Ethnic and Religious Conflict in Nigeria

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Analysis of the challenges of religion and ethnicity on political stability in Nigeria’s fourth republic (1999-2011) INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Basically, Nigeria is a plural society and heterogeneous in virtually all the facet of life. The custom and tradition of Nigerians is so diverse to the extent that Nigeria as a country is now confronted with the problem of religion and ethnicity towards their political stability. The origin and history of ethnic conflict (societal wars and violence) can be traced from eternal (internal) state rivalry to external (physical). And its root cause is not very far from power competition and decision making over economic resources and other important human factor, like position. The implementation process has always involved more than one or two persons. In general concept, the author of this work traces conflict back to the first and early Patriarchal of human history and ever since then, there has been an increase (in various dimensions) of Conflict in the face of human world. Some are personal (internal) conflict, family, community, and group, intellectual, state, national and international in nature, to mention but few. In conforming to this idea, Badawi (2006) in his statement titled “World Apart” stated thus, “indeed the greatest discord today is among the descendants of Abraham. These are the people of the book, the followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, who had in fact shared a common beginning in the religion of Abraham”. In shedding more light in the above statement, Badawi statement goes far beyond religion, rather, he was tracing one of the earliest source of conflict which Badawi mentioned the off-springs of the said Abraham. Even before Abraham, there had been conflict, so it is as old as human history down to the Abrahamic period, to ancient kingdoms, Dukes, and Kings. In about 88 B. C., King Mithriadates VI of Pontus invaded Roman territory in Asian Minor. He advised Asian debtors to kill their Roman creditors. Happy to reduce their credit card bills, the Asians massacred 80,000 Romans. Ethno-political conflicts have greatly shaped our present world and of course have its structural phenomenon, (William Easterly, 2001). For instances, the conflict we now call Israeli and Palestinian war, has been an ever-lengthening sort. The Assyrian, Babylonian war, by King Nebuchadnezzar of the hanging Garden in history, the Persia war, Alexander the Great (the Macedonian mad man in history), the German war of Adolf’s Hitler, the Roman wars, narrowing all these down, we came to the horn of African continent which seem to be an epidemic field of conflicts of diverse kinds till date. The giant-lion of African continent, just like the origin of conflict is said to have stated very old in human history, even so in the case of Nigeria, which can be traced to the colonial period of history. Conflict takes different sizes and shapes with diverse reasons and purposes. Majority of the conflicts takes time before their escalation and at such, could have been transformed right at their respective early stages. The history of ethnicity and ethnic conflicts in Nigeria is also traced back to the colonial transgressions that forced the ethnic groups of the northern and southern provinces to become an entity called Nigeria in 1914. In the case of Nigeria situation, disturbing history of colonialism, this generated hatred and conflict among different ethnic groups. The task of addressing this seed of conflict planted by the British has been a complex one. After weakening the former diverse kingdoms, Emperors, etc now called Nigeria and reordering the groups’ politics, the colonial powers failed in nation building and providing for the people's basic needs. Hence, unemployment, poverty increase, and due to these, conflict over scarce resources ensue. The Southern and Northern protectorates were also being amalgamated into a nation. Thereafter, the merging of different colonies into one...
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