Religious Violence in Nigeria

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Religious Violence in Nigeria – the Causes and Solutions: an Islamic Perspective
BY
A. O. Omotosho
Swedish Missiological Theme
2003, P. 15-31
Introduction
M. M.C. K. Ajuluchukwu in his rejoinder to Northern Zone of the Christian Association of Nigeria’s booklet Leadership in Nigeria observes: “Ordinary Nigerian know nothing about inter-religious cleavages except when incited by their respective doctrinal leader. 1” This remark is a challenge and indictment to Nigerian religious leaders, and worth taking up keeping in mind the recent history of Nigeria in term of inter-religious harmony. So the purpose of this article is to examine the causes of inter-and intra-religious violence in Nigeria. It will also examine the role of
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Political violence
These were some other disturbances that were more political or tribal in nature than religious, which were erroneously described by some people as religious, simply because the two parties involved belong to a different religion. These include the Zangon Kataf riot of 1992. This involved Hausa settlers and non-Hausa people of Southern Zaria. The riot spread later to
Kaduna, Zaria ad their environs. Many people died. In April 1994, Aminu Mato, Hausa by tribe, was appointed as Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of Jos Local Government of plateau State, to the displeasure of local people. This led to serious violence in which many lives were lost and the appointment was reversed. The only connection between these two incidences and religion was that Hausa settlers in the first case were largely Muslims and Aminu Mato in the second case was also a Muslim, while the opposing sides were largely Christians.
Causes of religious violence
Many factors are responsible for religious violence in Nigeria. However, in order to do justice, it will be proper to classify these factors according to the nature of the violence. As already pointed out, Nigeria has experienced both intra ad inter- religious violence. In the case of intrareligious violence, two major reasons can be identified.
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