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Topic: Why is there tension between Nigeria’s Christians and Muslims? - ENTER BIAFRA FREEDOM AWARENESS CHANNEL

Home Forums Biafra Freedom Forum Why is there tension between Nigeria’s Christians and Muslims?

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    • #2610
      Simon Ekpa
      Keymaster

      It’s actually not just Christians and Muslims — consider, for example, the mid-2000s Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, a terrorist movement that represented a growing sense of disenfranchisement in the oil-rich delta region rather than religious grievance. There is a pattern, going back to the country’s first years of independence, of Nigerians competing for access to the country’s resources. Partly this is because Nigeria is so populous and poor, which makes control of national resources unusually important, and partly it’s because the country was established by glomming together a handful of religiously and ethnically distinct groups, none of which have a majority and which have never fully come together.

      The tragedy of this effect is that it’s not about people hating one another for their ethnicity or religion — although it’s become tinged with that — so much as it is about circumstance. It just so happened that colonialism left Nigerians organized by ethnicity and religion, but divided such that no one group was large enough to form a majority. That makes things very unstable.

      In the first years after independence, for example, the first president happened to be ethnic Igbo, from the country’s southeast. Other Nigerian groups felt an Igbo-led government would shortchange or outright exclude them; without their support, the government was unstable, and the military coups began in 1966. Because there were many Igbo in government, the coups killed prominent Igbo leaders, which terrified Igbo that they would be targeted en masse, and in 1967 the Igbo-dominated southeast tried to secede outright. That caused a three-year civil war that killed one to three million people.

      The Nigerian civil war was an extreme case (and one that was not about religion), but the point is that Nigeria has still not figured out how to include the disparate groups in the nation’s government and make them cooperate. That includes the country’s half-and-half religious divide. It’s just assumed that Nigeria’s mostly-Christian south and mostly Muslim north will compete politically, rather than want to cooperate, and that this competition could dangerously destabilize the country. This assumption runs so deep that, since military rule ended in 1999, there’s been an agreement that the presidency alternates between a Christian southerner and a Muslim northerner.

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    • #2600
      Simon Ekpa
      Keymaster

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