Following a renewed clash between members of Offa and Erin-Ile communities of Kwara state leading to the death of 10 people and destruction of property worth millions of naira on Monday, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Youth Against Disaster Initiative (YADI) observed that:
1. The system of artificial and arbitrary boundaries that split ethnic groups among different local government areas and states in Nigeria could be responsible for disputes, neglect, oppression, domination, exploitation, victimization, discrimination, marginalization, nepotism, intolerance as well as the constant demand for secession by some groups.
2. Over the years, Offa and Erin-Ile communities have involved in incessant cases of avoidable boundary and land disputes with their attendant threat to life and property.
3. The violent conflicts between the two communities have posed serious challenges to their socio-economic well-being.
4. The various crises have been heightened by weak traditional and socio-political institutions, ignorance, and intolerance among members of the communities.
5. The rising unemployment rate, illiteracy and joblessness among the youths have extensively exposed the two communities to undesirable elements that could capitalize on insecurity to attack innocent citizens.
The Group recommended that:
1. The state government should first identify the dynamics of conflicts between the two communities; as two incidents, even if occurred in the same area, may not be viewed from same perception.
2. Effort to resolve the conflicts should give priority to the roles of traditional rulers, community/village heads, and the religious leaders who are likely to be more informed on the root causes of the clashes.
3. The tradition institutions in both communities should always encourage their members on attitudinal change in their mindset and proper orientation toward others.
4. The state and local governments should engage the jobless youths in the communities with basic knowledge, skill acquisitions, and local technical support to promote self-help skills as essential principles toward peace building.
5. The security agencies should quickly interfere and restore order, without resorting to tactics capable of worsening the crisis.
We commend the prompt intervention of the of the search and rescue team of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Kwara state government and other stakeholders who had helped to curtail the escalation of the crisis in the areas.

Abubakar Jimoh
National Coordinator, Youths Against Disasters Initiative (YADI)