ABODUNRIN, Hammed (2014) A Survey of Violence Related Deaths in Egbedore and Ifedayo Local Government of the State of Osun (2006-2014)
Invisible Violence project
Egbedore and Ifedayo local government areas (LGAs), like any other parts of the world, did not have complete immunity to violent conflicts and disasters that caused deaths. Though these areas are rural communities that did not attract media attention and have all happenings reported always, this does not mean that they had no share of violence leading to loss of lives between 2006 and 2014, the period under review. This paper focuses on these deaths, their causes, and the reasons such happenings were not reported by the national press.
A non-probability sampling technique was adopted for this study, using both incidental and purposive sampling to source information from people who were accessible and based on the researcher’s choice, for accuracy. In all, 40 copies of a questionnaire were administered to stakeholders in violence and disaster management, while two Focus Group Discussions were conducted with commercial drivers and motorcyclists in each of the LGAs. In addition, nine interviews were conducted among the community leaders in the study areas and journalists working in the state. These were complemented with relevant photographs. Secondary sources explored for the data used include records of the local governments, such as maps and souvenirs as well as their websites.
Virtually all the respondents (100% in Egbedore and 88.9% in Ifedayo) considered the study areas non-violent. However, nine and 13 violent deaths respectively were recorded in Egbedore and Ifedayo LGAs respectively during the period under review. Of these deaths, communal clashes and attacks over land disputes, police/transport union clashes, and personal attacks accounted for 22.2% in Egbedore and 30.8% in Ifedayo, whereas road accident deaths accounted for five (55.6%) in Egbedore and eight (61.5%) in Ifedayo. As revealed by the information gathered in the field, bad roads were responsible for the most of the accidents. For instance, Alagbede Hill, a particular spot along Ila-Ora road, recorded five of seven road crashes and six of the eight deaths caused by accidents in Ifedayo. Interviews conducted with journalists covering the State of Osun revealed that almost all media houses represented in the state had one reporter to cover 30 LGAs and one area council. A number of reasons were advanced for not covering the councils appropriately: there were claims of poor and irregular salaries—and hence an inability to make frequent visits to remote parts of the state—lack of community newspapers, bad roads and poor transportation services, and an uncooperative attitude from security operatives in releasing information. In addition, journalists pointed to different media house styles, which see some stories as not weighty enough to make national news.
In light of all these factors, adequate coverage of events in rural Nigeria to make violent incidents in such areas visible can only be achieved through the use of community-based media, not only to report violence but to also to offering early warning services.