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This study examines the security implications of communal land disputes in Tiv-land, using four (4) LGAs, namely Vandeikya, Ukum, Guma and Tarka as a case of study. It examines relevant literature and using asample of One hundred and fourty (140) respondents across all selected LGAs for questionnaire administration. The finding revealed there are serious security implications to lives and properties of inhabitants of Tiv-land as a result from communal land disputes.This has led to the break-up of communities socio-politically and economically. It therefore recommended the parties involved in disputes should be encouraged to dialogue or negotiate on how to solve their differences, as the negotiation strategy creates opportunities for each party to express their opinion and to listen to those of others. It also recommends that the policy makers of Nigeria need to review the effectiveness of the country’s land laws and their applications at the regional and local levels. To avoid complications, selected community leaders must be involved in the process.



Chapter One


1.1       Background of study

1.2       Statement of problems

1.3       Objectives of study

1.4       Statement of the hypothesis

1.5       Scope and limitation of the study

1.6       Significance of study

Chapter Two

Review of related literatures

2.0       Introduction

2.1       Conceptual Clarification

2.1.1    Causes of Communal Dispute

2.2       Theoretical Framework

2.2.1    Factors associated with land disputes

2.2.2    Statutory land right versus customary land right in Nigeria

2.3       Empirical Literature

2.3.1    Historical Background of the Tiv Nation

2.3.2    Land and related dispute issues in Tiv land

2.3.3    Communal land dispute and security challenges

2.3.4    Management of land disputes

Chapter Three

Research design and methodology

3.1   Design of study

3.2   Sample survey method

3.3   Area of study

3.4   Population sample for the study

3.5   Sources of data collection

3.6   Validity of the instrument

Chapter Four

Data presentation, analysis and interpretation

Chapter Five

Summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations

5.1       Summary of findings

5.2       Conclusion

5.3       Recommendations






1.1       Background of study

Land is an important natural resource that sustains every living things namely; plants, animals and man. Virtually all activities that take place on earth, as it is a fixed socio-economic asset which hosts and aids production of goods and services (Magel, 2001). Savannah land hosts grasses while tropical land is characterized with hardwood forest among others, as it is the nature of land and types of its components dictates what must exist on it.  To an extent, land influences climate and dictates lifestyles of settlers on it cut across the globe. Also, it host towns and houses where origin of a man is traced, which is as a result location of all communities on land defined by their territories. Likewise, the sovereignty of a kingdom is a function of the area of land it occupies, which is an indication that territorial defence is with the purpose of securing or retaining certain piece of land.

Disputes over land is often combined with strong economic, spatial, cultural and emotional values, as there are indications that man’s complex socio-economic, cultural and physical attachments to land have placed land in a sensitive and unique position.The above mentioned arguments reveal that land is central to continuity of life, indispensable in physical development and complex in social relations of production in the economic world. In other words, to every land, there is the socio-cultural dimension to it.

Dispute/Conflict interests among communities to secure territories, conserve socio-economic resources and carry out physical development activities and practice customs and traditions on land have given birth to untoldcrises over the ages (Abegunde, 2010). In another dimension, these have resulted in conflicts that haveaffected millions of people and resulted in lost opportunities in terms of social disorder, economic depression and destruction of housing and basic infrastructure in the physical development of communities (Gizewski and Homer-Dixon, 1995; Justino, 2004). All types of disputes/conflicts on land entail significant private and social costs in human environment.

Disputes as used in this study refer to conflicts, disagreements, quarrels, struggles, fights and wars between individuals, groups or countries (Angaye, 2003). They may be short or long in tenure, but impact on residents and their environment in a direct or indirect way. Such conflicts may sometimes be advantageous to a group or affected parties.

However, experiences in African nations have shown that the negative effects of conflicts far outweigh their merits (Colletta, Kostner and Wiederhofer, 1996; Bisnwanger, Klaus and Gershon, 1996; Shah, 2003; Salim, 2004).

Direct losses on land can be reflected in loss of farmland, waste of land based mineral resources, urban land degradation during and after conflict, inability to conserve landed properties with cultural or historical values, inaccessibility to urban land for meaningful socio-economic or physical development programmes among others (Schock, 1996; Addison, 2001; Abegunde, 2010). Of significance here is that conflicts initiated by tussle over land often results in further losses on land and its related resources. In other words, land as an impetus of development can become impediment to same in the built environment. This could be disgusting where much value is attached to land by the local people without government regulations.

Literatures have shown that this is predominant in African communities (Oyerinde, 2005; Ayo, 2002; Asiyanbola, 2008). To them, land is seen as the path to heaven for the departed relatives, the abode ofancestral and a devouring god to the defaulters and abusers of it (Ayo, 2002). That could be why Tuladhar(2004) conceived that land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, few are living and countless are yet to be born.

Dispute is a natural aspect of the human society and may arise from the pursuit of divergent interests, goals and aspirations by the different individuals or groups in defined social and physical environments. In any given society contestation over scarce resources is inevitable and the Tiv society, even with a homogenous culture, is certainly not an exception. Dispute has become inevitable because of the relatively scarce but desirable resources and the desperation of the people to have access to and control over these resources. Efforts to understand the root causes of dispute has been the concern of those who have been involved, in one way or the other, in managing dispute. The causes of dispute are so numerous and complex that some scholars have even argued that the very uniqueness of each dispute defies effort to formulate clear-cut hypotheses. Anifowose quotes a United States Government publication as saying:

 “There is no single cause … which is more or less potent. In fact, usually, there are multiple causes and important contributing conditions rooted in historical relationships and brought to violence by a variety of catalysts …. Each conflict has been unique”

For decades now, the Tiv nation has remained entangled in one form of dispute or the other which often results in loss of lives, property and displacements. These disputes have greatly contributed to the state of under-development in Tivland. The existence of dispute in Tivland pre-supposes the existence of the relationships between people or in the organisation of economic, political or social systems as the actors perceive a discrepancy between their valued expectation and their society’s valued capabilities. Most of the disputes are linked to politics or land matters, all of which have roots in the political structure of the Tiv nation.

The Tiv people are culturally homogenous and have a common ancestry with a political structure that is stateless and segmented. Their pattern and nature of political arrangement is such that each segment is self-governing, relatively independent and autonomous. However, there are levels of common contact and relationships between individuals and groups that cut across the whole society. The diverse nature of the political system explains the relationships and disputes that are found among the people. The social milieu of Tivland as well as Nigeria seems to provide a very fertile ground for the persistence of disputes. Onigu Otite agrees with this assertion when he laments the social system of Nigeria as a whole. In his words:

The Nigerian society is a social system compounded by contested demands on access to scarce resources especially in the political and economic fields. It is a society defined by natural cleavages and man-made conflicts. Natural membership of ethnic group or occupational specializations threatened by the expanding interests of other multiple users…provide grounds for the emergence of conflicts. The scale and dimensions of conflicts vary according to the issues involved in relation to the cultures concerned.

The foregoing corroborates to a large extent the inevitability of social disputes in Tivland. However the future of the Tiv nation, just like any other nationality, depends to a large extent, on how successful the Tiv people can reorder their political, economic and social systems and how well the people can have a sense of belonging and fulfilment through effective management of disputes.

Successive governments have over the years set up tribunals and commissions of enquiry to investigate the disputes with the aim of resolving them. Apart from government, several non-governmental organisations also have been involved in the management of disputes in Tiv land. Moreover, International Organizations have also been involved in the management of disputes in Tivland and elsewhere. In spite of all these efforts, rising cases of disputes in Tivland raises questions about the effectiveness of the management strategies adopted (Idyorough, 2002). This study underscored residents’ views to prevailing land management techniques, vis-à-vis past disputes on land in the region. This is with a view to obtain information necessary on recurrent communal dispute in the area to serve as a guide to policy makers to enhance effective land use and administration, harmonious physical development on land and promote peace among residents, thereby looking at the security implications of this communal land dispute that is common in Tivland.

1.2       Statement of problems

Land disputes occur in many forms. There are disputes between singleparties (as for instance boundary disputes between neighbours), inheritance disputes between siblings and disputes over the use of a given piece of land. These disputes are comparably easy to solve. Those that include several parties though – such as group invasions or evictions of entire settlements – are more difficult to deal with. However, the national security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the nation-state through the use of economic, military and political power and the exercise of diplomacy. It is the protection of a nation from fear, danger or injury. The security of communities in every state is threatened by any change that might threaten its peace and stability whether through external invasion or internal rebellion. Land disputes has been a significant threats to national security internally, as it threaten the security of lives, property and the nation.

Historically in Nigeria, land was not of much economic value and was stable until the beginning of British rule in the 19thcentury. The admixture of the British and native systems produced a confusion in the transfer of land rights. Land possession has therefore become the cause of rural and urban resistance and insurrection leading to family, communal, states and national disputes. Land disputes is a serious argument or disagreement. It refers to land disputes, disagreements, quarrels and struggles, fights and wars between individuals, groups and countries (Della, 2004).  Due to the existence of different groups and individuals with diverse interests, disputes arising from land matters are expected. Land disputes are sometimes complex and politically sensitive and may have the capacity to result in disputes which may paralyse national security. Owing to this possible implication, land disputes must be managed. Management of land disputes requires an understanding of their security implications. This understanding is necessary in order to avoid these disputes as well as address the adverse consequences which may result from them to threaten the fragile stability and security of the family, community, state and the nation (Sara, 2010). As a consequence, this study seeks to examine security implications of communal land disputes and possible ways of their management using Tivland as a basis.

1.3       Objectives of study

The main objective of this study is to investigate the security implications of communal land disputes in Tivland. Specifically, the study is set to find out;

  1. Possible ways of managing communal land disputes in the Tivland
  2. The major causes of communal land disputes in Tivland
  3. To establish community inalienable rights over the land
  4. To trace the different local patterns and practices for obtaining and securing land rights
  5. To determine how communal land disputes threaten the security of lives and property and the inhabitants of Tivland.
  6. To proffer recommendations for disputes management and resolution in Tivland

1.4       Statement of the hypothesis

For a sound and valid investigation, the under listed hypothesis have been formulated and the validity will be tested in chapter four using appropriate statistical data.

Hypothesis I

Ho: There is no significant relationship between population and communal land disputes in Tiv-land

Hi:  There is significant relationship between population and communal land disputes in Tiv-land

Hypothesis II

Ho: Communal land disputes have not underdeveloped the Tiv-land

Hi:  Communal land disputes have underdeveloped the Tiv-land

Hypothesis III

Ho: Communal land disputes have no security implications on inhabitants of Tiv-land

Hi:  Communal land disputes have security implications on inhabitants of Tiv-land

Hypothesis IV

Ho: There is no significant relationship between communal boundary and security of lives and properties in Tiv-land

Hi:  There is significant relationship between communal boundary and security of lives and properties in Tiv-land

1.5       Scope and limitation of the study

This work is specially intended to cover only the communal land disputesin Tivland.  The various communal upheaval that have been witnessed among the dwellers and the internal communal land disputes that have previously occurred in the Tivland will make efforts of this research work limited by time, finance, transport, inadequate information and materials.

1.6       Significance of study

The issue of communal dispute has been a major obstacle to eradicatefor a stable Tivland where all the inhabitants are allowed to live peacefully with one another.  The statement of problem has emphasized that there is an urgent need to permanently address the issue of communal land disputes to avert further disaster that can affect the security of lives and properties.

The relevance of this work is that it unveils the security implications of the struggle of communal land dispute commonly occurring in the Tivland. As a result, ownership claims to land rights have turned brothers against each other, communities, states and even nations against each other.  This work will also contributes to the various writings e,g journals and textbooks that have been highlighting on the dangers of communal land disputes and how to handle it finally. It will help policy makers in the country and the world over to know the root cause of communal land disputes, so as to explore strategies by which the negative effects of disputes could be mitigated in the future. Thus, making lasting policies that will obliterate communalland disputes chauvinism and the consequent security implications in Tivland.

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