MEDIA’S INFLUENCE ON CRISES MANAGEMENT IN NIMBO COMMUNITY

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Abstract

Crises between herders and farmers have been a recurring issue in Nigeria most especially in the North Central states of Taraba, Nasarawa, Plateau, and Benue and recently, in the south east sate Nigeria. This bloodlust has resulted in displacement of families, loss of lives and destruction of families. As broadcast media consumption patterns continue to evolve, surveillance still remains one of the cardinal functions of this channel of communication, especially in the matters of security.  This study examined how rural broadcasting can help intercede in conflict resolution between farming communities and herdsmen in Nimbo community, Enugu state. It adopted survey research method with the questionnaire and interview as its instrument of data collection. The population was made up of residents of Uzo-Uwani local government area of Enugu state. The findings revealed that community broadcasting has done nothing in the dissemination of safety guidelines to tackle the challenges of rural dwellers and they have failed to intercede in conflict resolution between farming communities and herdsmen in Nimbo community through their programs.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

Broadcasting have played many roles in the Nigerian society since its evolution in the 1950s, the broadcast media of radio and television are very familiar to most people(Okunna, 2012),and they are distinct from other media because they make use of transmission technology through which their signals are scattered far and wide. Through broadcasting, the lives of Nigerians in the cities and rural areas are directly or indirectly affected through programs, information dissemination, commercials and so on. Every day of our lives we witness the incredible power of broadcast media to provide all sorts of information. There is need for exchange of information to ensure completion of task; such exchange is even more pertinent especially on sensitive areas such as security and crisis management. Inefficiency will be the result were exchange of information is low or there could be a breakdown of law and order, destruction of lives and property as is seen in some parts of Nigeria in recent times. It is no surprise Stappard, cited in Okunna (2012) said information is light and Odogwu (1998), further emphasizes this when he says that information is light, information on anything is light. Information is a vital resource that needs to be properly developed and managed because it can have a negative boomerang effect on society if ignored. Broadcasting constitutes an increasingly important source of citizens’ knowledge about public affairs and contributes significantly to the social construction of reality (Ross, 2003).  Broadcast media are recognised as agents for framing constructive forces that contribute to the production of social reality in general and the understanding of the nature of specific social problems in particular. Schneider et al., (2010) agree that media content does not only provide the unknown to readers, but also confirms or disconfirms reality about which they already know and of some event they have witnessed. Sundin (2010) opines that while information or news reflects what goes on in a community, it also shape social phenomena in important ways; it projects a collective knowledge and perceptions of reality about politics and conflicts and subsequently affects opinions and behaviour.

Community broadcasting forms an important third pillar of broadcast media, alongside commercial and public broadcasters, and are a crucial part of a healthy, pluralistic media sector. The advocacy for the community radio came with the realization that commercial radio may be excluding so many people in access and participation (Okunna, 2012).Community broadcast programs are often built around the concepts of access and participation. Vigil (1997) cited in Opubor (2007, p.7) elucidates the philosophy of community broadcasting thus:“When radio fosters the participation of citizens and defends their interests; when it reflects the tastes of the majority…. when it truly informs; when it helps resolve the thousand and one problems of daily life; when all ideas are respected; when cultural diversity is stimulated over commercial homogeneity; when they are main players in communication and not simply a pretty voice or a publicity gimmick; when no type of dictatorship is tolerated, not even the musical dictatorship of the big recording studio; when everyone’s word fly without discrimination or censorship, that is community radio broadcasting. Radio stations that bear this name do not fit the logic of money or advertising. Their purpose is different; their best efforts are put at the disposal of the civil society”.

Attacks by herdsmen are understood to have taken more sophisticated dimensions with the use of new types of weapons and communication devices. North Central region of the country appears to be the hotbed of these conflicts (Ciboh, 2017),although the problem remains spread across other parts of the country like in Nimbo community, a border town in Uzo-Uwani LGA, Enugu state, where seven villages Ekwuru, Nimbo-Ngwoko, Ugwuijoro, Ebor, Enugu-Nimbo, Umuome and Ugwuachara were invaded and their inhabitants massacred by several armed herdsmen. All the communities attacked are rural communities with a likelihood of lack information on safety or preventive measures against such attacks. Nwosu et al, (2005 p. 38) cited in Edegoh et al, (2013), opined that there is high rate of ignorance in the rural areas beyond poor physical development of such areas. Rural broadcasting must present itself as the direct mirror image of the rural dwellers particularly during crises and conflict by giving them necessary information especially guidelines to handle herdsmen which is one of the major roles broadcasting play in the society.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Conflicts between herders and farmers have been a recurring issue in Nigeria most especially in the North Central states of Taraba, Nasarawa, Plateau, and Benue (McGregor, 2014), and recently, in the south east sates. In 2004, herder-farmer conflicts resulted in ‘near-genocide’ of Christians and Muslims in Plateau State, with more than 20,000 refugees fleeing to neighbouring Cameroon (Moritz, 2010). Conflicts resulting from cattle grazing actually accounted for 35% of all reported crisis between 1991 and 2005 in Nigeria (Fasona and Omojola, 2005).Between June 2006 and May 2014, about one hundred and eleven violent attacks by Fulani herdsmen were reported by the press across the 36 states of Nigeria with seven incidents in 2006, nine in 2007, six in 2008, thirteen in 2009, nine in 2010, fifteen in 2011, seventeen in 2012, twenty seven in 2013, and eight as at May 2014 (Olayoku, 2014 p.7). According to a report published by SMB Intelligence over 2,000 people have been killed in conflicts between the herdsmen and different host communities in 2015 alone, (Amzat et al, (2016) cited in Ciboh (2017). These attacks are continuing and spreading across Nigeria with more sophisticated dimensions, adopting new types of weapons and communication devices (Olayoku, 2014).

Conflict is of major news value to media and as such remains foremost fodder for broadcast media. This study examines if rural broadcasting has interceded in conflict resolution between farming communities and herdsmen in Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani LGA through disseminating relevant information on security and safety guidelines.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The following are the objective of the study:

  1. To ascertain the level of exposure to community broadcasting in Nimbo.
  2. To find out how residents of Nimbo perceive community broadcasting.
  3. To find out how residents of Nimbo respond to security and crisis information concerning their communities.
  4. To ascertain whether security and safety information are disseminated through rural broadcasting channels in Nimbo.
MEDIA’S INFLUENCE ON CRISES MANAGEMENT IN NIMBO COMMUNITY