This page provides a platform for informed Nigerian and non-Nigerian contributors to express their views on the conflict, its roots and potential remedies. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of CSI.
Sectarian conflict in Nigeria: causes, prognosis and possible solutions
Opinion piece for Nigeria-Report by Chinedu Ike, senior lecturer in political science, Nsukka University
Sectarian strife is a major contributor to the violent conflict afflicting Nigeria. Between May 2011 and January 2019, Nigeria - a former British colony and the most populous black country in the world – recorded 9,516 deaths connected to sectarian unrest. The trend suggests that the conflict is worsening as the number of recorded deaths associated with sectarian strife increased from 207 in 2017 to 2005 in 2018.
UK Government ‘Turning a Deaf Ear’ to Genocide in Nigeria
Opinion piece for Nigeria-Report by Baroness Caroline Cox, UK parliamentarian and humanitarian, July 2019
Following the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok town in 2014, the rise of Islamist terrorism in Nigeria has rightly drawn international condemnation. Yet some of the deadliest outbreaks remain unreported.
In northern and central-belt states, thousands of civilians have been killed recently by Fulani militants. Vulnerable rural communities have been forced to abandon their homes. Churches have been burned to rubble. Entire families have been slaughtered. It is – according to the Nigerian House of Representatives – a genocide.
Boko Haram and the Fulani Nomads: Two Major Threats to Religious Freedom, Peace, Stability, and Human Rights in Nigeria
Opinion piece for Nigeria-Report by Onyemaechi F.O. Ogbunwezeh, PhD, March 2019
Nigeria is too important to be allowed to implode into violence, become a failed state, or descend into another civil or religious war. But the fact today remains that Nigeria runs the risk of imploding due to its internal contradictions. It risks going the way of Somalia, if the major conflicts fanned and driven by Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen and their financiers, both within and outside Nigeria, are not stemmed. Nigeria risks a volcanic explosion into conflict, if the ethno-religious issues plaguing the country are not resolved. If Nigeria were to fail, it would create social, political, demographic and human rights reverberations around the world. This is why it behoves us all to see how the country could be helped, with targeted social interventions and political pressure, to make the political elite realize the dangerous path that Nigeria is on before it is too late.
The Herdsmen’s Crisis: Intellectual Dishonesty?
Blog post by Isaac Albert, University of Ibadan, June 2019
It is a truism that Nigerians are sharply divided under the present dispensation. Unless something is done about it quickly, I see Nigeria imploding in a disastrous manner. I go before decision makers (national, regional, continental and global) from time to time to discuss some of the issues. I only respond to invitations; I do not force anybody to listen to me.
This piece is for those thinking that our comments on the herdsmen’s crisis amount to intellectual fraud or are a product of our hatred for the Buhari administration. Those pursuing this kind of argument are not closer to Buhari and his administration than those of us raising the red flag. The truth is that we have serious problems before us. We either manage them honestly or keep hiding behind one finger thinking that our
denials will stamp out the problem. Our leaders are not deceived by the gale of denials they hear. They meet regularly to deal with the problems...
The Sectarian Conflict in Nigeria
Opinion piece for Nigeria-Report by Sr Mary Rose-Claret Ogbuehi, March 2019
The conflict in Nigeria arises from the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria by the British colonialists who failed to take into
consideration disparities in religion, mindset and culture. The northerners are predominantly Muslims, while the southerners are largely Christians. The Muslim north considers the southerners infidels who can be eliminated. Colonial Britain handed over power to the northerners who see themselves as ‘born to rule’. Despite Nigeria being constitutionally a secular state, in practice in utter disregard of Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution, the predominantly Muslim leaders run the country as an Islamic state. Ibrahim Babangida made Nigeria a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 1986. The protest from Christians in this regard was ignored...
Mobilising Nigeria's human and natural resources for national development and stability
Keynote address by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo at the 2019 Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), 18 May 2019 (Excerpts)
...Both Boko Haram and herdsmen acts of violence were not treated as they should at the beginning. They have both incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle alone. They are now combined and internationalised with ISIS in control. It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youth in Nigeria which it began as, it is now West African fulanisation, African islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change...
The challenges of mitigating herdsmen attacks on people of Nigeria: lessons from Benue State
Guest lecture by Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 7 May 2019
...No one is now safe in Nigeria, from the North, South, East and West bandits are gradually taking over. This state of affairs started when the authorities allowed armed herdsmen from other countries free access into Nigeria, some were hired for mercenary purposes and have gone out of hand. The allegation that large amounts of money have been voted to placate the bandits implies that the nation’s sovereignty has been surrendered to criminals. With enormous funds at their disposal, they can acquire more weapons and also make themselves more formidable to perpetrate more criminality as well as be better placed to carry out their agenda which is conquest and occupation...
We owe ourselves a reckoning – Nigeria between freedom of religion and growing Islamic fundamentalism
Opinion piece for Nigeria-Report by Obiora Ike, Chairman, Christian – Muslim Dialogue in Enugu State and Executive Director Globethics.net, Geneva, March 2019
There is no shortage of pronouncements that the inalienable and fundamental rights to freedom of conscience and religion for persons as enshrined in international constitutions, covenants, statutes and the United Nations Charter of 1948 are seriously undermined and threatened in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria.
Cases of persecution of persons – particularly Christians – for religious reasons are on the increase. The statistics are shocking: over 200,000 people were victims of religiously motivated killings in the past 30 years – currently the highest level of any country in the world. Nigeria is not at war with another country and has never been, but religious fanatics – mainly Islamists – fuelled by bigotry, hatred, ignorance, ambitions to appropriate land, and politically teleguided acrimony instrumentalize religion for various ends. Thus the need to call urgent attention to the situation in Nigeria...
Understanding Nigeria’s endemic sectarian crisis
Opinion piece for Nigeria-Report by Hassan John, Anglican priest and journalist, March 2019
Nigeria, the largest black nation in the world with a population of nearly 200 million, and ranking third on the Global Terrorism Index after Iraq and Afghanistan, is suffering a devastating sectarian crisis perpetrated by radical Islamic jihadi sects and Fulani cattle herdsmen militia, both of whom threaten the country’s corporate existence.
Various experts have given different and sometimes conflicting reasons for the 10-year-old insurgency by the radical Islamic jihadi group, Islamic State West Africa Province, (ISWAP) formerly known as Jamā'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihād (Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad) and popularly referred to as Boko Haram (western education is prohibited) and the rampaging Islamic Fulani herdsmen militia. These reasons range from corruption to failed government, desertification due to global warming, poverty and tribal feuds. What, however, has been underplayed, is the powerful radical religious ideology driving the conflicts...