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Ethno-religious conflicts and its economic and educational impact on christian youths in birnin gwari lga, kaduna state , nigeria.




Nigeria is sometimes described as a severely divided country in which key political issues are aggressively and/or violently debated along the country’s numerous ethnic, religious, and regional divisions (Smyth and Robinson, 2001). Nigeria is properly regarded as one of Africa’s most severely split governments, owing to its complex network of politically salient identities and a history of chronic and seemingly intractable conflicts and instability (Osaghae and Suberu, 2005). Nigeria has suffered a recurring issue of territorial or state legitimacy since its creation as a colonial state, which has frequently hampered its efforts at national cohesiveness, democratization, stability, and economic reform (Maier, 2000). The civil war in the late 1960s, which erupted shortly after the country’s independence in 1960, appears to have been the crisis’s apex. Nigeria has experienced a dramatic surge in conflicts since the country’s transition to civilian governance in 1999.

Members of various ethnic nations became conscious of their separate identities as a result of the sporadic occurrence of episodic social interpretation of intergroup connections following these developments (Sanda, 1999). The intense communal and religious conflict has resulted in the formation and operation of several militia groups, the most prominent of which are 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 These Militia organizations have provided a haven for the army of unemployed teenagers (Alegbeleye, 2014).

Ethno-religious crises are a recurrent occurrence in human history, and there is barely any race that has not experienced one at some point. The Quran and the Bible, the world’s religious holy books, recorded how our forefathers in the past went through ethnic crises, religious crises, or ethno-religious crises at various points in recent history. This is to say that the ethno-religious issue is neither unique to Nigeria nor a recent phenomena (Omoregbe, 2002).

Since Nigeria’s independence, ethnic and religious sensitivities have posed a threat to the country’s progress, coexistence, peace, and unity as members of a single sovereign democratic state. There are only a few states in Nigeria that have not seen some type of ethnic or religious crisis in the recent past. If a state is devoid of crises, it will experience development. Ethnicity refers to a group that differs from the general population of a community due to racial origin or cultural background.

Ethnicity is defined by Gould and Kilb (1956) and Nnoli (1978) as a social formation characterised by communal qualities of its boundaries. Language, culture, or both culture and language may be relevant communal variables. This indicates that an ethnic group will have its own territory under a policy, which will be distinct from other ethnicities. Using Nigeria as an example, the Yoruba in western Nigeria, the Hausa in northern Nigeria, the Igbo in eastern Nigeria, and the Ogoni in southern Nigeria are the country’s primary ethnic groups.

The vilification of ethnicity as the scapegoat for all vices linked with the Nigerian body polity has elevated the subject to the forefront of the study of Nigerian political economics. No study is considered scholarly if it does not examine the importance or insignificance of ethnicity in its analysis and findings.

Thus, analysts concerned in nationalalism, decolonization, national integration, political parties, military intervention, corruption, economic development, structural adjustment, democratization, and violent conflict have all studied the ‘ethnicity’ component. This was true even in the 1960s and 1970s, when the major intellectual traditions believed ethnicity was a secondary explanatory variable, at best an epiphenomenon and at worst a disguise for class privilege (Sklar, 1967).

The upshot of such interest in ethnicity, which is related to the high level of ‘ethnic consciousness’ in Nigerian society (Lewis et al; 2002), is a plethora of ethnicity literature, making a critique Herculean. According to Jinadu (1994), “the study of ethnic relations in Nigeria has been through a number of phases reflecting changes in the country’s political position as well as changes in fashions and trends in the social science research agenda.”

Taking a historical perspective on the idea of ethnicity, Joireman (2003) claims that: ethnicity did not become general usage until the later part of the twentieth century; it is a term that is hotly debated in academic literature. When it comes to nationalism, Joireman believes that ethnicity is the first manifestation of identity.

A religion is the belief in the presence of a god or gods, as well as the behaviors associated 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 religion, Christian religion, Islamic religion, and a variety of other global religions. Almost every human being believes in a Supreme Being (known by various local names) who rules over the cosmos – both the visible and hidden worlds. He establishes a moral standard for man to strive for and is capable of punishing man both now and in the future, among other things. Religion is defined as man’s attempt to satisfy the Supreme Being, particularly to achieve a favorable place for himself in the hereafter. It stems from an intrinsic propensity and is so personal because one has the choice to believe or disagree (Olayiwola, 2011).

Religion can also be defined as an institutional system of ideas, values, and symbolic rituals that provide a collection of main solutions to concerns such as the ultimate meaning of death, obstacles, pain, and so on. Religion is viewed as a social institution in this determination. Religion, in my opinion, is a belief in the existence of a supernatural being known as God who created heaven, earth, and those who live on them (Samari, 2016).

Nigeria is a religiously pluralistic country in which everyone is allowed to practice whichever religion appeals to him or her, whether Islam, Christianity, or African traditional religion. Man has always had an innate drive to worship since time immemorial, and it is this that has resulted in the formation of a mosaic of ideas, attitudes, and behaviors. Throughout history, religion has been regarded as a global institution encompassing a set of fundamental ideas and activities.

Religion is supposed to create a healthy terrain for a functional and flourishing society in all societies. Scholars frequently see religion as a living thing, and any living thing is keenly interested in what is going on in its surroundings. Furthermore, every religion in every context preached peace, with oneself, with others, and with God. Unfortunately, there isn’t much tranquility in our culture these days (Okwueze, 2003). Religion’s history cannot be divorced from the struggle that has accompanied it throughout history. All of Nnoli’s observations about situation prevention are fairly common in Nigerian society. This creates divisive and socioeconomic competitions with anti-social consequences.

Religion, on the other hand, is such an important part of human society that it cannot be disregarded. Its absence would make world history incomplete. Religion is as old as mankind and will most likely continue to exist for as long as man exists (Omoregbe, 2002). It is difficult, if not impossible, to provide a generally acceptable definition of religion. The reason for this could be linked back to the discipline’s breadth, as it pervades many facets of life and allows for individual viewpoint (Osibodu, 2000).

Religion is derived from three Latin words: ligare, which means to bind, relegere, which means to connect, and religio, which means relationship. As a result, religion can be defined as something that connects man to a transcendent being, a god who is believed to exist and is worshiped by man; man and God (Omoregbe, 2002).

Conflict (crisis) is defined as a state or situation of discord in an interactional process. A crisis occurs when two or more ideals, views, and viewpoints are inherently incompatible and have not yet been harmonized or agreed upon (Bagaji, 2012). It is critical to define development in order to comprehend the concept of socioeconomic development. In general, development is defined as a state in which anything transitions from an undesirable to palatable one. Development may also refer to an improvement in people’s lifestyles as a result of improved education, money, skill development, and employment (Adeniyi, 1993). It is a process of economic and social transformation that is influenced by cultural and environmental influences. As a result, socioeconomic development refers to the process of a society’s social and economic development. It is quantified using measures such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), life expectancy, literacy, and employment levels (Okonjo-Iweala and Osafo-Kwaako, 2007). The necessity for religious tolerance among diverse religion adherents is and will continue to be important in the country’s socioeconomic development. There can be no meaningful growth without peace, which is why the government at all levels should make a concerted effort to reduce the country’s level of crises to the minimal minimum. The reality is that good governance and accountability are sacred because they promote the socioeconomic development of the country.

Nigeria has a long history of ethno-religious strife. According to (Oji and Anugwom, 2004), ethnic and religious tensions and divisions are linked phenomenally in contemporary Nigeria.


The prevalence of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria, particularly in the country’s north, has caused tremendous anxiety among intellectuals across the country. These crises frequently elicit aggressive behavior among Muslims and Christians, instilling a profound awareness of religious sentiment that has a negative impact on their socioeconomic development. The purpose of this research is to investigate the impact of ethno-religious conflicts on the economic development and the educational development of Birnin Gwari LGA in order to make recommendations to people who are victims of the topic under consideration and the globe at large.


The primary aim of this study is to examine ethno-religious conflicts and its economic and educational impact on Christian youth in Kaduna state. Thus, the following are the specific objectives;

  1. To examine the effects of ethno religious conflicts on education of Christian youths in Birnin Gwari LGA Kaduna.
  2. To investigate the role of religious leaders in Birnin Gwari LGA in curtailing the menace.
  3. To investigate government policies of controlling the ethno-religious conflicts in Birnin Gwari LGA.


The following questions guide this study;

  1. What are the effects of ethno religious conflicts on education of Christian youths in Birnin Gwari LGA in Kaduna?
  2. What is the role of the religious leaders in curtailing the menace?
  3. What are the policies of government in controlling the ethno-religious conflicts?


This study will contribute to the various writings for instance, journals and textbook that have been highlighting on the dangers of ethno-religious conflicts and how to handle it. It will help policy makers in the country and the world over to know the root causes of ethno-religious conflicts, so as to explore strategies by which the negative effects of the conflicts could be mitigated in the future. Thus making lasting policies that will obliterate ethno-religious chauvinism and its consequent effect on national stability and development.


This study will be limited to the rural part of Kaduna particularly Birnin Gwari LGA, and christian youths resident in the area will be sampled in the study. The rural areas are where people residing are predominantly Muslims and Christians and has experience of continuous ethno-religious conflicts. This study will only cover the effects of ethno religious conflicts on the Christian youth in Birnin Gwari LGA in Kaduna.


This study was limited to Birnin Gwari Local Governement Area in Kaduna. The findings of this study are limited to the residents in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna state. Further research may be conducted with a larger population size. During the course of this study, the researcher was limited by time and financial constraints.


  1. Ethno-Religious: Is a dual word coined from Ethnicity (ethnic) and Religion; it simply denotes ‘of or pertaining to ethnicity and religion’. It will therefore be better understood if the root words (Ethnicity and Religion) are defined.
  2. Ethnicity: The concept of ethnicity refers to a social identity formation that rests upon culturally specific practices and a unique set of symbols and cosmology”. Lanre Olu Adeyemi (2006).

Ethnicity according to Nnoli (1998) is characterized by a common consciousness of being one in relation to other relevant ethnic groups. He contends further that: ethnicity is a “socio- political phenomenon, associated with interactions Law and Security in Nigeria 238 among members of a society consisting of diverse ethnic groups characterized by cultural and linguistic similarities, values and common consciousness”.

  1. Religion: The term Religion is such a complex one that agreeing with one meaning is quite difficult. Scholars like B. Taylor (2005)’ 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)
  2. Conflicts: Conflicts is a perception or experience of an event or situation as an intolerable difficulty that exceeds the person’s current resources and coping mechanisms.” (James and Gilliland, 2001)
  3. Ethno-Religious Conflicts: Ethno-religious conflict is a multi- causal variable Salawu (2010). By ethno-religious conflicts, it means a situation in which the relationship between members of one ethnic or religious group and another such group in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society is characterized by lack of cordiality, mutual, suspicion, and fear and a tendency towards violent confrontation (B. Salawu, 2010)


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