The Effects of Colonialism: Religious Conflicts in Nigeria (RELS 348)

The article “The roots of Nigeria’s religious and ethnic conflict”, by Moses Ochonu, posted on March 10, 2014, 05:04, discusses the religious issues that have aroused in Nigeria after the decision of Britain to unite two of its African colonies in 1914 because it wanted “a contiguous colonial territory stretching from the arid Sahel to the Atlantic Coast”. However, amid the amalgamation between the two colonies a religious issue became a focal point within the political and religious spheres of the newly-created government. The issue consists in that Nigeria is split in several regions, some of which are Muslim and others are Christian. Problems aroused between the two groups that became publicly apparent during political meetings to draw on the new future of the country, between 1947 and 1959. The two old countries were unable to establish common points with their ideologies and views. The issue between the two jarred into Nigeria cultures deepened once the Muslims in Nigeria imposed the Criminal Islamic Sharia law on non-Muslims between 2000 and 2002. That contributed to extremism and further cultural issues such as the prohibition of utilizing Westernization. On the other hand, it contributed to more fear that Christians in Nigeria may no longer be able to establish common peaceful religious grounds. The Northern Christian minority is against the established Muslim Hausa-Fulani majority, under the political rubric of Middle Belt, that is against Muslim ideology. According to the author, it is the colonialization and the desire for economic resources that provoked the religious and political issues such as corruption. The author explains that a possible solution to these issues is the establishment of a better new constitution that would resolve problems of nativism, religious preferences, “economic justice and equity”.

Religion is a focal issue of this story, however, one should not forget where it originated from. The sudden turn that Britain took by uniting the two colonies solely to reduce costs disregarding the cultural background of the two nations is nonetheless also a moral issue. In my moral opinion, that was a detrimental point for both countries that, unfortunately, resulted in unnecessary violence between them. In class we have discussed other cases of other British colonies, such as India, where the British crown sought, even if it was unintentionally, to maximize profits, as Irwin explains on page 112, at the price of yet another religious conflict between Islam and Hinduism. Although that made the Indian Company one of the most powerful and wealthy in the world, the issue that it placed between Muslims and Hindu resulted in the dissolvent of the company with the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act of 1873, as explained in “Europe and the Islamic World: A History” pages 275 and 276. In conclusion, the desire for economic growth is one of the main reasons for disregarding common aspects of one’s life such as religion and culture that later leads to detrimental issues that cost people’s lives between the parties involved.

Eek The Cat



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