The Government of Nigeria (GoN) has attempted to balance national security with politics in addressing the rising national conflict between nomadic pastoralist and sedentary farming communities. Some in the GoN frame the pastoralists’ conflict as seeking grassland or religious recognition, while others frame the conflict as pastoralists using unlawful force for political ends. Each frame could differentially affect how citizens support the violence in the short term, as well as potentially influence if the state can be effective in obtaining support for policy compromise and negotiations in the long term. This study tests that assumption, examining how civilians respond to the narrative framing of this specific conflict in Nigeria. The particular focus will be the effect of different framing designs on support for a peaceful resolution.
This intervention evaluation will target 450 individuals located in at least one state within the geopolitical zone of Nigeria with incidences of the conflict. Half of the participants will be randomly assigned to a control arm, and the other half will be distributed across the four treatment arms – within one of four single frame conditions. In these groups, participants will be exposed to different types of framing about why the conflict exists, including causes related to economic competition, religion vs. secular, tribalism, and foreign terrorism.
Respondents will then be administered a survey asking about why the conflict exists and the degree to which they agree with different options for resolutions. The two outcome variables measured are 1) acceptance of violence to defend one’s property from encroachment and 2) support for peaceful resolution in terms of policy compromise and negotiations.
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