Religious extremism as a challenge to tertiary education in Nigeria
Religious extremism is a global issue that raises questions and tensions in many countries. In Nigeria, it is a known fact that religion has been abused in many ways to suit the interests of some groups of people who consider themselves as custodians and defenders of religious values and faith. Apparently the trend of violence in Nigeria is a sign of the need for thorough research and study about religions in tertiary institutions including Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education. Extremists use religion as a shield either for political or economic agenda and manipulate their gullible followers in order to impose their ideology on them. The reality of religious extremism in Nigeria is a challenge to tertiary education to search for a lasting solution that will enable Nigerians overcome the problem and focus on their economic, social and genuine religious progress. The tertiary institutions in Nigeria need to produce people with critical minds that can challenge religious extremism. In this context, thoughts directed towards tackling religious extremism are important. This study, therefore, recommends that tertiary institutions in Nigeria, through General Studies, should educate the youth to be self-reliant so that they are not lured by religious extremists to achieve their political and economic agenda. Publication of well researched papers and books that contribute to the study of religions and cultures should be encouraged by the tertiary institutions. Tertiary institutions should also develop General Studies curriculum in religion to teach students about human convictions on religion and consequently promote religious dialogue for the common good. Hence tertiary education in Nigeria has very crucial role in curbing the problem of religious extremism in the nation.