1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria is known as a divided state in which most political problems are majorly are seen along the lines of the complex ethnic, religious, and regional diversities in the country (Smyth and Robinson, 2012). By reason of its complex nature, Nigeria can be rightly described as one of the most divided states in Africa (Osaghae and Suberu, 2013).
From its creation as a colonial state, Nigeria has encountered a lasting crisis of territorial legitimacy, and that has often disrupted its efforts at national cohesion, democratization, stability and economic development (Maier, 2011). The main point of the sectarian crisis seems to have been the civil war in the late 1960s, which started not long after independence in 1960.
Since Nigeria’s transition to civilian rule in 1999 there has been a rapid increase of conflicts in the country. As a result of this development, members of different ethnic groups have become aware of their different identities because of the periodical occurrence of social interpretation of intergroup relations (Sanda, 1999).
The gravity of sectarian crisis has led to the formation and operations of several militia groups prominent among them include, Bakassi Boys, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Oodua People Congress (OPC), Egbesu Boys, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) and more recently Boko Haram. These Militia groups have become an enclave for the army of jobless youths (Alegbeleye, 2014).
Generally, sectarian crisis erupts particularly from groups and collective individuals and it usually results into conflicts if not properly managed or regulated by the society. Several violent techniques have often been employed to pursue and defend certain claims and interests by various competing groups in the society. In other words, violence especially those expressed by groups are always precipitated by political, economic and socio-cultural criticism which are not promptly and also properly resolved.
Historically, under a variety of social and political systems and contexts, people in almost every part of the world have engaged in conflicts and violent expressions, they have also waged wars using a variety of techniques of struggle.
In modern times, instances of conflicts and expressive violent outbursts have become more crowded on a diverse range of issues ranging from politics, economy, religion, ethnicity, ideology and extreme forms of terrorism.
Sectarian crisis in northern Nigeria has flared up periodically over the last 30 years, mainly in the form of urban riots; it has Muslims against Christians and experiences of confrontations between different Islamic sects. Within the last two decades Nigeria has witnessed a variety of turbulence, some of which have threatened the existence of the country as a nation.
Some of this turbulence could be described as intra-religious while the others are inter-religious. There are others that are more of political in nature than religious even though some individuals may see them as religious simply because each group involved come from different religious backgrounds.
In northern Nigeria, sectarian crisis has become more or less like a monthly affair, causing devastating consequences. It is therefore against these backdrops that the study intends to examine cases of sectarian crisis in northern Nigeria using Kaduna state as case study from 2007 to 2016. Sectarian crisis in Nigeria has presented many challenges that bother on security and the corporate existence of the country which is the fundamental reason for the adoption of a federal system.
A major source of what we now see as ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria has to do with the accusations and allegations of neglect, domination, exploitation, victimization, discrimination, marginalization nepotism and religious intolerance.
What this means is that conflicts usually occur when deprived groups and individuals attempt to increase their share of power and wealth or put differently, to modify the dominant values, norms, beliefs and ideologies. Thus, in Nigeria, there seems to be a divisive interplay of politics, ethnicity and religions, which has consequently led to the rising jingoism and militancy of various ethnic and religious movements.
For the purpose of this study and as stated above, the geographical area is Kaduna state, which is located in the northern part of Nigeria. The study is to find out the immediate and remote causes of sectarian crisis in the northern Nigeria and take a critical view on how sectarian crisis has affected the northern Nigeria.
It has become abundantly clear that no nation can survive without exhibiting peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance. Therefore, this study will also provide useful information and operational framework which government, economic planners, administrators, public office holders, policy makers, academicians, students, and the general public could utilize in understanding issues surrounding sectarian crisis in northern Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The occurrence of sectarian crisis in Nigeria, especially in the northern part of the country has called for great concerned among intellectuals across the nation. These crises often trigger the sense of hostile behavior between Muslims and Christians and thereafter inculcate a deep consciousness of religion sentiment which often creates adverse effects on their church growth and development.
This research is aimed at investigating the impact of sectarian crisis on churches in Kaduna state in other to recommend on the way forward to those that are victim of the topic under investigation and the world at large.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the impact of sectarian crisis on the church in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study include;
- To examine the occurrences of sectarian crisis in Kaduna state.
- To examine the victims of sectarian crisis.
- To examine the impact of sectarian crisis on church development in Kaduna state.
- To investigate the role of religious leaders in curtailing the menace.
- To examine the relationship between sectarian crisis and church development in Kaduna state.
- To investigate government efforts in controlling the sectarian crisis in Nigeria.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the occurrences of sectarian crisis in Kaduna state?
- Who are the victims of sectarian crisis?
- What is the impact of sectarian crisis on church development in Kaduna state?
- What are the roles of religious leaders in curtailing the menace?
- What is the relationship between sectarian crisis and church development in Kaduna state?
- What are government efforts in controlling the sectarian crisis in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant impact of sectarian crisis on church development in Kaduna state.
H1: There is a significant impact of sectarian crisis on church development in Kaduna state.
H0: There is no significant relationship between sectarian crisis and church development in Kaduna state.
H1: There is a significant relationship between sectarian crisis and church development in Kaduna state.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The results from this study are expected to be of benefit to government, government, politicians, civil society organizations, NGOs, National Economic Council, political parties, students and the nation at large.
The study will help in solving and also preventing future occurrence of sectarian crisis in northern Nigeria and the nation as a whole. The study will assist the community development association on peace building initiatives that would help in bringing about peaceful coexistence.
- SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to impact of sectarian crisis on churches in Nigeria.
- LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
Religion: The term Religion is such a complex one that agreeing with one meaning is quite difficult…Scholars like B. Taylor(2013)’ define religion ‘as a belief in spiritual beings’. Frazer” on his part defines it thus ‘religion is the propitiation or conciliation of powers superior to man, which are believed to direct and control the cause of nature and human life’. Marx on his part saw religion as the ‘opium of the masses'(Karl Max, 1879)
Sectarianism: Sectarianism is a form of prejudice, discrimination, or hatred arising from attaching relations of inferiority and superiority to differences between subdivisions within a group. Common examples are denominations of a religion, ethnic identity, class, or region for citizens of a state and factions of a political movement.
Church: A church is a building in which Christians worship. You usually refer to this place as church when you are talking about the time that people spend there.
Crisis:a stage ina sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better orfor worse, is determined; turning point. A condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change.
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