Original Research - Special Collection: Africa Platform for NT Scholars

Ethno-religious conflict and sustainable development in Nigeria

Peace N. Ngwoke, Ezichi A. Ituma
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 4 | a6090 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i4.6090 | © 2020 Peace N. Ngwoke, Ezichi A. Ituma | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 May 2020 | Published: 13 October 2020

About the author(s)

Peace N. Ngwoke, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Nigeria
Ezichi A. Ituma, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Nigeria


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Abstract

This article examines the extent to which ethno-religious conflicts have affected sustainable development in Nigeria. The destruction of lives and property by reckless ethnic and religious extremists has been a challenging key factor to sustainable development in Nigeria. This article aims to reflect on the ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria from an epistemological point of view, ascertain the major causes of these conflicts and seek solutions to address the root causes. The article concludes that religious intolerance among Nigerians from different religious groups is the result of the misinterpretation of religious teachings of the leaders of terrorist groups to their followers and that ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria affect sustainable development as they lead to loss of lives and destruction of property, among others. It is also indicated that the effects of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria lead to an increase in the unemployment rate, withdrawal of foreign investments and education imbalance. The article concludes by arguing that ethnicity and religious crises are unhealthy for the nation’s sustainable development and that no price paid in the direction of resolving these conflicts can be considered to be too much. It is recommended that religious leaders form the minds of Nigerians with the teaching of love and peace, as it is proclaimed in their various religious books and beliefs.

Contribution: This article brought to light the major factors instigating continuous ethno-religious conflict in Nigeria that has led to much social unrest. Theological reflection of the influence of religion in promoting peaceful coexisting environment was analysed. This work would be of immense benefit to religious bodies, government, civil society and students.


Keywords

Conflict; Ethnic identity; Religious identity; Intolerance; Marginalisation and sustainable development

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