ETHNO-RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS IN BIRNIN GWARI LGA, KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA, AND THEIR ECONOMIC AND EDUCATIONAL IMPACT ON CHRISTIAN YOUTHS
1.1 THE STUDY’S BACKGROUND
Nigeria is sometimes regarded as a profoundly divided country, with significant political topics being actively and/or violently debated along with the country’s multiple ethnic, religious, and regional divisions (Smyth and Robinson, 2001). Nigeria has one of the most severely divided governments in Africa, owing to its complex network of politically salient identities and a history of chronic and seemingly intractable conflicts and instability (Osaghae and Suberu, 2005).
Since its inception as a colonial state, Nigeria has struggled with the issue of territorial or state legitimacy, which has frequently impeded its efforts at national cohesion, democratization, stability, and economic development (Maier, 2000). The late 1960s civil war, which started soon after the country’s independence in 1960, looks to have been the crisis’ climax. Since the country’s transition to civilian rule in 1999, Nigeria has seen a tremendous increase in warfare.
Following these developments, members of distinct ethnic countries became aware of their separate identities as a result of the infrequent occurrence of episodic social interpretation of intergroup linkages (Sanda, 1999). The Bakassi Boys, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), the Oodua People Congress (OPC), the Egbesu Boys,
the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), and, more recently, Boko Haram have all formed and operated militia groups as a result of the intense communal and religious conflict. These Militia groups have given a safe sanctuary for an army of unemployed youngsters (Alegbeleye, 2014).
Ethno-religious crises are a common occurrence in human history, and almost no race has avoided one at some point. The world’s two holy books, the Quran and the Bible, documented how our predecessors went through ethnic crises, religious crises, or ethno-religious crises at various moments in recent history. This means that the ethno-religious conflict is not exclusive to Nigeria nor a new phenomenon (Omoregbe, 2002).
Ethnic and religious sensitivities have presented a threat to Nigeria’s progress, coexistence, peace, and unity as members of a single sovereign democratic state since its independence. Only a few states in Nigeria have not had an ethnic or religious crisis in the recent past. A state will enjoy development if it is free of crises. Ethnic groups differ from the main population of a community because of ethnic origin or cultural background.
Gould and Kilb (1956) and Nnoli (1978) describe ethnicity as a social formation characterized by communal features of its boundaries. Language, culture, or a combination of the two may be crucial communal characteristics. This implies that an ethnic group will have its own territory, distinct from other ethnicities, under a policy. In Nigeria, for example, the principal ethnic groups are the Yoruba in western Nigeria, the Hausa in northern Nigeria, the Igbo in eastern Nigeria, and the Ogoni in southern Nigeria.
The use of ethnicity as a scapegoat for all vices associated with the Nigerian body polity has pushed the subject to the forefront of the study of Nigerian political economics. No study is deemed scientific until it examines the significance or non-importance of ethnicity in its analysis and findings.
Thus, analysts interested in nationalism, decolonization, national integration, political parties, military intervention, corruption, economic development, structural adjustment, democratization, and violent conflict have all investigated the ‘ethnicity’ component. This was true even in the 1960s and 1970s, when major intellectual traditions thought ethnicity was a secondary explanatory variable, at best an epiphenomenon and at worst a cover for class privilege (Sklar, 1967).
The result of such ethnicity interest, which is tied to Nigerian society’s high level of ‘ethnic consciousness’ (Lewis et al; 2002), is a plethora of ethnicity literature, making a critique Herculean. “The study of ethnic relations in Nigeria has gone through a number of phases reflecting changes in the country’s political status as well as changes in styles and trends in the social science research agenda,” writes Jinadu (1994).
Joireman (2003) says that, from a historical standpoint, ethnicity did not enter common usage until the late twentieth century; it is a concept that is extensively contested in academic literature. Joireman regards ethnicity as the first manifestation of identity when it comes to nationalism.
Religion is defined as the belief in the existence of a god or gods, as well as the behaviors connected with their worship. It is also one of the faith systems based on the belief in the existence of a specific god or gods, such as the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religions, as well as a number of other global religions.
Almost every human being believes in a Supreme Being (called by numerous local names) who controls over the universe, both visible and hidden. He, among other things, creates a moral standard for man to aspire towards and is capable of punishing man both now and in the future. Religion is described as man’s attempt to appease the Supreme Being, namely to secure a favorable place for himself in the hereafter. It arises from an innate proclivity and is extremely personal because one has the option to believe or disagree (Olayiwola, 2011).
Religion is also characterized as an institutional system of beliefs, values, and symbolic rituals that provide a collection of primary solutions to issues such as the ultimate meaning of death, barriers, pain, and so on. In this determination, religion is considered as a social institution. In my perspective, religion is the belief in the existence of a supernatural being known as God who created heaven, earth, and those who dwell on them (Samari, 2016).
Nigeria is a religiously pluralistic society where everyone is free to worship whatever religion they like, whether Islam, Christianity, or African traditional religion. Since time immemorial, man has had a natural desire to worship, which has resulted in the emergence of a mosaic of beliefs, attitudes, and actions. Religion has been seen throughout history as a worldwide institution incorporating a set of core concepts and practices.
Religion is meant to foster a healthy environment for a functional and flourishing community in all societies. Religion is commonly viewed by scholars as a living thing, and any living thing is deeply interested in what is going on around it. Furthermore, every religion advocated peace, with oneself, with others, and with God. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of calm in our culture these days (Okwueze, 2003).
The history of religion cannot be separated from the struggle that has followed it throughout history. In Nigerian society, all of Nnoli’s insights regarding crisis prevention are fairly prevalent. This leads to polarization and socioeconomic competitiveness, both of which have negative social repercussions.
Religion, on the other hand, is so fundamental to human society that it cannot be ignored. Without it, world history would be incomplete. Religion is as old as humanity and will most likely survive for as long as man does (Omoregbe, 2002). A general definition of religion is difficult, if not impossible, to establish. This could be attributed to the discipline’s breadth, as it pervades many aspects of life and allows for individual perspectives (Osibodu, 2000).
Religion is derived from three Latin words: ligare (to bind), relegere (to link), and religio (to have a relationship). As a result, religion might be defined as something that connects man to a transcendent being, a god whom man believes exists and worships; man and God (Omoregbe, 2002).
A state or situation of dispute in an interactional process is defined as conflict (crisis). A crisis arises when two or more principles, views, or points of view are essentially irreconcilable and have yet to be reconciled or agreed upon (Bagaji, 2012).
To understand the concept of socioeconomic development, it is important to define development. In general, development is described as the process through which anything changes from an unwanted to a tolerable condition. Development can also refer to an improvement in people’s lifestyles as a result of better education, money, skill development, and employment opportunities (Adeniyi, 1993).
It is an economic and social change process driven by cultural and environmental factors. As a result, socioeconomic development refers to the process of social and economic development in a society. It is quantified using indicators like as GDP, life expectancy, literacy, and employment levels (Okonjo-Iweala and Osafo-Kwaako, 2007).
Religious tolerance among members of many religions is and will continue to be vital in the country’s socioeconomic development. There can be no meaningful growth without peace, which is why the government at all levels should work together to keep the country’s crisis level to a bare minimum. The truth is that good governance and accountability are sacrosanct because they enhance the country’s socioeconomic progress.
Nigeria has a long history of ethnic and religious conflict. Ethnic and religious conflicts and differences are inextricably intertwined in contemporary Nigeria, according to (Oji and Anugwom, 2004).
1.2 THE PROBLEM’S STATEMENT
The prevalence of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria, particularly in the country’s north, has aroused widespread concern among academics. These crises usually generate hostile conduct among Muslims and Christians, instilling a great awareness of religious sentiment that harms their socioeconomic progress.
The goal of this study is to look into the influence of ethno-religious disputes on the economic and educational growth of Birnin Gwari LGA in order to give recommendations to those who are affected by the topic at hand and the world at large.
1.3 THE STUDY’S OBJECTIVE
The primary goal of this research is to investigate ethno-religious conflicts and their economic and educational consequences for Christian adolescents in Kaduna state. As a result, the following are the precise goals:
To investigate the consequences of ethno-religious conflicts on Christian youth education in Birnin Gwari LGA, Kaduna.
To look into the role of religious leaders in reducing the threat in Birnin Gwari LGA.
To look into the government’s policies for dealing with ethno-religious disputes in Birnin Gwari LGA.
1.4 QUESTIONS FOR RESEARCH
This research is guided by the following questions:
What are the repercussions of ethno-religious disputes on the education of Christian adolescents in Kaduna’s Birnin Gwari LGA?
What role do religious leaders have in mitigating the threat?
What are the government’s policies for dealing with ethno-religious conflicts?
1.5 THE STUDY’S IMPORTANCE
This research will add to the different literature, such as journals and textbooks, that have highlighted the hazards of ethno-religious conflicts and how to deal with them. It will assist policymakers in the country and around the world in understanding the core causes of ethno-religious conflicts in order to identify solutions for mitigating the harmful effects of the conflicts in the future. Making long-term measures to eradicate ethno-religious chauvinism and its impact on national stability and growth.
1.6 STUDY OBJECTIVES
This study will be limited to the rural areas of Kaduna, specifically Birnin Gwari LGA, and will sample Christian youngsters living in the area. People in rural areas are largely Muslims and Christians, and there has been a history of ethno-religious conflict. This study will only look at the consequences of ethno-religious conflicts on Christian youth in Kaduna’s Birnin Gwari LGA.
1.7 THE STUDY’S LIMITATIONS
The scope of this study was limited to the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna. This study’s findings are limited to people of Birnin Gwari, Kaduna state. More research with a bigger population size may be undertaken in the future. The researcher was constrained by time and money during the course of this study.
1.8 TERM DEFINITION
Ethno-Religious: Is a combination of the words ethnicity (ethnic) and religion; it simply means “of or pertaining to ethnicity and religion.” It will thus be easier to comprehend if the root words (Ethnicity and Religion) are defined.
Ethnicity is defined as “a social identity creation based on culturally specific practices and a distinct set of symbols and mythologies.” Adeyemi, Lanre Olu (2006).
According to Nnoli (1998), ethnicity is defined by a shared sense of being one in relation to other significant ethnic groups. He goes on to say that ethnicity is a “socio-political phenomena linked with interactions among members of a society comprised of diverse ethnic groups marked by cultural and linguistic similarities, values, and common consciousness.”
Religion: The term Religion is so complicated that deciding on a single definition is difficult. Religion is defined by scholars such as B. Taylor (2005) as “belief in spiritual creatures.” “Religion is the propitiation or conciliation of powers superior to man, which are thought to govern and regulate the cause of nature and human life,” says Frazer. Religion, according to Marx, was the “opium of the masses” (Karl Max, 1879)
Conflicts are defined as “a person’s perception or experience of an event or situation as an intolerable hardship that transcends the person’s present resources and coping methods.” (Gilliland and James, 2001)
Conflicts Between Religions: Conflict between religions is a multi-cause variable. Salawu (2010).
By ethno-religious conflicts, we mean a situation in which the relationship between members of one ethnic or religious group and members of another ethnic or religious group in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society is marked by lack of cordiality, mutual suspicion, and fear, as well as a proclivity for violent confrontation (B. Salawu, 2010)
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