From ‘migrants’ to ‘militants’: historizing migration and communal conflicts in Aguleri and Umuleri communities of Southeastern Nigeria
Ifeanyi Onwuzuruigbo, University of Ibadan
Recent developments in global economics and international relations have inspired increased scholarly inquiry on migration. In sub-Sahara Africa, studies of migration have been largely conceptualized as a continuing process of circulation. As such, concepts like ‘circulation of labour’, ‘target migration’ and ‘reciprocal migration’ have dominated the literature on migration. Consequently, migration has rarely been adequately conceptualized and contextualized. While it is true that migration is a growing phenomenon anchored deep in history, it is not very often understood longitudinally as a central element in the composition and re-composition of human society. In the context of the incipient escalation of intra-state insurgency, the rise of ethnic militias and non-state armed groups in Africa, the role of migration in the constitution and reconstitution of communal and ethnic groups and fomenting ‘new conflicts’ between groups have elicited research interest. This paper focuses on the nexus between migration, urbanization and ‘new conflicts’ in Nigeria.