Ethnic conflict in Nigeria has led to the lack of peace and harmony.Nigeria is a complex country in Africa with over 300 ethnic groups and 120 different languages spoken throughout the country. The issue of discrimination, based on “We” and “Them.” negatively affect the socio-economic and political development of Nigeria. Since the day of independence, there has been the struggle for superiority and recognition among the various ethnic groups that led to the Nigerian civil war from 1967-70. Colonization, the struggle for position and power, resource control, social class status and land dispute has been the causes of ethnic conflicts within Nigeria. The objectives of this study are to explain the root causes of ethnic conflicts that lead to ethno–religious conflicts in Nigeria and to evaluate the magnitude of human and material resources destroyed as a result of such conflicts. A historical research method was employed for gathering secondary data from sources such as books, newspapers, magazines, dictionaries, journals, government publications and online information. The result revealed that the six geo-political zones of Nigeria namely; north West, North East, North Central, South West, South-South and South East zones have all witnessed all kinds of ethnic conflicts resulted from the same set of causes. Based on the findings, it was recommended that Nigeria should stop the practice of federalism and embrace confederation, which will give the country and its people autonomy to rule and manage their resources. The government should not be biased in sharing the wealth of the nation, one ethnic group, in particular, should not be favored against another.
1.1 Background of the study
Nigeria is a country in the continent of Africa, with over 300 ethnic groups and 120 different languages spoken in the country. Nigeria has two major religious affiliations Christianity and Islam, which are both the origin and history of ethnic conflict in the country. The ethnic groups have all seen themselves as a rival competing for power and decision making over economic resources. Today the country faces a more serious challenge to peace and stability as a result of ethnic differences; this has led to insecurity, instability, poverty and corrupt political institutions in the country.
According to Reuter (2015) International peace and security has been mainly threatened by ethnic clashes. The clashes in Balkans, Rwanda, Chechnya, Iraq, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Darfur, as well as in Israel where the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, are the worst examples of the late 20th and 21st centuries. Ethnic chaos is the widely known result of unstable province, states and most of the case, the whole region. These incidents are associated with ethnic clashes, multitude human right violations, genocide and crimes against humanity, all make the economic to fall to the lowest, state failure and refugee crises. Chaos in ethnic clashes often led to huge human hardship.
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