RELIGION AND CONFLICT IN NIGERIA SINCE THE AMALGAMATION

RELIGION AND CONFLICT IN NIGERIA SINCE THE AMALGAMATION

Authors

  • ELE SAMSON

Abstract

The religious conflicts that have constituted a re-current phenomenon in contemporary Nigeria
is worrisome. The climax of religious conflicts is represented by the emergence of the Boko
Haram radical group whose movement, fought under the banner of religion, seeks the
deconstruction of western institutions, values and influences in the country with a view to
establishing a Theocratic State. In 2014, analysts were of the view that the security situation
in the country had gone out of control consequent on the Boko Haram repeated insurgency.
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consideration of its foreign policy in respect to overseas peace keeping missions by the military
due to the need to salvage especially some areas in the Northeastern part of the country from
the grip of the sect. It is against this back-drop that the paper, adopting the content analysis of
secondary sources as its methodology, evaluates religion and conflicts in Nigeria since 1914
with a view to unraveling the factors responsible for it and the implication for the nation hence
the need to tame the tides. It contends that distrust and suspicion amongst the Nigerian peoples
were implanted by colonialism and its policies forming the background of religious conflicts
in the nation. With regards to causation, the findings indicated that the heterogeneous nature
of the society, the OIC question, radical utterances by religious leaders, the influence of
globalization on Christian-Muslim relationship world-wide, illiteracy amongst some youths
have ignited incidences of religious conflicts in Post-Colonial Nigeria. It argues that religious
conflicts have been tainted with ethnicity, poverty, manipulation of religion by greedy elite
class such that sectarian, political and resource based conflicts are often tagged religious
conflicts by the parties involved to source allies and support. Yet, they are representations of
diverse interests and claims fought for under the platform of religion. It indicated the
consequences of such violent conflicts for the nation to include displacement of
people/homelessness, mal-nutrition, destruction of social and economic infrastructure,
discouragement of foreign investors and so on. The paper recommends that the teaching of
peace and conflict studies in all educational institutions; massive sensitization and
enlightenment of citizenry through the media on the prevention of manipulation of religion;
and the cultivation of the habit of religious tolerance among the members of the public as tools
in minimizing the wave of religious crisis in contemporary Nigeria.

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Published

2023-08-08

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