Newspaper Inquest into Tiv-Jukun Conflict 2001: An Analysis of Ethnic Inequality and Domination in Contemporary Nigeria

Rodney Ciboh


On October 22 to 24, 2001, the Nigerian army killed more than two hundred unarmed Tiv and destroyed homes, shops, public buildings and other property in more than seven towns and villages in Benue State, Nigeria. Vanguard newspaper held an Inquest into the crisis to discuss causes, pattern, history, and solutions (Vanguard 2001, November 19) to the Tiv/Jukun conflict. This paper attempts a discourse analysis of the conflict, to determine how ethnic inequality and domination in contemporary Nigeria are constructed and presented in text, what discursive structures, strategies, and other properties of text were used in defining ethnic minority relations and identities and polarising group opinions on the conflict. The study found routine discrimination against minority Tiv in these states, justified by positive representation of the Jukun majority and negative opinions about of Tiv. This positive and negative opinion about Us versus Them is legitimized by indigene-settler ideology and justified by systematic association of Tiv ethnic group with problematic and negative social and cultural differences in order to sustain existing negative attitudes about them.

Keywords: newspaper discourse, ethnic conflict, inequality, domination, citizenship

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3267 ISSN (Online)2224-3275

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