Implications of religious conflicts on peace, national security and development in Nigeria
The study is an attempt to examine the perennial incidents of religious crises in Nigeria which is ever on the increase, claiming hundreds of lives, destroying properties worth millions of naira. The colossal lose to violent religious conflicts in Nigeria did not end with loss of lives and properties. In fact, its attendant effects on peaceful co-existence, political stability and socio-economic development is beyond comprehension. Hardly can one speak of progress in Nigeria when our social, political, economic and religious systems fail to maintain at least a minimum level of social decorum. At the same time, sustainable and lasting religious peace across the nation have been aborted times without number owing to the recurrent cases of religious conflicts. As those religious conflicts linger on, distrust and suspicion became the order of the day, more especially between the adherents of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria. Though, there are records of occasional conflicts between African Traditional Religion and other religions for a number of reasons. These may include superiority complex, that is, claim of superiority by both Islamic and Christianity over the African Traditional religion and culture, disregard and contempt for African traditional religion and institutions. The paper, therefore, gave an overview of the general concept of conflicts, causes of conflicts in Nigeria as well as implications of conflicts in Nigeria. Historical method was adopted. The work recommended among other things that conscious efforts should be made by the adherents of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria to build bridges of religious understanding and religious respect. And to emulate the adherents of African Traditional Religion (ATR) that are more tolerant, and tolerance as a virtue is recommended in conflict management.
Keywords: conflict, national security and peace.