Being a paper presented at the Right thinking political forum 23rd July, 2012.
Theme: Socio-Political Conflict what nest in Nigeria
Religious violence in Nigeria is a major potential threat to the sustainability of democracy especially under this democratic dispensation. Most of these violence are tied to the imbalances in the amalgamation of different Nigerian peoples by the British colonial masters which later resulted in the division of the country along North/South, Muslim / Christian, Indigene / settler lines, etc. In an attempt to gain the upper hand, different peoples have been set against one another and this has led to series of terrorist attacks across the nation where many lives were lost, other thousands displaced and inestimable properties destroyed. This paper however discusses religious terrorism and survival of democracy in Nigeria- Book Haram Experience. It employs analytical approach as its research method and makes use of written records such as books, journals, magazines and newspapers as sources of its information. The paper concludes by recommending among all that economic problem such as poverty, unemployment, e.t.c among people, most especially in the north be resolved; peaceful, religious dialogue embraced by adherents of different religions; all democratic principles strongly recognized and respected; and our political elites re-orientated not to hide in religious crises to have their political ambitions fulfilled.
Nigeria is challenged as never before in providing for the security of her citizens. It should be emphasized that the trend of violence most especially religious ones in Nigeria under this latest democratic dispensation is a paradox, especially when viewed from the fact that democracy is supposed to curb violence in all its ramifications. However, the situations in the country do not conform to this. Factors like poverty, injustice, unemployment, religious fanatism, corruption and inefficient security outfits as well as social and economic dialectics inherent in the country have ensured the growing spate of religious violence. Religious violence has been part of the Nigerian land scope since the “80s, but the spiral of violent conflicts generated by religion in the Fourth Republic has become ferocious and alarming. Beginning from 1999, the country has recorded very bizarre experiences of religious violence (Egwu, 2001). The first was the outbreak of ethno-religious uprising in Sagamu in 1999. The trouble started at about 11.00pm on Saturday when an Hausa women allegedly flouted Oro cult tradition (Alanamu, 2004).The frequency of conflicts leading to violence and extensive destruction of lives and property, especially since the early 1980s in many parts of the country, can without exaggeration, be presented as ethnic, religious or both. However, research finding indicate that underlining most of the ethno-religious conflicts are economic and political crises (Ibrahim, 2002). To corroborate this view, youths launched protests in northern towns and cities after President Good Luck Jonathan, a Christian from the South-South region of Nigeria was declared the winner of the April 16 Presidential election, defeating former military ruler and northern Muslim, Muhammed Buhari. (Tribune, 18th April, 2011). Nigeria is a state under perpetual internal security threat. Threats to human and national security range from the menace of political and electioneering conflicts, socio-economic agitations, ethno-religious crises, ethnic militias, boundary disputes, cultism, criminality and organized crimes (Ilufoye, 2009). These problems individually and collectively constitute threats to the peace, security and development of the country. Invariably they have implications for the continuity and...