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Communication and Ethno-Religious Rifts Among the Peoples of Nigeria

AC Ashong, A Udoudo

Abstract


Ethno-religious rifts have been so disruptive in Nigeria, especially in the North, that public safety cannot be guaranteed whenever they occur. As a result, the corporate existence of Nigeria is threatened as reprisal attacks sometimes ensue in the South. We identified 17 major ethno-religious crises between May, 1999 (when democracy had its rebirth in the country) and May, 2009. Within the ten years, the country recorded a yearly average of 1.7 ethno-religious crises. Although the two main religions – Christianity and Islam – which are always at the centre of the crises, claim to preach peace, sincerity is lacking in their peace communication since there have been established instances where adherents start crises with religious war chants even from places of worship. It appears that some politicians use religious and ethnic loopholes to cause ethno-religious crises only to settle political scores while the press helps spread the crises through hasty and careless reporting. Here, we suggest measures for improving ethno-religious relationship in the country. Among these, there should be peace-building communication as a short course for those seeking traditional/ethnic, religious and political offices in the country as a pre-condition for their qualification.

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