This PhD thesis examines the conflict between two Yoruba sub-groups in Nigeria (the Ife and the Modakeke) which has been continuing for more than a century. The thesis assesses the prospects for the resolution of the conflict by identifying the historical, anthropological, social, and legal backgrounds to the conflict. It evaluates, with reference to international and national laws, preventive and resolution interventions and processes that may lead the groups to a form of self-determination. In this form of self-determination, the Nigerian State would grant the Modakeke sub-group independence from the Ife, and internal self-determination for the Ife and the Modakeke. The Nigerian State would continue to be responsible for the protection of the groups by keeping them apart from each other.
The hypothesis of the thesis is that the government of Nigeria should be advised that, the Ife and the Modakeke people, having been in conflict with each other over land, status, and identity issues since pre-colonial times and with the frequency of violent conflict having increased since the end of colonialization, will continue to be in conflict with each other because they have not been effectively separated from each other and to resolve the conflict the groups must be separated. Separation here refers to economic and political separation by means of granting internal self-determination through a Local Government Authority dominated by Modakeke and located in Modakeke occupied land within the Nigerian Federal system; physical separation is not feasible for resolving their conflict in modern Nigeria.
In taking these steps to separate the groups, the government of Nigeria would act so as to ensure separate land rights, and separate economic and political status for each ethnic group relative to the other --primarily by allowing the Modakeke group to have its own local authority, and by providing appropriate monitoring to ensure the continuation of peaceful relations between the two groups so that each can experience a modern, internal economic and political autonomy within the Nigerian State.
The thesis examines the ability of the international community under customary international law and the African Union to intervene so as to require the Nigerian State to carry out their responsibility to protect the Ife and the Modakeke groups from any human right breaches and negative consequences resulting from the conflict. Furthermore, the thesis assesses some aspects of the role of the African Union in putting pressure on the Nigerian government to reach a resolution of the conflict between the two groups.
The ultimate aim of this thesis is to examine the Ife-Modakeke conflict with the primary objective of making recommendations to the government of Nigeria for resolving the conflict. However, as it reflects wider and structural issues, it can partly serve as a case study about conflict resolution in similar disputes. In this way, the study contributes to the effectiveness of resolving the Ife-Modakeke conflict in Nigeria and more widely in Africa.
The main research method used in this thesis is the case study method using archival materials, document analysis, maps, and interviews in Nigeria with clearance from the Ethics Committee of the University of Westminster.