1.1 Background to the Study
The Nigeria of today has remained a complex society, which is characterized with social, political, and religious crises of different categories: Boko Haram, Niger Delta crisis, ethno – religious crisis and of recent, Fulani herdsmen crisis. The rise in conflict involving herdsmen and farmers in so many communities and States in Nigeria is a serious national issue. The perpetrators of these acts are not confronted enough with necessary military might (Agunbiade, 1991).
No doubt, it is the role of the media to present issues as they happen, however, reporting conflict and violence-related news requires sensitivity, because the media is used to fuel and escalate conflicts, the tendency for the perpetuation of fear and prejudice that may propel people to violence is extremely high. How people receive and transmit information about crisis in their community is very central to their perception and how they will want peace and security to evolve (Adamu, 2017).
Adam (2017) opines that fueling conflict could come in form of negative coverage and news reportage which promotes hate speech, incendiary rumor, deliberate underreporting, and misreporting, over reporting of crime, sensitizing of crime and insecurity that would incite violence.
In short, the need to embrace professionalism by the media practitioners become necessary, the media are expected to play a critical role in the prevention and management of conflict and not to deliberately cause conflict of all sorts
In order to be abreast of global and national happenings, people rely on media to present firsthand accuracy reports of what his happening across the globe. The media have been saddled with the responsibility of informing to the people issues and happenings that surround them. Many of such reports have been said to be bias in their reportage; their ways and approaches to reportage of issues have attracted a lot of discourse in this line. (Osisanwo, 2016, Ayoola and Olaosun 2015,Greg and Nathan 2016, Adamu 2017). These scholars are of the opinion that newspaper presentations are characterized with the need to draw traffic to their press outfit as against accurate and expected reporting.
Adeoti (2014) opines that the way a media represents reportage determines the ideological orientation of individual journalist, editor or newspaper outlet he/ she represents. The way media presents or constructs the crises heightens crisis rather than mitigates it. Media representation of social and political issues have been said to be much of misrepresentation of social institution. For instance, the Nigeria police have come under attack by the Nigerian Media, thereby, worsening the image of the force over the public.
Scholars such as Olayemi (2000) and Abubakar (2014) are of the opinion that Nigeria media construction of crisis in a way that instigates members of the public to condemn the suspected perpetrators of the crisis, hence, already taking side in its narration. One could say that the most visible role being played by the media in conflict situations is in manner of reporting, which tells or dictates how the readers react to such phenomena.
On the other hand, Ofem (2014) asserts that there are re occurring clashes of interest between the host farming communities and the nomadic cattle herdsmen called Fulani. He identities destruction of crops, contamination of stream by cattle, disregard for traditional authority, overgrazing of follow land, sexual harassment of women by the Norman, as major reasons for the clashes in the affected States.
With the aforementioned allegations, it appears that the origin and lifestyle of the Fulani seems to have changed, and their approach used in going about businesses was not like before. In short, the assessment of the methods used to report Fulani herdsmen crisis has called for this research.
In conclusion, the way a media frame a story, nation , person, or crisis affects the way such entity will be perceived by members of the international community.
1.2 Aim and Objectives of Study
The aim of this research is to examine the representational techniques employed by the Nigeria newspaper outlets to report Fulani Herdsmens’ crisis.
The specific objectives are to:
1. Examine how social actors of the crisis are represented by the newspapers.
2. Assess the implications of the lexis or choice of words used for the reporting on the readers.
3. Inquire into the relationship of CDA to Crisis Management; and
4. Discuss the aftermath of the crisis and the reportage on educational development of the affected communities.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
For a long time, the nomadic Fulani herdsmen had co- lived with their host communities in many parts of Nigeria without fight, discord, or disagreement. However, in recent times, there had been incessant news reports on the outcry by many villagers, farmers and other residents of thee Fulani host communities on the countless atrocities of mass killing ,crop destruction, rape, setting their farm ablaze among others.
These actions were reported by many national newspapers, which promoted nothing short of hatred, ill feelings, fright for and against the Fulani men as a result of what people had read from our national newspapers, without visiting or sighting the affected communities. Simply put, Nigeria newspapers are the eyes and the nose of the average Nigerian, they do not only believe but they read but also spread, and argue based on what they heard and read from these newspapers outline.
From the foregoing, this research tends to investigate the place of objectivity in the reportage regarding Fulani herdmens’ crisis in Nigeria and also to analyse the strategies deployed by the newspaper reporters to construct and present the herdmens’ crisis to their news hungry audience.
1.4 Purpose of the Study
No doubt, the style, methods, and choice of words of a reporter to report a crisis goes a long way to determine if the conflict will be escalated or not. Along this line, the media methods of reporting needs to be well researched into, to as to gauge their level of involvement in provoking violence through their platform, and to check if they are biased towards the Fulani herdmens or not. The research therefore investigates the accuracy of the Nigerian Newspapers in crisis reporting. It as well considers the place of Critical Discourse in relation to crisis report in and media studies.
1.5 Significance of the study
Though a larger number of scholarly works have been done on media representation in recent time, many of the perspectives such as Adam (2016), Greg and Nathan (2016) are not linguistically oriented; rather they have their root in media studies. Also, Iron (1994), Awogbade (1978), and Agunbiade (2017) has looked at the topical issue from cattle colony narrative. However, Osisanwo (2016), Olaluwoye (2017), Ayoola and Olaosun (2015) gave a lingiutsc outlook at the media representation of terrorism reporting in Nigeria.
Hence, this study is unique for it serves as a frontier in giving a linguistic approach to the study of Fulani herdmens‘crisis in Nigeria, and seeks to contribute to managing crisis through the use of CDA.
1.6 Research Questions.
In the course of carrying out the research, the researcher tends to answer the following questions:
1. How has Fulani Herdmens‘ crisis been reported by the media?
2. In what light are the social actors of the conflicts being framed?
3. What are the implications of such representation on the reader?
4. What is the place of CDA in crisis reporting and management?
5. What are the effects of the crisis on educational development of the affected communities.
1.7 Scope of the Study
For data, the researcher makes use of four (4) e Newspaper platforms. These papers are Nigeria based. The newspapers are; The Nation, The Punch, The Vanguard and the Leadership. Each of these papers has a printed version as well as electronic version. For the sake of accessibility, the research preferred to make use of the electronic copies, by downloading them from their various websites. The researcher understudies, analyze and interpret the headlines, and cover stories of the newspapers.
The research theoretical framework is Critical Discourse Analysis, an approach that looks at how language as been used to project dominance of one group over another, inequality, gender imbalance, discrimination and so on. However, the researcher method of CDA aligns with Van Leeuween’s approach to Critical Discourse Analysis. This approach is relevant because it gives recognition to the ‗social actors‘ and the action itself. It explains the light in which these social actors are represented, which of course is the basis of this research. Furthermore, the research also makes use of M.A.K Hallidays’s Systemic Functional Grammar (SGF). Here, we looked at Hallidays ―Transitivity Theory ― that‘s the functional semantic approach to the study of language, which explores how people use language in different context and how language is structured for use a s semiotic system. Osisanwo, (2016).
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The following concepts and terms are used in the work; therefore, the meanings of such terms are discussed. The terms are; Critical Discourse Analysis, Media Representation, Fulani Herdsmen, Crisis Discourse.
1.8.1 CDA : CDA is an abbreviation for Critical Discourse Analysis, it is an approach of Discourse Analytical research that unveils how language has been use to express dominance, power abuse, ideology, inequality, and (mis)representation of social actors. CDA can be said to be an trans disciplinary approach to the study of discourse that sees language as type of social practice.
Van Dijn (1995), one of the proponents of CDA defines CDA as a general umbrella description for a district approach to the study of text and talk, emerging from critical linguistics, critical semiotics and socio – political deliberate ways of investigating language, discourse, and communication. CDA can be used to study social issues with emphasis on dominance, representation, inequality, racism etc. CDA does not only study verbal text, but also looks into videos, films, sounds music.
CDA also unveils the underlining ideologies in a text; it uncovers the hidden or implicit relations that exist beneath a text. That‘s, it specifically focuses on the strategies of manipulation, legitimation, (mis)representation and other strategic ways used to manipulate the mind and actions of the people. (Dijk, 2005).
1.8.2 Media Representation
Media Representation is the way in which the media portray particular groups, community, experiences, idea or topic from a particular ideological or value perspective. In order to interpret media texts to determine how they have represented ideas and issues, it is important to put into consideration the following; construction, selection ,anchorage, stereotype, and the concept of ideology (Agunbiade, 2018).
Media Representation of controversial issues can be very influential, especially if they are the only opinion on a certain subject that a person reads or sees. This explains a negative representation of Africa for so long by the foreign media, because they losses the monopoly of media in the past time. African writers and media are only taking time to re- write and re represent what Africa really is in recent times.
1.8.3 Crisis: Crisis by Collins Dictionary (2018) sees crisis as a situation in which something or someone is affected by one or more serious problem. Crisis is thus any event that is going ( or expected) to lead to an unstable or dangerous situation affecting an individual, group , community or a whole society.( Wikipedia, 2018).
Crisis is expected to bring about negative implications on social, political, security, and of course education order of the people. Crises within the context of this research refer to human caused phenomena that lead to the unrest of others in a society.
1.8.4 Fulani herdsmen:
Fulani herdsmen are the nomads whose main occupation are raising live stocks such as; cows, cattle, camel etc. Fulani herdsmen in their characteristic way of pasturing, move cattle from one area to another in search of green pasture to feed their livestocks. Due to the climate condition of the forest belt of West Africa, the herdsmen can be found in Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Benin, Cameroon and some other parts of West Africa.
Fulani herdsmen engage in both random and planned Trans humane movement. Random movement are usually embarked on by Fulani herdsmen, while planned movement are usually taken by the nomadic pastoralist.( Wikipedia,2018).The reason for such migration is for the herdsmen to reach area with sufficient grass and water for the cattle. The Fulani, cattle, and shelter are mobile and unending destination.