THE IMPACT OF PERSISTENT VIOLENCE ON THE CHURCH IN NIGERIA
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1.1s BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria is fully populated by the followers or believers of Islam, Christianity and African Traditional Religion. The followers or believers of three religions, specifically the Muslims and Christians are frequently engaged in conflicts which oftentimes results in loss of lives and property.
Nigeria is a cultural mosaic that has up to 455 ethnic groups. The different forms of cultural patterns and the very large number or abundance of ethnic groups in the country have largely represented the unity of Nigerian Federation as ‘unity in diversity”. The different forms of cultural patterns havetherefore characterized the country with a kind of unity that is difficult to comprehend. It intention is to paint a picture of a group of or a mixture of different individuals of many nationals whose first loyalty is to the ethnic group and not to the “nation”. Ethnicity, language, region and religion synergistically form Nigeria’s matrix of cultural pluralism.
Religion could serve, and has a great potential to function as a toolfor social harmony in many civilized countries like Nigeria. Not being the normal kind, for this reason, religion has also functioned as a motivation and encouragement for violence, thus its indication in some research works as a ‘double-edged sword’. From time ancient, religious dogmatists have tired all they could to make legitimate violence in the name of God. In recent times, acts of extreme violence in churches specifically such as terrorist attacks are often justified as ‘holy warfare’. Over the years, religion has been the major cause of most violent conflicts around the world, and as such,being famous and gaining notoriety as one of the chief security challenges facing the world in the wake of the Cold. A research conducted in Spain has indicated that societies that are splitas a result of religious issueslikely to have intense and extended conflict than those divided by political, territorial and ethnic differences. Perhaps this reality describes the chief position that religious violence upholds on Nigeria’s security pyramid. As we shall see in this article, religiously motivated violence has hampered the country more than any other security challenge.
There are numerouscauses of conflicts in churches in Nigeria, but this research work will pay more attention to the fundamental sociopolitical, economic and governance factors that hurl, not only religious, but violent conflicts generally. This article points out the factors that have triggered the persistent violencein churches in the country. Majorly, this research work will point out the immediate and visible diversities of religious violence in Nigeria and examine the management strategies that the Nigerian state had adopted for its containment over the years.
Nigeria with a population of over 150 million inhabitants has her major religious groups as Christianity and Islam. There is no scientific representation of the numerical strength of these religious groups and of their geographical distribution. Never the less, the Islamic faith exceeds in weight in the northwestern and northeastern parts of the country. On the other hand, Christianity is also more pronounced and well-known in the South-East and South-South geographical zones. The South-West and North-Central zones have a good balanced number of Muslims and Christians. Notwithstanding, often kept in an unimportant position, traditional religion has a fair level of followership and is not by any means insulated from religious violence. Statistics on religious crises or persistent violence in churches in Nigeria and across the country however show that at least 95 per cent of them occurred in the northern part of the country. On this premise of the continual religious tensions between the two very important and powerful religious groups in Nigeria, there is a sustained culture of mutual suspicion and unhealthy rivalry between them. Thereforepersistent violence between Nigerian Christians and Muslims have often seen in violent inter-religious violence in churches.
Persistent violence in churches Nigeria is a much larger event and has more causes than commonly seen. And also the negative impact of persistent violence on the Church in Nigeria, specifically the Northern part is also more pronounced than many think. This impact study based upon field research has been done to gain better insight for policy makers in churches, the government and society in Nigeria. The research is the result of the study about the impact of persistent violence on the Church in Nigeria.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
The consistent and deliberate attack on the church especially in the northern part of the country has negatively affected the growth and development of the church. Church plating has also suffered as a result of these violence upon the church in the country.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the impact of persistent violence on churches in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study would be to;
Examine the relationship between violence on the church and the growth of the church.
Determine the major causes of violence on the church in Nigeria.
Recommend ways of protecting the church against violence in Nigeria.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What is the impact of persistent violence on the church in Nigeria?
What is the relationship between violence on the church and the growth of the church?
What are the major causes of violence on the church in Nigeria?
What are the ways of preventing violence on the church in Nigeria?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Ho: There is no significant impact of violence on the church in Nigeria.
Hi: There is a significant impact of violence on the church in Nigeria.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of immense importance to government at all levels, church administrators and church members as it would reveal the impact of persistent violence on the church in Nigeria. The study would also benefit scholars, researchers and students who are interested in developing further studies on the impact of violence on the church in Nigeria.
1.7. SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The study is limited to impact of persistent violence on the church in Nigeria a case study of Christian association of Nigeria Akwa Ibom state chapter.
LIMITATIONS 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.
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Abu-Nimer, Mohammed 2000. Conflict resolution, culture and religion: Toward a training model of inter-religious peace building. Journal of Peace Research, 38 (6), pp. 685–704.
Achunike, Hilary. C. 2008. Religious practices in Nigeria as source of social conflict. Journal of Liberal Studies, 12 (1&2), pp. 286–295.
Adebayo, R. Ibrahim 2010. Ethno-religious crises and the challenges of sustainable development in Nigeria. Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa, 12 (4), pp. 213–225.
Adetokunbo, Abiola 2002. Miss World contest deepens the Nigerian crisis. Available from: [Accessed 12 December 2011] .