This study focused mainly on changes in the traditional institutions of governance occasioned by colonial rule and the impact of such changes on the organization of social life of erstwhile republican communities in Nigeria. These changes appeared to be the most fundamental and underlying cause of incessant violent conflicts and the seeming powerlessness on the part of State authorities to exert control and provide security to the communities. Relying essentially on content analysis of media reports, materials from the archives including reports by colonial officials on the Ebira community complimented largely with in-depth interviews carried out with leading actors in the conflicts, the study also examined the overall impact of the crises of the Nigerian State on politics and society among the Ebira and how that related to the dynamics of intra-ethnic violence. Among others, the study recommends that there is an urgent need to emphasise informal and traditional approaches to conflict management and peace building so as to ensure the empowerment of local communities and institutions in the management of conflict.
Key words: Clan, conflict, Ebira-Tao, ethnic group, identity mobilization, traditional institution.
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