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THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF INTER ETHNIC CONFLICTS ON SOCIAL HEALTH WORKERS IN NIGERIA

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THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF INTER ETHNIC CONFLICTS ON SOCIAL HEALTH WORKERS IN NIGERIA

 

ABSTRACT

This research work was conducted to examine the psychological effects of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria. The survey research design was used in carrying out the study since it required the collection of data from a large number of respondents within the limited time scheduled for the completion of the project. Relevant research questions and hypotheses were answered and tested respectively to show the findings of the study. A questionnaire was designed by the researcher and validated by the supervisor which was administered to the respondents for the generation of data. However, a total number of 100 respondents comprising 86 male and 14 female were selected through simple random sampling method to generate the sample size. The sample size was considered adequate and representative because, all the respondents were people of the same profession and had similar orientation, though they were drawn from different schools. The analysis of the data collected from respondents was carried out with the use of percentage and frequency distribution tables, while the hypotheses earlier stated in the study were tested with the chi-square (X2) statistical tool to establish their correctness or otherwise. The findings made from the study revealed that: Poverty  level is a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria., Bad leadership is a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria., Self control of resources is a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria., High  level of illiteracy is cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria., Level of unemployment is a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Nigeria is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and multicultural society with enormous potential for economic, social, and democratic development. However, intense conflicts and violence that manifested within it even from its earliest time under the colonial rule have made development and progress elude the country. Nigeria is usually characterized as a deeply divided state in which major political issues are vigorously contested along the lines of complex ethnic, religious, and regional divisions. The causes of these conflicts may not be unconnected with the way and manner religion is portrayed to its adherents and mistrust between the followers of the various religious and ethnic groups. The issues that generate the fiercest contestation include those that are considered fundamental to the existence and legitimacy of the state, over which competing groups tend to adopt exclusionary, winner takes all strategies, which include the control of state power, resource allocation, and citizenship.

Ethnic conflict has been rightly defined as one of the greatest obstacles to meaningful development in Africa (The Courier 1993). In Nigeria, this sort of competition and rivalry among various ethnic groups is seen as a product of colonial contact. The ethnic factor, however, did not diminish with the advent of independence; rather, it became a yardstick for measuring contribution to the national development effort and especially for allocating and distributing power and national resources. As Nigeria is currently engaged in another exercise aimed at establishing a sustainable form of democracy, there is urgent need to address  perceived factors that may militate against the success of this endeavour. In certain quarters, the annulment of the democratic transition programme by the military in 1993 at the conclusion of the presidential polls is believed to have been motivated by ethnic sentiments. On a similar note, the 30-month senseless slaughter occasioned by the Nigerian civil war from 1967 to 1970 was anchored on ethnic rivalry.

In view of this, as well as the implications of pronounced conflict over power sharing and resource allocation, the ethnic question demands continuous examination if efforts to achieve a beer Nigeria arc to succeed. In addition, this type of analysis may go a long way in preventing ethnic conflict, since it proffers suggestions on how to lessen ethnic tensions and resolve contentious issues. Feasible solutions to ethnic problems can only emanate from well-grounded examinations of the phenomenon itself. Ethnic conflict obviously affect the development of a society, since this can only take place within a peaceful and democratic context that is devoid of rancour.

Inter conflict violence has reached unprecedented levels and hundreds have been killed with much more wounded or displaced from their homes on account of their ethnic or religious identification. Schooling for children has been disrupted and interrupted; businesses have lost billions of naira and property worth much more destroyed." The character of the Nigerian State is responsible for the country's deepening ethno-religious contradictions. This plural nature fuels a constant feeling of distrust between the component units, and the fear of one ethnic or religious group dominating the other is rife. Even though, the Federal Government of Nigeria has put in a lot of effort in order to solve or reduce the menace of religious conflict in the country, in most cases these efforts have yielded little or no success. Therefore, the government needs to be hyper-active in its approach to its policies on religious-based conflict prevention and resolution.

The term violence has attracted a wide range of definitions in literature. The Princeton Cognitive Science Laboratory defines it as "an act of aggression (as one against a person who resists); a turbulent state resulting in injuries and destruction; ferocity: the property of being wild or turbulent." Violence is an integral part of man's existence and a common occurrence in human societies. It could be due to differences in political ideologies, as was evident during the Cold War period, and terrorism, bad governance, ethnic nationalism, economic and religious reasons, and in some cases a combination of two or more of these factors.

Ethnic groups are defined as a community of people who share cultural and linguistic characteristics including history, tradition, myth, and origin. Scholars have been trying to develop a theoretical approach to ethnicity and ethnic conflict for a long time. Conflicts can be adaptive or maladaptive, functional/constructive or dysfunctional. Indeed human and societal progress over the ages, for example, has been driven by conflict. But the liquidation of entire peoples and cultures has also been driven by conflict. The outcome of a given conflict, therefore, depends on how it is managed by contending forces. Lack of social reciprocity and/or tolerance for differences of opinion increases the risk of violence and war.

Statement of Problems

The problems statement is extensively on the effect of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria. Nigeria, which is an heterogeneous state comprises several pluralities principally ethnic and religious. Although the country is federated, it is yet to find an enduring formula for peaceful coexistence of her more than 280 ethnic groups and different religions. Another major cause of ethnic conflict is psychology, especially the fear and insecurity of ethnic groups during transition. It has been opined that extremists build upon these fears to polarise the society. Additionally, memories of past traumas magnify these anxieties. These interactions produce a toxic brew of distrust and suspicion that leads to ethnic violence. The fear of white Afrikaners in South Africa on the eve of democratic elections was a good case in point Politicised ethnicity has been detrimental to national unity and socio-economic well-being. It is important to note that most of these ethnic conflicts were caused by colonialism, which compounded inter-ethnic conflict by capitalizing on the isolation of ethnic groups. The divide-and-conquer method was used to pit ethnicities against each other, thus keeping the people from rising up against the colonisers. Distribution of economic resources was often skewed to favour a particular group, pushing marginalized groups to use their ethnicity to mobilise for equality. These are the seeds of conflict. There are some common conflict patterns. They include:

1.     The demand for ethnic and cultural autonomy,

2.     Competing demands for land, money and power, and

3.     Conflicts taking place between rival ethnic groups.

According to Imobighe, (2003:81) the root cause of the present phase of the ethno-religious conflict was when the military government of Nigeria, in January 1986; digressed from a secular state and took the controversial decision for Nigeria to join the organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). This gave rise to the Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) vicious and emotional campaigns for and against the country's membership of OIC. While CAN (the representative of all Nigerian Christians) called on Christians to rise and resist what was tagged 'the Nigeria march towards Islamisation', powerful Muslim leaders sponsored demonstrations in favour of joining the organisation.

Big problems and challenges loomed as the two dominant religions seek support of all members. The Muslims embarked on a huge propaganda campaign against the domination and marginalization of the Muslim majority by Christian minority. Forthwith; both sides called on their faithful to rise in defense of their religious perversion (New swatch, 1986). The various regimes in Nigeria headed by either a Muslim or Christian dictators (military or civil) does not help the matter as they watched as religious hostility and hatred deepened in civil society. Soonest the issue of Sharia law arose leading to aggravated intra and inter-religion conflict in several parts of Nigeria. Therefore, the need to checkmates the causes and effect of this social menace and social ills called the psychological effects of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of study is to ascertain the psychological effects of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria. Other purpose of this study are as follows:

i.  To ascertain if poverty level is a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria.

ii.  To ascertain if bad leadership is a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria.

iii.  To ascertain if self control of resources is a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria.

iv.  To ascertain if high level of illiteracy is a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria.

v.  To ascertain if level of unemployment is a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria.

Research Questions

The research questions are as follows:

i.  Is poverty level a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria?

ii.  Is bad leadership a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria?

iii.  Is self control of resources a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria?

iv.  Does high level of illiteracy a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria?

v.  Does the level of unemployment a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria?

Research Hypotheses

i.  Poverty  level is not a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria.

ii.  Bad leadership is not a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria.

iii.  Self control of resources is not a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria.

iv.  High  level of illiteracy is not a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria.

v.  Level of unemployment is not a cause of inter ethnic conflicts on social health workers in Nigeria?

Significance of the Study

This study would be of much benefit to the community, religious body, government entire school administrators of secondary schools and other educational institutions and industries in Nigeria. Religion is a life-cycle. It is a way of life of an individual or a people.  The primary purpose religious education is to successfully facilitate outcomes perceived to be in line with Christianity or Islam or any other religion (Achuzie, 2004). The learner's life is therefore, modified along the particular religion. Other vital outcomes such as cognitive and affective ones assume a role and importance in keeping with the degree to which they foster and enhance religious life-style or behaviour in the learner's life. The following are therefore, the benefits of this research study in Nigeria.

i.  Religious education makes the students to be aware of God's love for mankind, which is manifested in creation and His various gifts (spiritual and material).

ii.  Religious education helps the individuals to respond to God's love with love manifested in their obedience to God's commandments.

iii.  Religious education encourages students to love and live in peace with their fellow men.

iv.  Religious education assists the students to have the right idea about God, by teaching them the Holy Scriptures.

v.  Religious education helps to fill the hearts of students with the guidance thereby regulating their conducts.

Religion naturally, is associated with the inculcation of moral value in students, Christians, Muslims and traditionalists, and expose their children to the moral values of their religious rights from a tender age. With religious education, children are trained to fear God and divinities because they can bless or punish them. For instance, each of the religions practiced in Nigeria has certain morals to teach, and the school as an organized society should assist in inculcating moral values (Ajiobi, 2001).

Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study will particularly cover the community in all local government area of Lagos and focus mainly on the area. This is because the researcher does not have sufficient time and money to conduct a state wide study on all the Local Government area of Lagos State, let alone extending same to other local government areas in Lagos State. Time and protocol of obtaining clearance from the school management before possibly, having access to interact with their teachers especially on official hours might be a hindrance as well.

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