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Across Africa and the developing world traditional rulers are held in high esteem as custodians of culture and traditions. The influence and control gained by Nigerian traditional rulers might not be unconnected with the value systems of most of the ethnic groups of the areas within which the traditional rulers are based. Traditional rulers put a lot of effort through various peacebuilding initiatives to ensure peaceful coexistence among their subjects in their respective domains. The study examines the role of traditional rulers in peacebuilding in Zangon-Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Questionnaire and interview instruments were used to source for primary data. Human Needs Theory was adopted as a theoretical framework to guide the study. The choice of the theory is informed by the fact that, there are certain needs that are necessary to individuals‟ survival, which serve as precondition for meeting other needs. Among these basic needs is safety and security. People must meet these basic needs before they can think of anything. The study found out that, manipulation of ethnicity and religion constitutes the major source of conflict. There are other equally important causes of conflict in the LGA. They include: poverty, unemployment and political differences etc. The findings further revealed that, traditional rulers in Zangon-Kataf Local Government Area have played some specific roles, and are still playing some specific roles in peacebulding. These specific roles are; dialogue and conflict reconciliation through holding regular series of meetings with leaders of ethnic and religious groups in their chiefdoms; creating awareness on peaceful co-existence among different groups in their respective chiefdoms; relief materials were provided to the displaced victims of conflict in some of the chiefdoms. They ensured the return of the people that were internally displaced during the 2011 post-election violence to their houses. However, peacebuilding is not a stage in time of conflict rather; it is a dynamic social process, which takes place before, during and after conflict. Since conflict is inevitable in every human society, peacebuilding will still remain a dynamic social process.


1.1 Background to the Study

Conflict is inevitable in every human society; conflict generally exists whenever and

wherever there is the pursuit of incompatible goals, as well as scarce status and resources.

Nigeria is often referred to as a multi–ethnic and multi–religious country. The plural nature of

the country makes it susceptible to manipulation and therefore, ushers in a constant feeling of

distrust between and among the component units, as well as ethnic and religious groups that

made up the polity, sometimes leading to violent and deadly clashes between and among these

groups, thereby undermining peace and security of lives and properties of its citizens, and the

country in general.

Violent ethnic and religious conflicts are part of the most persistent issue in Nigeria. In

the history of ethnic and religious conflicts in Nigeria, Kaduna State can be described as a

conflict prone area. It has experienced quite a number of violent conflicts, mostly expressed in

ethno-religious forms. The major examples of violent ethno-religious conflicts in Kaduna State

included the Kafanchan-Kaduna crises in 1987, Zangon-Kataf riots of February and May, 1992,

Kaduna Sharia riots of 2000, Kasuwar Magani (Kaduna) 1994 (Osaghae and Suberu, 2005).

There are fifty-eight (58) ethnic groups in Kaduna State who are predominantly Muslims and

Christians. Most of these ethnic groups are situated in Southern Kaduna, and some of them cut

across local governments. For instance you can find one or more than two ethnic groups in more

than one local government area (Hayab, 2014).


The area known as Southern Kaduna is well–known for its recurrent violent ethnic and

religious conflicts and unrest. As discussed by Suberu (1996), “Ethnic minority tensions and

conflicts in Southern Kaduna have probably engendered far more serious violence than any other

forms of communal instability in recent Nigerian history” (p48). “The zone has occupied a

volatile position in the twentieth century history of inter-group conflicts and tensions in Northern

Nigeria, it has experienced complex conflicts, occasionally violent, and mostly assuming an

ethnic form” (Kazah-Toure, 1999: 111).

The area is composed of numerous but relatively small ethnic groups, many of which are

predominantly Christians, also known as Northern Minorities. The Southern Kaduna area is also

inhabited by Hausa and Fulani who are predominantly Muslims, and also considered non

indigenes by the other ethnic groups in the area. The relationships that often exist between the

Southern Kaduna ethnic groups, and the Hausa and the Fulani on the other hand have been

hostile, at some points leading to violent ethno–religious conflict (Kazah-Toure, 2003). Zangon-

Kataf Local Government is also known for its frequent ethnic and religious conflicts. There was

an outbreak of violent ethno-religious conflicts in 1987, the February and the May 1992 that

engulfed Zango town in Zangon-Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State, the 2011 inter-

communal conflict, that erupted in Kamuru town between Bajju and Ikulu over the ownership

Kamuru town, and recently, the 2011 post election violence which sparked up violent conflict in

some part of the state, and Zangon-Kataf Local Government in Particular.

Violent conflict constitutes a clog in the wheel of progress and development of an

individual and the community at large. Therefore, sustainable peace and security is fundamental

to the progress and development of every society. This is due to the fact that, incessant conflicts

in Zangon-Kataf Local Government constitute a hindrance to peace and security of the citizens


of the area. Despites all efforts by the government to nib in bud, the prevalence of conflict in the

LGA, through the deployment of security personnel whenever there is breakdown of conflict.

However, the subsequent setting of many judicial commissions of inquiry to investigate the

causes of conflicts proved abortive.

Traditional rulers as non state actors are being regarded as custodians of culture and

tradition of the nation. Traditional rulers are close to the people at the grassroots level, and

traditionally accepted by their people based on the customs and the traditions of their respective

domains, and also officially recognized by the government of their respective states. Traditional

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