The Role of Women in Conflict. Appraisal of the role of women in the resolution of conflict in Nkanu East's Local Government of Enugu State

Thesis (M.A.), 2015

103 Pages




Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Objective/ Purpose of the Study
1.5 Hypothesis
1.6 Significance of the Study
1.7 Scope of the Study
1.8 Definition of terms

Chapter Two: Literature Review
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Conceptual Framework
2.2.1 Concept of Conflict
2.2.2 Concept of Conflict Resolution
2.2.3 Concept of Gender equality
2.2.4 Concept ofPeacebuilding
2.2.5 The role ofWomen in Peacebuilding
2.2.6 The Traditional Roles of African Women in peace Making and Peace Building
2.2.7 Te Role of African Women in Peace Building and Conflict Resolution: The Case of Burundi
2.2 Theoretical Framework
2.3 Summary

Chapter Three: Methodology
3.1 Area ofStudy
3.2 Research design
3.3 Sources ofData
3.4 Method ofData Collection
3.5 Sampling Techniques
3.6 Instrumentation
3.7 Method ofData Analysis

Chapter Four: Data Presentation, Analysis and Discussion
4.1 Data Presentation
4.1.1 Demographic Distribution of the Respondents/Interviewee
4.1.2 Analysis ofResponses from Research Question
4.2 Findings of the Study
4.3 Discussion on the findings

Chapter Five: Conclusion and Recommendation
5.1 Conclusion
5.2 Recommendations References


This study appraised the role of women in the resolution of conflict in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State of Nigeria. The rational for this study is to verify whether the women of the study area participates in conflict resolution, the strategies and the cultural barriers, if any, that militates against their participation in conflict resolution and peace process in the area as well to identifying whether they are fully integrated in the decision making processes and institutions in the area. Data used in this work are from primary source. Survey method of quantitative research was used during the study; Questionnaire/Oral Interview was used to collect data from the population of study while probability sampling method was also used to represent the population of Study. The work finds that the women of the study area participate in conflict resolution through the institutions of Umuada, Extended Family Wives Association, Christian Mothers Union and Community Women Association and that they make use of strategies such as mediation, arbitration, good office conciliation, and traditional methods like oath taking, marriage, covenant and ritual among others. Also there are some cultural barriers militating against them in this regards. The work also finds that women of the area are marginalized in both elective and appointive positions and thus underrepresented in the decision making organs and institutions for peace in the Local Government and beyond including the communities in the area etc. The work thereafter recommends among others that all the cultural barriers that forbid women’s inclusion or membership of decision making institutions for peace in the area and beyond should be removed, women’s marginalization as well as lack of gender mainstreaming in the area should be addressed in the spirit of the United Nation Security Council Resolution 1325 of 2000.

Keywords: Conflict, Gender Equality, Conflict Prevention, Conflict Resolution, Peacemaking, Peacebuilding, Reconciliation


1.1 Background of the study

Women’s role in conflict resolution and prevention, peacebuilding, peacemaking and reconciliation cannot be over-estimated or overemphasized. This is because apart from performing their biological and social activities of caring, giving birth, and bringing up humans as mothers, women also have the potentials of partaking in activities that is geared towards peaceful resolution of conflict as well as well in peacebuilding. Equally women have been at the forefront of efforts to build peace across the world. According to (Lute 2002:15) women are often the stabilizing force in the societies in which they exist. This is certainly true in post conflict settings where women represents essentially, the backbone of reconstruction and rehabilitation as well as the re-integration of former combatants and the re-emergence of basic economic activities in a society which is a war torn society , once peace has been achieved.

Long before the recognition of the role of women in peacebuilding process, they had already been very much involved in such activity. As a social group, women have been suitably identified as being pro-peace. Women have been highly visible in the forefront of movements for non violence and peace worldwide. Women usually assume the roles of peacemakers in families, in communities and in society even though they have often been victims (Agbu, Anike-Nweze , Idachaba and Durojaye 2006:96).

Women have been at the forefront of efforts to build peace in countries all over the world. In many instances women have come to the peace negotiations united across party, class and ethnic differences. Their unity and determination to make peace may come from their everyday experiences and concerns: protecting their children; finding food, clean water or shelter, protecting themselves from the violence and particularly sexual and gender-based violence associated with conflict (Ilesanmi and Agbu 2014:167).

To show the importance of women in peace building The UN Security Council on 31st Oct. 2000 adopted The Resolution 1325, which deals with women, peace and security. This Resolution highlighted the importance of bringing gender perspectives to the center of the UN conflict prevention and resolution, peace building, peacekeeping, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. This Resolution was initiated after the UN Secretary General was invited to do a study on the impact of conflicts on women, girls, the role of women in peace building and the gender dimensions of peace processes and conflict resolution. In line with the above resolution of the United Nation, The African Heads of States in a solemn declaration on gender equality adopted by African Heads of State and Government on July 6, 2004, agreed to:

Ensure the full and effective participation and representation of women in peace process, including the prevention , resolution, management of conflicts and post conflict reconstruction in Africa as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) and to also appoint women as special envoys and special representatives of the African Union. ( Agbu, Bolarinwa Mbagwu, and Durojaye 2006:134).

Since the adoption of the United Nations Resolution 1325 (2000), some form of progress albeit minimal have been recorded in acknowledging the roles played by women in conflict resolution and post conflict peace building, as well as integrating women into decision making level of peace policies and processes ((Ilesanmi and Agbu 2014:167).

Before the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 of 2000, The Kigali Declaration of 1997 had reinforced positive and active roles of women in peacemaking and peacebuilding, and their peace-enduring attitudes as well as love. The Declaration recognize(s) women’s traditional peacemaking roles and their right to equal involvement in all peace initiatives,including early warning mechanisms and swift responses at national, regional and international levels (Kigali Declaration, 1997:1-15)

Conflict had been described by many scholars, as inevitable, among whom include Mitchel and Banks (1996:21) who posit that in the actual sense, conflict is an inevitable phenomenon that keeps occurring in all human relationships. It has been a fundamental question that is unanswered by the scholars of conflict resolution, because in principle conflict resolution connotes a sense of finality. There is no consensus among scholars on the definition of conflict as each defined it according to the writer’s perspective but what seems to be common in the scholarly definitions is that conflict occurs when there is a state of struggle, opposition, incompatibility, interference, divergence of interest, tension, interaction and interdependence among others (Adenyi 2014:16).

According to Boulding (1989:17), human beings as social animals have always been embroiled in temporary and continuous disputes and fracas collectively called conflicts since time immemorial. This come in the form of individuals against individuals, families against families, kingdoms against kingdoms, and more contemporary, countries against countries.

According to Rubin and Pruitt (2002:110) conflict can be defined as the perceived divergence of interest, or a belief that the party’s current aspirations cannot be achieved simultaneously from gradual interactions between the parties. Bercovitch (2002) added that they are ultimately a direct result of the given relationships and interactions between species, will in one way or another breed friction and discontent thereby, giving rise to perceived injustice and the attendant frictions and agitations Resolving conflict or otherwise conflict resolution is aimed at nipping such conflict in the bud by identifying the underlying and root causes of such conflict. Anyanwu (2013:14) posits that conflict resolution is generally conceptualized as the methods and processes involved in facilitating the peaceful resolution or ending of conflict. Conflict resolution is an expected situation where the deep-rooted sources of conflict are addressed and resolved, and the behaviour is no longer violent, nor the attitudes hostile any longer and the structure of the conflict has been changed (Miall, Oliver and Tom, 1999:42). In the same manner, Mitchel and Banks (1996:130-143), sees conflict resolution as an outcome in which the issues in an existing conflict are satisfactorily dealt with, through a solution that is mutually acceptable to the parties, and self sustaining in the long run and productive of a new positive relationship between the parties that were previously hostile adversaries. It is also a process or procedure by which such an outcome is achieved.

The importance of women as agents of peace and their role as mothers made it possible that in war time, it is a taboo to kill a woman even if she is armed. This is because women were the mothers of the male combatants. Even when a woman is mistakenly killed during warfare, there must be appeasement of the land. The respect accorded to woman during warfare which takes its root from traditional African society and further extended to International arena which made provisions for the protection of women in both conventional and unconventional warfare.

Women play a unique role in the reconciliation process in several societies, their place in society puts them in a strong position to encourage dialogue between disputing parties. The activities of Umuada (women born in an Igbo community who have gone to marry in other areas) led to the resolution of the land dispute between Umunebo and Umuokuzu communities in Owerri Local government area of Imo state of Nigeria (Nwolise 2004:78). Similarly, it was the intervention of Umuada of both Aguleri and Umuleri communities in Anambra state of Nigeria that contributed towards the cessation of hostility between the two sister communities (Onwuzuruigbo 2009:1-17) The women of Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State of Nigeria are not left out in playing the above roles. It is in the light of the above that this study is embarked upon to explore and appraise their role in the resolution of conflict in the Local Government Area.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Some communities in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State such as Owo, Amagunze, Amechi Idodo, Akpawfu, Ugbawka, Nara, Ihuokpara, Oruku and Umuode had at one time or the other had either intra-communal conflict or inter-communal conflict which led to loss of lives and properties. In the late 80s and early 90s two communities namely Amechi Idodo and Amagunze fought war over boundary matters.

In the case of Oruku and Umuode communities, their conflict had continued to exacerbate as they have engage themselves in communal war since 1987 and which is on- going and which apart from becoming intractable has led to loss of several lives and properties. Oruku and Umuode were one community under Oruku Town before the outbreak of the conflict. Umuode people are one of the three clans that made up Oruku Town before Umuodes were carved out as an autonomous community during the administration of Col Sule Ahman as the Military Administrator of Enugu State in 1998, the other clans are Umuchiani and Onuogowo (Obu-Ani 1999:186-195; Ukemenam and Okechukwu 2008:10; Adenyi 2014:38; Agbaegbu 2000:21-22; Oruku Community is bordered in the North by Akpuoga Nke and Nchatancha; Akpugo and Akpawfu in the West; Ezza Akpuoga and Amechi Idodo in the East and Amagunze in the South. (; Adenyi 2014:3). Other communities in the local government has their own history as that of Oruku as stated above The Oruku/Umuode conflict mentioned above which had lasted for more than two decades now has made Nkanu East Local Government Area one of the flash points in the country and has been attributed to several factors by some writers and commentators among whom are:

1. Okenwa (1999) who attributed the Oruku/Umuode conflict to the caste system freeborn vs. ex slaves existing in the community.
2. Obu-Ani (1999:186-195) who traced Oruku/Umuode conflict to the acrimony between the Amadi -freeborn and the Ohu -ex-slaves in Nkanu land. (ibid:186-195) also linked this dichotomy to the manner in which the colonial masters liberated the ex- slaves and the brazen manner in which the ex-slaves accepted their freedom.
3. Enechukwu (2011) who attributed it to the controversy surrounding the creation of Umuode autonomous community and asserts that at present, all efforts to create Umuode communities out of Oruku Town have failed, because the war between Umuode and Oruku is bloody and catastrophic, so also other communities in Nkanu and Igbo land.
4. Mba (2014) who described Oruku/Umuode conflict as a sub-ethnic conflict that might not attract as much academic attention as macro -ethnic conflict but are capable of yielding theoretical insight into identity formation, ethnic transformation and question of citizenship in a dynamic setting such as Nigeria.
5. Adenyi (2014:69) who attributed the conflict to the following:

The refusal by Umuode then a clan in Oruku to respect the amended chieftaincy constitution of 1987 which they signed and ratified with Umuchiani without reservation and later refused to accord recognition to the Traditional Ruler elected with the amended chieftaincy constitution, whom they participated in his election and presentation to government and that is the original and remote cause of Oruku/Umuode conflicts.

The intransigency of the parties, actors and leaders of both communities, and in addition, the influence of secondary/shadow and interested stakeholders and external factors influencing and escalating Oruku/Umuode conflict such as the Amadi/Awbia dichotomy in the length and breadth of Nkanuland.

The role and strategies of Enugu State Government and the Catholic Church in the management and resolution of the crisis.

The way and manner Sule Ahman Government granted Umuode an autonomous status in 1998 without identifying a portion of vacant land to settle the Umuodes as contained in the gazette as they and other Oruku people had lived interwoven and intertwined and scattered in all the villages in the community, with Oruku people constituting over 80% of their population and The refusal by the Umuodes to accept Abariland donated to them by Oruku people for their settlement and their insistence on ejecting the (majority in number) Oruku conmprising 449 home as against Umuode’s 111 homes from their ancestral home in Aguefiland for their (Umuodes) settlement which had been subject of controversy and contention and which Oruku had refused to accept as well.

Women as mothers are always in traumatic condition whenever there is war in which male adults are participating; this is because they are the ones who suffered the pains of carrying humans in their womb and giving birth to them. Echoing the above, Abdulkarim (2010:1-11) argued that women are always caught in a vicious paradox: while they are the main civilian victims of conflict, they are often powerless; prevented and excluded from the negotiations when it comes to their resolution and confined to a marginal role of post conflict reconstruction and reconciliation efforts, the general exclusion of women from decision making positions prior to and during violent conflicts reinforces their victimization.

The bitter experiences of women in times of war often make them strong adherents of peace building and constitution making for conflict resolution. However, women's roles in and contributions to conflict resolution are underutilized or wholly ignored in mainstream peace building and constitution making processes. Nevertheless, women all over the world are devising creative and effective strategies to ending wars and building peace (Agbu, Nwogu, Ngozi-Eruwayo, Oyakhiromen and Durojaye Agbu 2006:43). In the same manner, Kasali, Olaniyi, Oyakhiromen, and Durojaye, (2006:40) posits that several humanitarian interventions and peace operations have actually undermined the importance of women in peace missions. The probability that most of the injustices of conflict and post conflict societies perpetuated against women will not be adequately reported and addressed will definitely be high if women are not adequately represented in peace operations. In many wars women have used their different roles to try to minimize the effect of violence if not actively to try to end wars themselves (Pankuurst 2000)

In view of the experiences of women during conflict as discussed above and their potentials as mothers to participate fully in conflict resolution coupled with the fact that in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State of Nigeria, some communities such as Oruku/Umuode are currently engulfed in decades of communal war while others have at different periods before now tasted one form of conflict or another, this study seeks to appraise the role of women in the resolution of conflict in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State of Nigeria viz a viz conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacebuilding, and reconciliation, in the context of the following research questions.

1.3 Research Questions

1. Do the women of Nkanu East local Government Area of Enugu State of Nigeria participate in the resolution of Conflict in the area?
2. What are the cultural barriers militating against women’s involvement in conflict resolution in Nkanu East Local Government Area?
3. What are the strategies that women of Nkanu East Local Government Area adopt in the process of conflict resolution in the area?
4. What are the prospects of full integration of women in the decision making process and peacebuilding in Nkanu East Local Government area?

1.4 Objective/Purpose the Study

This study is embarked upon to appraise those roles that the women of Nkanu East Local Government Area play in the resolution of conflict in the area with the following objectives or purposes

1. To verify whether the women of Nkanu East local Government Area of Enugu State of Nigeria participate in the resolution of Conflict in the area.
2. To find out whether there are cultural barriers that militates against women’s involvement in conflict resolution in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State.
3. To identify the strategies the women of Nkanu East Local Government Area adopt in the process of conflict resolution in the area
4. To identify whether women are fully integrated in the decision making process in Nkanu East Local Government Area in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 of the year 2000.


1. HoΌ Women of Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State of Nigeria do not participate in the resolution of conflict in the area.
2. ‘΍ Cultural barriers do not militate against women’s involvement in conflict resolution in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State.
3. HoΎ The women of Nkanu East Local Government Area do not adopt any strategy in the process of conflict Resolution.
4. ‘Ώ The extent the women are integrated in decision making process in Nkanu East

Local Government Area is not in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 of the year 2000.


This study has theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the study analyses conflict, its consequences, effects and resolutions as well as the role women of the study area play not only in resolving conflict but also in preventing and managing it. The study makes effort to fill the gap on the existing body of knowledge and literature on conflict and conflict resolution as well as women’s role in the resolution of conflicts, peacemaking, peacebuilding, and reconciliation. This study will make effort to inquire or appraise the role the women of the study area play in conflict resolution.

Practically, the study is targeted at provoking the full utilization of the women’s potentials as agents of peace in conflict resolution processes in Nkanu East Local government Area and Nigeria in general and in addition to contributing to the existing body of knowledge on the role of women in conflict resolution using the women of Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu state as a study, this study will also spur and assist researchers and students of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolutions in the area of further research and knowledge on the subject matter in other Local government Areas in the country .

1.7 Scope of the study

The scope of this study covers Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State of Nigeria with focus on the appraisal and review of conflict and the role women of the study area play in the resolution of conflict viz a viz conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacebuilding, reconciliation and post conflict reconstruction

1.8 Definition of terms

According to Durojaye (2012:35) definition of terms are brief explanations or definitions of terms used in a research study in order to guide against or avoid any ambiguity. In undergoing this research study, there are some terms which are key words to the understanding of this research study that are required to be defined to enable the reader to have idea about the whole work. The key words are Conflict, Gender Equality, Conflict Prevention, Conflict Resolution, Peace Making, Peacebuilding, Reconciliation .

Conflict:- It is a state of struggle, opposition, incompatibility, and interference, divergence of interest, tension, interaction and interdependence among others. It also refers to a relation between two or more parties who believe they have incompatible goals. It is a situation where two or more people perceive themselves as being in a state of incompatibility with each side trying to outdo the other. It could be over resources, values, psychological needs or inadequate information.

Conflict is a process in which an effort is purposely made by one person or unit to block another or frustrates the attainment of another’s goals or the furthering of his interest (Rao and Narayana 1998:398)

It is any situation in which incompatible goals, attitudes, emotions, or behaviours lead to disagreement or opposition between two or more parties (Nelson and Quick (1997:398)

Furthermore conflict is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from the other party in achieving their goals (Hocker and Wilmot 1985:23) .

Gender Equality:- The concept that all human beings are free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by strict gender roles; that the different aspirations and needs of women and men are considered, valued and favoured equally (Holzner, Neuhold, and Weiss-Gänger 2010:4). It means being equal, visibility, empowerment and participation. It is also a set of attitude, actions and assumption. It is also a range of physical, biological and behavioural (Igwe 2014:21).

Conflict Prevention Actions, policies, procedures or institutions undertaken in particularly vulnerable places and times in order to avoid the threat or use of armed force and related forms of coercion by states or groups, as the way to settle the political disputes that can arise from the destabilizing effects of economic, social, political and international change. Conflict prevention can also include action taken after a violent conflict to avoid its recurrence. Conflict prevention can occur at two points in a typical conflict's life history; when there has not been a violent conflict in recent years, and before significant signals of violence make possible the escalation to sustained violent conflict. Conflict prevention aims to keep a conflict from escalation; and where there has been a recent violent conflict but peace is being restored, conflict prevention aims to avoid a relapse or re-igniting of violence. (Lund, 1997:3)

Conflict Resolution :- A variety of approaches aimed at resolving conflicts through the constructive solving of problems distinct from the management or transformation of conflict. Conflict resolution is multifaceted in that it refers to a process, a result, and an identified field of academic study as well as an activity in which persons and communities engages every day without ever using the term. The antagonisms in question may involve interpersonal relationships, labour-management issues, business decisions, intergroup disputes, disagreements between nation-states, or international quarrels (Miller and King 2005:25).

Conflict resolution combines in a problem-solving process the values contained in other concepts: from human rights, a deep respect for human dignity and for the legitimacy and capacity of every person; from democracy, the values of participation and responsiveness within a changing world environment; and from peace, the value of acceptance of the other and satisfaction in non-violent interaction. Conflict resolution is a process of decision-making whose objectives are to handle, manage, settle or resolve conflict in ways which enhance the values of the other three concepts (Reardon et al 1994:1)

Peacemaking: - Peacemaking is a diplomatic initiative aimed at bringing to an end any violent attitude that may be dominating the conflict relationship between parties (Kasali et al 2006:5).

Peacebuilding :- It refers to actions which support political, economic, social and military measures and structures aiming to strengthen and solidify political settlement in order to redress the causes of conflict. These mechanisms to identify and support structures that tend to consolidate peace, advance a sense of confidence and well being and support economic reconstruction (British army 1997:2). It is also an ability of repairing relationships, institutions and social facilities and putting in place schemes that can help the disputing communities to be united once again (Albert 2001:130).

Peacebuilding involves building a network of opportunities in the transformation of conflict attitude between the parties through restoration of communication and genuine reconciliation. It promotes more friendly relationship among old combatants. It also creates institutions and socio-facilities aimed at assisting the former disputants to respect their mutual

needs and interests for peaceful society where meaningful development can take place (Kasali, Onyeonoru and Durojaye 2009:189).

Reconcilliation:- A process that attempts to transform intense or lingering malevolence among parties previously engaged in a conflict or dispute into feelings of acceptance and even forgiveness of past animosities or detrimental acts. Reconciliation refers to a process through which a disputing party seeks to establish structures and procedures capable of facilitating an enduring peace and mutual understanding with her old enemy in post conflict environment (Kasali, Olaniyi, Oyakhiromen and Durojaye 2006:7)


2.1 Introduction

This chapter is a review of related studies on the role of women in conflict resolution with Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State as a study. According to Durojaye (2012:34-35) Literature Review is a survey of important articles, books and other sources pertaining to your research topic. This review of the professionals’ literature contextualizes, or frames your research and will also give readers the necessary background to understand your research. The main purpose of literature review is to clarify some fundamental concepts involved in the study, to find out what other scholar or professionals have gaps to be filled up.

Guided by the research questions, this chapter reviewed relevant literatures on the following sub-heading:

1 Conceptual Framework

2 Theoretical Framework

Difference Feminist theory

3 Summary of the review of related literature

2.2 Conceptual Framework

1. Concept of Conflict
2. Concept of Conflict Resolution
3. Gender Equality
4. Concept of Peacebuilding
5. The Role of Women in Peacebuilding.
6. Traditional Roles of African Women in Peace Making and Peace Building
7. The Role of African Women in Peace Building and Conflict Resolution

2.2.1. Concept of Conflict

Consensus on the meaning of conflict suffers from unanimity; this is because there is lack of uniformity on the definition of the concept just like others in social sciences and humanities. On scholarly perspectives of the concept, Kriesberg (1973:17) defined it as a relationship between two people or more parties who believe they have incompatible goals.

Wallensteen (2002:6) sees it as manifestation of hostile attitude in the face of conflicting interests between individuals, groups and states. These conflicting interests can be over resources, identity, power, status or values. It has also been generally seen as a situation in which two or more parties strive to acquire the same scarce resources at the same time. From the writers perspective, it could be been seen that drive for power and competition over limited resources as well as recognition in the form of identity, status and values between two or more parties are the symptoms of conflict. In the perspective of Bujra (2002:5), conflict is a violent armed confrontation and struggle between groups, and or more groups and between states or more states. In such confrontation and struggle some of those involved are injured, riled, such a conflict can last anything from six months to twenty years. From the perspective of the two scholars above it can be deduced that conflict occurs between groups or parties and between states as well. In this context, states refer to sovereign states recognized by International Law and the comity of nations.

In the perspective of Rummel (1977:5) conflict is a balancing of vectors of powers. It is the pushing and pulling, the giving and taking, the process of finding a balance between powers. Social conflict is then this confrontation of social power. Conflict consists of the levels of potentiality, dispositions, and manifestations. As potentiality, conflict is the space of all possible conflicts: the realm of potential opposing vectors of powers, a conflict space. As dispositions opposing each other, within this space, conflict is a structure, as opposing powers and their indeterminate balancing conflict is a situation.

On the evolution of conflict, Onu (2009:83) traced it to the biblical encounter between God and Devil, by positing that conflict is as old as creation. It started in haven according to the Bible between God and Mammon leading to the exile of the later to the earth. On the inevitability of conflict, the writer further asserts that it is like one’s shadow and nature, which he cannot avoid. It impinges on reality and attempts to infect all human actions. Sometimes, it is experienced by within the individual, between, among groups and states and sometimes transcend to other creatures. The fact that this phenomenon exists in all creation makes it difficult to understand and almost impossible to resolve successfully especially when its causes are natural, when conflict is resolved there is bound to be peace. On the sources of conflict the writer (ibid 87) argues that sometimes conflict occur over cultural and traditional issues between two communities. It could be over issues such as marriage, burial rites, and even inheritance. Traditional means often exist to regulate them in most African settings. For non-African societies, regulation of such conflicts may take other means. It is difficult to exhaust in one volume the causes of conflicts and their means of regulation. Environmental deterioration, population growth, resource scarcity, and competition, the colonial or cold war legacy, breakdown of values and traditions, poverty, the marginalization of pastoralists and ethnicity are all sources of conflict that are often regulated in various formal and informal ways.

Conflict may be defined as a struggle or contest between people with opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals. Conflict on teams is inevitable; however, the results of conflict are not predetermined. Conflict might escalate and lead to non-productive results, or conflict can be beneficially resolved and lead to quality final products. Therefore, learning to manage conflict is integral to a high-performance team. Although very few people go looking for conflict, more often than not, conflict results because of miscommunication between people with regard to their needs, ideas, beliefs, goals, or values( .

Furthermore Galtung (1958:35-38) conceptualized conflict as a social system of actors with incompatibility between their goal-states. It is a property of social systems; then conceived of as more or less interdependent systems of actors striving to achieve their goalstates. In the process it happens that they stand in each other’s way, or so they may believe, and this is where the system becomes a conflict system.

The writer highlighted the following as elements in the conceptualization of conflict:

1. The Actors;-
2. The Goals: - which may be of any kind that the actors try to achieve. The system of goals combined with the system of actors form the action-system. The movements of this system can be traced in the many-dimensional goal-space, where each actor can be located on each goal-dimension.
3. The Acceptability-Region:- which is defined as the set of positions in the many dimensional goal space acceptable to all actors.
4. The Incompatibility-Region:- which is defined as the set of points that cannot be realized.
5. Conflict Attitude:- which is identified with mental states of the actors.
6. Conflict Behaviuor:- which is identified with somatic states of the actors in the action system. Attitude and behavior are used to describe completely the states of the actors in the system; using the age-old body-soul division between the somatic and the mental states.
7. The Conflict:- which is defined as a property of the action-system which obtains when there is no overlap between acceptability-region and compatibility-region. Or, differently expressed: the acceptability-region is a subset of the incompatibility region. Still differently expressed: when all acceptable combinations of degree of goal-consumption exclude each other, are incompatible with each other.
8. Conflict Negation:- which is a process that includes the disappearance of the conflict. Conflict negation is a process where the final state may be referred to as conflict termination.

On the type of conflict in Africa, Bujra (2012:4) cit. Salim (1999) identified the following as the causes of conflict in the continent:

Boundary and territorial conflicts,

Civil wars and internal conflicts having international repercussions, Succession conflicts in territories decolonized,

Political and ideological conflicts,

Others including those related to transhumance and irredentism. The writer went further to state thus:

In general, most writers tend to think of conflicts in Africa as being political conflicts such as wars between states, armed rebellion against states (ranging from small-scale low intensity conflicts to large-scale civil war), armed secessionist rebellion (also of various scales), and coup d ’ etat. Indeed, most African conflicts which are reported and which draw international attention, are those which fit the above description. There are, of course, other types of conflicts which in the past were not given much attention. These are urban violence - sometimes they take the form of ethnic conflict, sometimes religious conflict, and sometimes they are class-based - the poor of many ethnic groups attacking government properties and installations, or attacking shops and houses of the rich and middle classes.

Furthermore according to the writer, in rural areas of many countries there are many conflicts which are ethnically based, mainly over grazing land and over cattle amongst pastoral people. Similarly, there are conflicts over cultivable land amongst peasant farmers within the same ethnic group and also between ethnic groups. Sometimes these inter-ethnic conflicts over land and cattle develop into rebellions and armed fighting between the ethnic groups and the state, when the latter sends in the military to stop the fighting or even to take side.

On the classification or categorization of conflict in the continent the writer argued that there are two categories of conflict namely: inter-state conflicts and internal conflicts. On inter-state conflict, the writer states that these arose as a result of the colonial boundaries and although the OAU ( AU) Charter declared the borders inviolable, nevertheless, almost all the interstate conflicts were caused by claims over borders. Some important features of African borders which were the bases for claims to change them, and claims which led to border conflicts, are:

Many borders were imprecise;

Some borders were straddled by a large ethnic group considered strategic by one side of the border;

Some borders passed through strategic terrain desired by countries on both sides of the border;

Some borders passed by areas rich with mineral resources all of which fell on one side of the border, thus excluding the other country.

On the second categorization which is internal conflict, the writer identified the following as causes of it: A rebellion to overthrow a government, secessionist’s rebellion, coup d’etat, cold-war sustained conflicts, and many-sided conflicts to seize state power, rural conflicts over resources, and urban violence and conflict.

In the same development, Adedeji (1999:364) argued that Africa is a vast and varied continent made up of countries with specific histories and geographical conditions as well as uneven levels of economic development. The causes of conflicts in Africa reflect the continent’s diversity and complexity. While some causes are purely internal and portray specific sub-regional dynamics, others have a significant international dimension. Notwithstanding these differences, African conflicts show a number of crosscutting themes and experiences.

Scholars such as Coser and Rosenburg (1976:175) and Onu (2009:85) argued that conflict could be peaceful and constructive if the outcome leads to change but Meehan (2008) posits that it can also threaten peace, lead to exertion of energy as well as put people into a state of danger and uncertainty and retard socio-economic and political development. It can be linked to a pathological disease that spreads and lead to more complications if not diagnosed. In this way conflict if not timely resolved may become intractable, violent and destructive (Burgess and Burgess (1996). It is like war which according to Braden and Shelley (2000:69) is analogous to disease in its spread and effect, and natural disaster in its impact on society’s structure.

On the nature of a conflict that has become destructive, Bercovitch (2003) described such conflict as one that has sunk into self perpetuating violent interaction in which each party develops vested interest in the continuation of the conflict which is always characterized by deep feeling of fear , hostility and intractability.

Ayo et al (2009:59-60) highlighted the consequences of destructive conflict thus: It creates stress in people; it leads to diversion of energy as well as instability and chaos. On the impacts of conflict on natural resources and the environment, the United Nation Education Programme (2009:15) states that while numerous examples of natural resources being used as a weapon of war exists, the majority of the environmental damage that occurs in times of conflict is collateral related to the preparation and execution phases of wars and to the coping strategies of local populations.


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The Role of Women in Conflict. Appraisal of the role of women in the resolution of conflict in Nkanu East's Local Government of Enugu State
National Open University of Nigeria  (NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA)
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Conflict, Gender equality, conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacemaking, peacebuilding, reconciliation
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Adenyi Theophilus Okechukwu (Author), 2015, The Role of Women in Conflict. Appraisal of the role of women in the resolution of conflict in Nkanu East's Local Government of Enugu State, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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Title: The Role of Women in Conflict. Appraisal of the role of women in the resolution of conflict in Nkanu East's Local Government of Enugu State

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