for the constitution. The greedy and selfish ways in which the Nigerian political leaders embarked on, in acquiring power at all cost, has overturned the true federal constitution negotiated by the founding leaders (Alawemo and Muterera, 2014).
This constant conflict is negatively affecting the Nigerian state. Its impact is seen not only through the eyes of innocent youths and defenseless women, but also in the political and economic structure of the nation. In a bid to properly comprehend the effects of crisis on children and women, there is the need to operationally define who is a ‘child’ and who is a ‘woman’. This becomes indispensable in the search for the analysis of the direct incidences of the conflict on the most socially vulnerable groups – women and children. It is even more compelling because of the increasing role women are now playing in the orchestration and military solution to conflicts.
For instance, in the Liberian crisis, many women emerged as combatants in each of the opposing groups, killing and maiming opponents considered as enemies with a view to neutralizing them or forcing them into capitulation. This type of women could hardly be classified as being ‘vulnerable’; rather, they are active participants and practitioners in the management of weapons of violence. Relatedly, the concept of the ‘child soldier’ was emerged in strategic studies of the Third World conflicts. Many of them have been killing and maiming with rifles, grenades and other sophisticated w eapons. Hence, in the context of vulnerability and susceptibility, these youths would hardly be described as ‘children’ (Ibeanu and Sanda, 2014).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Most ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria and in other parts of the African continent shares similarities, in which women and children are usually the most vulnerable victims. In particular, crisis claimed hundreds of lives and immense valuable property and expectedly women and children were the worst hit by the conflict. Thousands were killed abducted and displaced. Infact, the survivors of the conflicts, irrespective of their post-conflict social position still felt they were lucky to be alive, especially given the colossus loss of lives.
Many women and children were shot or machete to death. As the ethnic warriors engaged themselves both at night and daytime, usually, the easy victims are the defenceless women and children. Most of them are civil servants, teachers, traders, farmers, housewives, market women, artisans and the jobless. Hence, one could argue that majority of the women in the eye of the storm were either the struggling middle class or the low class peasant traders, farmers.
More so, Ibeanu and Sanda (2014) observed that Women and children suffer great hardships in times of conflict and are subjected to all kinds of violent-sexual such as rape, physical violence such as bearings, maiming, murder and destruction of properties. Husband, fathers and sons have been killed or maimed in the conflict and women have had to assume burdens of home responsibilities as heads of households. It is against this background that this study seeks to examine the impact of conflict on Women and children in Jema’a Local government area.
1.3 Research questions
The following research questions were raised for the study:
i. What are the causes of conflict in Jema’a local Government area?
ii. How does conflict affects women economically in Jema’a local Government area?
iii. What are the economic effects of conflict on children in Jema’a local Government area?
iv. What are the way out of the challenges faced by women and children during conflict in Kaduna state?
1.4 Aims and objectives of the study
The aim of this study is to examine the impact of conflict on Women and children in Jema’a Local government area.
The specific objectives are:
1. To examine the causes of conflict in Jema’a local Government area.
2. To find out the effects of conflict on women in Jema’a local Government area.
3. To evaluate the economic effects of conflict on children in Jema’a local Government area.
4. To identify the way out of the challenges faced by women and children during conflict in Jema’a local Government area.
1.5 Significance of the study
The findings of this study will provide knowledge on the impact of conflict on women and children in Kaduna state. Women and children suffer great hardships in times of conflict and are subjected to all kinds of violent-sexual such as rape, physical violence such as bearings, maiming, murder and destruction of properties. Husband, fathers and sons have been killed or maimed in the conflict and women have had to assume burdens of home responsibilities as heads of households.
Political parties, Governments, Ministry of information, media organizations, education policy makers in the ministry of education, school administrators and parents and guardians could use the findings of this study to make guidelines and policies to help in developing a better ways of alleviating women and children from the consequences of conflict. The findings of this study might help future researchers who are interested in the field.
1.6 Scope and Delimitation of the study
Geographically, the study will be carried out in and limited to Jema’a local government area, in Kaduna state, which is in the northern part of Nigeria and remains within the topic of research.
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