Transformative Conflict Resolution Using Forum Theatre: The Jos North, Nigeria Flash Point Paradigm
Nyam, Esther Akumbo
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Violent conflict in Jos North, Plateau State, Nigeria, like other parts of the world, has become a serious concern creating a rift in human relations. This study therefore seeks to explore, in Theatre for Development (TFD), the techniques of Boal’s Forum Theatre (FT) in bringing about peaceful resolution in Jos, Plateau State. The study explores the philosophical thrust of forum theatre to improve on the existing process of utilizing the challenges and strategies of FT for sustainable results. FT has today continued to interrogate several ways of resolving such issues and identifying ways of intervention and stoppage of further escalation of the violent conflict in the city of Jos. The study explores the assumption of Boal’s Forum Theatre technique in FT as appropriate instrument of transformation and change. This theatrical and drama process in FT was perceived relevant in resolving the Jos violence. TFD was used effectively in an attempt to bring about transformation, conscientization and social change. The theoretical and conceptual framework is based on the assumptions that the study was appropriate in resolving the Jos violent conflict. The study adopted a case study design to explore new ways of repositioning the practice of FT. Using triangulation, three locations in Jos, Plateau State Nigeria were selected and 110 participants were randomly selected across the sample population to take part in this qualitative study. This study involved Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), Semi Structured Interviews (SSIs), questionnaire administration, Participant observation approach which were employed to access FT methods as an effective medium for transformation and change. The findings show that FT activities employed in the study area for addressing violent conflicts include: drama, songs, music, peace rally and children’s theatre. However, inadequate monitoring and evaluation by practitioners, funding, advocacy and community involvement were found to be the challenges. As a means of mitigating the challenges, the study found that peace building, public enlightenment and advocacy, intensifying security, addressing segregated settlements, among others, are possible solutions.