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1.1 Background to the Study
Nigeria is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and multicultural society with enormous
potential for socio-economic, industrial and democratic development (Imobighe, 2003).
However, intense conflicts and violence that manifested within the nation even right from the
colonial rule have plagued and crippled effective development and progress in the country
(Aliyu, 2009). Nigeria, like other African countries has been bedeviled by several forms of
conflicts that have posed a mortal challenge to the State and its structures (Gyong and Ogbadoyi,
Nigeria as a nation 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 (Eghosa, 2009). According to Bassey and Oshita (2007:57), ethno-religion is one of the
most personal, but emotive phenomena and it is an important area that generates the most
pervasive conflict in Nigeria, the resolution of which can hardly be effected durably. Hence,
ethno-religious conflict occurs when the ultimate goal of conflict is of ethnic and religious nature
and such conflicts are often associated with ethnic or religious sentiments. Thus, the usage of the
concept denotes the fact that all crises that have religious and ethnic undertones are ethnoreligious conflicts (Yakubu, 2005:19).
In Nigeria, an unprecedented number of conflicts arising from mostly religious-based
disputes have been witnessed in some parts of the country since 2009 and the causes of these
ethno-religious conflicts may be connected with the way and manner in which religion is
portrayed to its adherent followers as well as mistrust between the followers of the various
religious and ethnic groups which results in ethno-religious crises (Aliyu, 2009). As a matter of
fact, deeply divided states tend to be fragile and unstable because there are fewer points of
convergence and consensus among the constituent groups than are required to effectively
mitigate or contain the centrifugal forces that tear the society apart (Eghosa, 2009).
It is incontrovertible to say that ethno-religious crises have strong implications for the
socio-political and economic developments of Nigeria and this is captured by the comments
made by the former President of the country, Gen. Obasanjo when he asserted that 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 whilst schooling
children has been disrupted and interrupted; businesses have lost billions of naira and properties
are destroyed (Gyong and Ogbadoyi, 2013). It has been estimated that since the transition to
civilian rule in May 2009, no less than ten thousand lives have been lost to religious-based
violence (Presidential Committee, 2002).
Suffice to say that nearly every part of Nigeria has experienced one form of crises or the
other with attendant consequences. Apart from Kano State, Kaduna which is the case study area
for this study, has registered more than any other city in Nigeria, a superlative number of ethnoreligious disturbances ever in the history of Nigeria (Ikejiani-Clark, 2007:526). In Kaduna State,
there have been conflicts leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties in Kasuwan
Magani in 2010, Kaduna in 2013, Gure/Kahugu in 1986, Kafanchan in 1987, Kaduna in 1987
and Zango Kataf in 1992, Kafanchan in 2009 and Kaduna, Kachia and Birnin Gwari in February
2000 (Okoye, 2000: xii-xiv), and in 2002 (occasioned by the introduction of Sharia legal system
and the Miss World pageant) (Gyong and Ogbadoyi, 2013). During these periods, many people
were killed, houses burnt, religious homes battered, properties destroyed, and several people
were displaced.
The frequency and enormity of these ethno-religious conflicts have foisted a general
threat to the security of the citizens, which are not only affecting the nation, but also economic
activities of the State, given the manifestation of illegal small arms (Gyong and Ogbadoyi,
2013). Today, the power of the State is gradually becoming weakened and this may be so
because presently a lot of weapons (particularly small arms and light weapons) have illegally
found their way into the hands of non-State actors, whose motives and intensions are at variance
with those of the State (Aliyu, 2009; Gyong and Ogbadoyi, 2013). Consequently, small arms and
light weapons that were originally intended for the protection of nation-States have become
major source of internal threat to individuals and Nigeria at large.
According to Gyong and Ogbadoyi (2013), small arms are generic term covering
weapons which may be carried by a man. According to Smith and Haslam (2013:195), small
arms are weapons which are generally man-portable and fire flat trajectory profile. According to
Jekada (2005), Light weapons are generic term used to describe all conventional munitions that
can be carried by an individual combatant or by a light vehicle and this includes bazookas, rocket
propelled grenades, light anti-tank missiles, light mortars, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles
and hand placed landmines. The unique characteristics of small arms and light weapons such as
easily compact, powerful, highly destructive, relatively inexpensive and easy to operate, conceal,
and transport have made their proliferation a very lucrative business world-wide (Gyong and
Ogbadoyi, 2013). It is believed that, more than 500 million small arms are in existence globally,
and these are produced in large numbers in over 70 countries (Gyong and Ogbadoyi, 2013).
Realizing the destructive effects of small arms and light weapons to the national security,
given the numerous conflicts worldwide, several steps have been taken to control their
trafficking, proliferation and use (Lanre, 2009). Even with these several steps, the trafficking,
proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons continue unabated as intra- conflicts
continue (Gyong and Ogadoyi, 2013). Their availability as well as relative inexpensive costs
continue not only to fuel crises but have been dominant and destabilizing effects in ethnoreligious crises, particularly in Kaduna State where most of such violence have taken place over
the years (Aliyu, 2009). In fact, no real progress seem to have been made in the crucial field of
control of the use of small arms and light weapons, as their spread and use continue unabated
vis-à-vis frequent ethno-religious conflicts, and the attendant insecurity and resultant socioeconomic impoverishment (Gyong and Ogadoyi, 2013).
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. The fact remains that these measures have only resulted in limited
restraint as situations (ethno-religious conflicts) precipitating demands for arms remain
unresolved. Therefore, the government needs to be proactive especially in the area of
proliferation of small arms and light weapons to its policies on religious-based conflict
prevention and resolution. It is in this regard that this study is designed to identify the causes of
proliferations of small arms and light weapons and its impacts on ethno-religious crises in
Kaduna metropolis.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Due to the strategic position of Nigeria in Africa, the country has become a receptacle of
arms flowing from other war-torn countries of the African region and the sources and level of
these illegal small arms in circulation in Nigeria can hardly be ascertained. It is believed that the
frequency of political and ethno-religious violence has led to arms build-up in the country. As
from January to September 2007, the Former Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro, revealed
that about 1,582 arms and 6,614 rounds of ammunition were recovered from various parts of the
country (Gyong and Ogbadoyi, 2013). Local observers have estimated that few thousand
weapons melted down from the cameras is only a fraction of the number of weapons in
circulation. The sources of these illegal small arms remain a mystery.
Given this observation, it is also difficult to say categorically the sources of illegal small
arms and light weapons in Kaduna State, as Gyong and Ogbadoyi (2013) rightfully posited. If it
is so, the question then is, how can one identify the various sources of illegal small arms and
light weapons in Kaduna State? The next question would be; what are the causes of the
proliferations of illegal small arms and light weapons in Kaduna State? Some people are of the
view that ethno-religious groups might have equipped their followers and thugs with various
weapons ahead of time, which are either smuggled into the country or produced locally to
perpetuate violence (Olorunfemi, 2006:34). This may be connected with the fact that most of the
crises in the State are either fought along ethnic or religious lines.
In Nigeria, Kaduna state more than any state, seems to have become can be referred to as
‗hot bed‘ because of the constantly generating religious crises of high magnitude in the area
(Agbese, 2002). The ethno-religious crises in Kaduna metropolis have led to destruction of lives
and properties and displacement of people. Suffice to say that most of the deaths recorded and
injuries sustained in this ethno-religious conflicts are believed to be caused by small arms and
light weapons illegally acquired by the inhabitants of the area. Many researchers believed that
the availability and use of these weapons is believed to fuel ethno-religious conflicts, with untold
consequences on development.
In spite of these attempts of the Federal Government of Nigeria to abate the illegal use of
small arms and light weapons, proliferation and use of these offensive weapons continue
unabated. This therefore appears to show that the entire situation has surpassed government
solutions. What then is responsible for this? Since the obvious causes of conflicts in Kaduna tend
to be rooted in religious, economic and social inequalities and imbalance among people in the
area, which are often not properly resolved, it is possible to anticipate more eruptions which
leads to the desire then may be to keep these weapons in case of a relapse of the conflicts.
It is against this backdrop that this study seeks to examine the impact of ethno-religious
crises on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Kaduna State, with the view to
proffering possible solutions to incessant proliferation of small arms and light weapons and
frequent ethno-religious crises in Kaduna State
1.3 Objective of the Study
The aim of this study is to assess the impact of ethno-religious crises on the proliferation
of small arms and light weapons in Kaduna State. The objectives of this study are as follows:
1. To examine the various sources of illegal small arms and light weapons in Kaduna state
2. To discuss the causes of the frequent proliferation of small arms and light weapons in
Kaduna state
3. To assess the impacts of the ethno-religious crises on proliferation of small arms and light
weapons in Kaduna state
4. To proffer possible solutions to frequent reported cases of insecurity in Kaduna state
1.4 Research Questions
This present study will provide answers to the following questions:
1. What are the various sources of illegal small arms and light weapons in Kaduna state?
2. What are the causes of the frequent proliferation of small arms and light weapons in
Kaduna state?
3. What are the impacts of the ethno-religious crises on proliferation of small arms and light
weapons in Kaduna state?
4. What are the possible solutions to frequent reported cases of insecurity in Kaduna state?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
This research study will be guided by the following null hypotheses:
H01: The proliferation of small arms and light weapons does not lead to increase in ethnoreligious conflicts in Kaduna State
H02: There are no frequent cases of proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Kaduna
H03: Ethno-religious crises have no impact on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons
in Kaduna state
1.6 Significance of the Study
Small arms and light weapons are capable of aggravating conflict in Nigeria, hence, this
study shall provide a conceptual framework that will address the problems of small arms and
identify the gaps in the field of study. This research will serve as a useful guide to policy makers
on how best to tackle the issue of religious violence and proliferation of illegal arms in the
country. Similarly, this study will also serve as a good source of information by Nigerian policy
makers, constitutional lawyers, students of criminology and sociology including politicians and
professionals in crises and conflict management as it would also identify loopholes and adopt
strategies to be adopted in the fight against the proliferation of small arms in the sub-region
(Kaduna) and Nigeria. Furthermore, the international community will be more aware of
Nigeria‘s policy and approaches on religious-based violence and proliferation of illegal arms.
This study will serve as a starting point for further research by other scholars who might be
interested in this area of study. Furthermore, this study will not only add to the body of existing
literature, but it will also explore fresh options to contain the spread of small arms and light
weapons in the sub-region (Kaduna) and Nigeria in particular.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study will be centred in Kaduna. The choice of Kaduna as the study area is because
Kaduna state more than any other state in Nigeria, has witnessed more large scale of ethnoreligious crises more than any state in the nation; hence it is referred to as ‗hot bed‘ because of
the constantly generating religious crises of high magnitude in the area. For the study, the five
local governments viz Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Makarfi, Sabon-Gari and Zaria Local
Government Areas were selected out of the twenty local government areas in Kaduna State. The
choice of these local governments were based on the fact that the selected local governments
have witnessed ethno-religious crises in the past years. Furthermore, religion and ethnicity are
very sensitive issue and as such, opinions to be generated in this study will cover personal views
and perceptions of individuals from Police Force and religious institutions located within the five
selected local governments on the impact of ethno-religious crises on proliferation of small arms
and light weapons in Kaduna Metropolis.
1.8 Limitations to the Study
The limitation to the research will be that, the study will not cover the crises that occurred
that are not related to ethno-religious crises in Kaduna metropolis. Also, the data generated
during the course of this research work will be limited on the impact of ethno-religious crises on
proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Arms Control
US Foreign Policy defined arms control as the international restrictions upon the development,
Production, stockpiling, proliferation and usage of small arms, conventional weapons, and
weapons of mass destruction. Encyclopedia Britannica also defined arms control as any
international control or limitation of the development, testing, production, deployment, or use of
weapons based on the premise that the continued existence of certain national military
establishments is inevitable. For this study, arms control is any international agreement that
limits the type and number of weapons or armed forces.
Senior (2006) defined corruption as the abuse of bestowed power or position to acquire a
personal benefit and it include many activities such as bribery and embezzlement. Free
Encyclopedia restated that corruption is seems to occur when an office-holder or other
governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain. For this study, corruption
will be referred to the illegal, bad, or dishonest behaviour, especially by people in positions of
National Security defined national security as a collective term for the defense and foreign
relations of a country, protection of the interests of a country. National Defense College of India
defined national security as an appropriate and aggressive blend of political resilience and
maturity, human resources, economic structure and capacity, technological competence,
industrial base and availability of natural resources and finally the military might. For this study,
national security is defined as freedom from danger or threats to a nation‘s stability to protect
itself, promote its cherished values and legitimate interest, and enhance the well-being of its
Proliferation defined proliferation as a rapid multiplication of parts or the increase in the
number of something. For this study, proliferation is the increase in the amount or devastating
use if small arms and light weapons.
Small Arms
US Army defined small arms as wide range of arms that include hand-held small caliber
firearms, usually consisting of handguns, rifles, shotguns, manual, semi-automatic, and full
automatic weapons and man-portable machineguns. For this study, small arms are referred to as
weapons designed for individual use and they include inter alia revolver and self loading pistols,
rifles and carbines, sub-machine guns, assault rifles and light machine guns.
Light Weapons
US Army defined Light weapons as a wide range of medium-caliber and explosive ordnance,
including man-portable and vehicle-mounted antipersonnel, antitank and antiaircraft rockets,
missiles, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, landmines, antiaircraft guns, mortars, hand
grenades and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and so on. Small arm survey defined light
weapons to include heavy machine guns, hand-held under-barrel and mounted grenade
launchers, portable anti-aircraft guns, portable anti-tank guns, recoilless rifles, portable launchers
of anti-tank missile and rocket systems; portable launchers of anti-aircraft missile systems
(MANPADS); and mortars of calibres of less than 100 mm. In this study, light weapons are
referred to as weapons designed for use by two or more persons serving as crew, although, some
may be carried and used by a single man.
Violence is defined by the World Health Organization as the intentional use of physical force or
power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community,
which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm,
maldevelopment, or deprivation. According to American Psychological Association, violence is
an extreme form of aggression, such as assault, rape or murder. For this study, violence is the
intentional use of weapons by groups of people to threatened another group or community often
leading to harm and losses.
1.10 Organization/Plan of the Study
The study is organized into five (5) chapters:
Chapter one is the introduction of the study and comprises of with background of the
study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions, research hypotheses,
significance of the study, scope of the study, limitations of the study, definition of terms and
organization of the study. The chapter two is the literature review and theoretical framework
with special focus on the conceptual clarification of basic concepts of the study, ethno-religious
crises in Nigeria, historical overview of ethno-religious violence in northern Nigeria, ethnoreligious crises in Kaduna state, the use of small arms and light weapons in ethno-religious
crises, proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria and implication of proliferations
of small arms and light weapons on national security. Chapter three discusses the study area
(Kaduna State), research methodology which includes research design, area of the study, sample
size, sampling technique, method of data collection and method of data analysis.
Chapter four dwells on data presentation, analysis and interpretation, followed by testing
of hypothesis and discussion of findings. Chapter five is basically on the summary of the study,
conclusions and recommendations.


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