Ending The Armed Conflict In Nigeria (Kaduna State)

Ending The Armed Conflict In Nigeria (Kaduna State)

Year(s): 2015 – 2016.

Location: Kafanchan, Kaduna State, Nigeria.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Horizontal (non-state) Intrastate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Peace infrastructure and mediation of a peace agreement.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): Local people and organisations and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: The efforts of local people and organisations, the local administration, and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue helped to bring 29 communities affected by armed conflict together and create a peace agreement and an infrastructure to support and monitor implementation.

Description of Case 

Kaduna State is located in northern Nigeria. Much like the country as a whole, northern Kaduna is predominantly Muslim and the south is mostly Christian. While these divisions have occasionally been the cause of conflict when translated into the political arena (such as during the electoral violence that followed the 2011 presidential elections), it is periodical competition for resources between farmers and pastoralists, and the historic grievances associated with such competition, that is the key driver of low-intensity conflict in Kaduna State.[1] A series of 20 initiatives to end the cycle of violence dating back to 1979 have attempted but ultimately failed to achieve their aims.

The 2015 presidential election proceeded peacefully thanks to a concerted and widespread effort to ensure that it was the first peaceful and constitutional transition of power in Nigerian history. During the contest, the issue of armed conflict rose to the fore of domestic politics. In Kaduna State, the newly elected governor established a committee under the chairmanship of a retired general to investigate the cause of the conflict upon taking office after pledging to address the issue in his campaign. Building on this framework, the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) facilitated a six-month inter-communal dialogue process, bringing in representatives of 29 communities from 5 local government areas identified as potential conflict flashpoints. Each community contributed six delegates (representing a development/cultural association, traditional council, youth, women, religious groups, and a prominent public figure) to the process. These delegates served in joint working groups facilitated by HD and attended by local, state, and federal government representatives.[2] The inter-communal dialogue culminated on 23 March 2016 with the signing of the Kafanchan Peace Declaration and the Kafanchan Women Peace Declaration.[3] The documents committed the farmers and pastoralists to resolving any future disputes between them peacefully, called for resources to be shared, and committed the communities to cooperate on the economic development of the area. A further provision established a monitoring committee to oversee implementation and adherence. HD supported the establishment of a Conflict Early Warning Response System for southern Kaduna, as well as a local institution known as the Kafanchan Peace Development Initiative, which was tasked with building a lasting peace in the area.[4] In 2017, the ongoing effort to reduce armed conflict across Kaduna was taken up by the Kaduna State Peace Commission.[5] Although armed conflict continues (in 2021, Kaduna suffered the most political violence of any Nigerian state other than Borno, the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency), the efforts of local people and organisations supported by HD demonstrably reduced armed conflict between communities in southern Kaduna State.[6]

[1] Aniete Ewang. “Multiple Killings in Nigeria’s Kaduna State: Authorities Should End Cycle of Impunity.” Human Rights Watch. (31 July 2020) Available at: https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/07/31/multiple-killings-nigerias-kaduna-state (Accessed 27/01/2022)

[2] Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. “Inter-communal Dialogue Process in Five Flashpoint Local Government Areas in Southern Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria.” Roadmap/Agenda for Discussion. (16 November 2015)

[3] Kafanchan Peace Declaration between Grazers and Farmers, 2016. Available at: https://www.peaceagreements.org/lview/1921/Kafanchan%20Peace%20Declaration%20between%20Grazers%20and%20Farmers (Accessed 27/01/2022); Kafanchan Women Peace Declaration, 2016. Available at: https://www.hdcentre.org/activities/jos-plateau-state-nigeria/ (Accessed 27/01/2022)

[4] Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. “Nigeria.” Activities. (HD, 2022) Available at: https://www.hdcentre.org/activities/jos-plateau-state-nigeria/ (Accessed 27/01/2022)

[5] Kaduna State Comission. About KAPECOM. (KSC, 2022) Available at: https://kadunapeacecommission.org/# (Accessed 27/01/2022)

[6] Olajumoke Ayandele. “Confronting Nigeria’s Kaduna Crisis.” Africa Center for Strategic Studies. (2 February 2021) Available at: https://africacenter.org/spotlight/confronting-nigerias-kaduna-crisis/ (Accessed 27/01/2022)