Bright E. Nwamuo, Okonkwo C. Eze, Emmanuel C. Alaku, El-Zulkiflu Aliyu Dodo


Conflicts have remained very important and recurring aspects of inter-group relations all over the world. Nigeria, as a country, is both multi-ethnic and multi-religious; a development that has become a fault line. In as much as the two variables are considered centripetal they are, on the other hand, centrifugal forces propelling Nigeria’s disintegration. This study is an attempt at x-raying the nexus between ethnicity and religion, and the prevalent violent conflicts that have dotted Nigeria’s geo-political space in recent times. The trios are not only antithetical to democratic ethos but also a threat to fragile strings of Nigerian federalism. All these have made Nigeria one of the difficult and complex countries where sectional interests have been upheld and defended at the detriment of national cohesion. The attendant protests and conflicts, undeniably, have been perpetuated by youths mobilized, as it were, by some political and religious leaders. This aspect of inter-group relations among Nigerians does not seem to enjoy robust scholarly investigations, thereby leaving a lacuna in our comprehensive knowledge of Nigerian history. It is, therefore, worthwhile to establish siamese interconnectedness between conflicts and ethno-religious diversity in this age of insurrection and insurgency. The study argues that the pluralism and diversity of ethnicity and religion have to be harnessed so as to create a level playing ground for all to contribute to nation-building efforts. The study adopted multidisciplinary approach to historiography together with lived-experience to update the account.


Ethnicity, Religion, Youths, Conflicts, Nigeria.

Full Text:



Achumba et al in Okonkwo R. I. (2015) in Security Challenges and the Implications for Business Activities in Nigeria: A Critical Review Journal of Policy and Development Studies Vol.9, No.2, February, , ISSN: 157-9385, index.php.

Adamo, A. (2020) “The terrorist and the mercenary: Private warriors against Nigeria’s Boko Haram” African Studies, Accessed on 11 November, 2020

Adetoye, D. and Omilusi, M. (2015), ‘Ethno-Religious Conflicts and Democracy in Nigeria’. Global Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. 3(1)

Agbiboa, D. (2014), Peace at Dagger Drawn? Boko Haram and State of Emergency in Nigeria. Studies in Conflicts and terrorism, Vol. 37(1)

Agbu, as cited by Ezeani, In Biafra Africa Died, The Diplomatic Plot, 3rd Edition, Veritas Lumen, Publishers London, p.17

Alaku, E. C. (2015). The State and Conflict Management in Nigeria: Issues and Challenges (Enugu: His Glory Publication)

Alubo, O. (2005). Ethnic Conflicts and Citizenship Crises in Central Nigeria, (Lagos: Eddy Asea Nigeria Press)

Anifowose (2005), Elements of Politics. (Lagos: Sam. Iroanusi Publication)

Albert, I. O. (2012), Explaining Post-Election Violence in Contemporary Africa, Codesria, Dakar.

Ayantoya, J. K. (2005), Sociological Examination of Inter-Religious Conflicts in Africa In Albert I. O. (ed), Perspectives on Peace and Conflict in Africa. (Ibadan: John Archer Publishers)

Awolowo, O. (1947), Comment by this Nigerian Leader, Online Source, accessed 12/06/2017.

Azikiwe, N. (1964), Comment by this Nigerian Leader, Online Source, accessed 12/06/2017

Balewa, T. (1948), Comment by this Nigerian Leader, Online Source, accessed 12/06/2017

Coleman, J. S. (1958) Nigeria: Background to Nationalism, (Berkley: University of California Press)

Coser, L. (1956), The Functions of Social Conflicts. (NY: Glencoe Hills Press)

Crowder, M. (1966), The Story of Nigeria, (London: Faber and Faber)

Dansonka, M. S. and Yiolokun, I. B. (2016) “The Middle Belt and Politics of Ethnic Identity, 1999-2015” An unpublished paper presented at International Conference organized by the Department of History and Diplomatic Studies, Federal University, Wukari, 3-5 February, 2016

Ebo, A. (2005) “Small Arms Proliferation in Nigeria: A Preliminary Overview” in Ibeanu, O. and Mohammed, F.K. (eds) Oiling Violence: The Proliferation of SALW in the Niger Delta, (Lagos: Frankad Publishers)

Eke, C. (2017), Glamorization of Fulani Herdsmen’s Criminality and its Implication on National Security in Nigeria. Online Journal of Arts, Management and Social Sciences, Vol,2(2)

Enukora, L.O. (2005): Managing Ethno-Religious Violence and Area Differentiation in Kaduna Metropolis, in Salawu, B. Ethno-Religious Conflicts in Nigeria: Causal Analysis and

Proposals for New Management Strategies European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 13, Number 3 (2010), 345

Etim, F. and Ukpere, W. (2012), The Impact of Military Rule on Nigerian Democracy Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 33(3), doi.10.1080/09718923.2012.11893106

Eze, O. C. (2014) “Pluralism, Ethnic Diversity and Nation-Building in Nigeria” Maiduguri Journal of Peace, Diplomatic and Development Studies, No 5, Vol 1 July-December, 2014

Eze, O. C, Adihikon, T. A. and Chinweuba, U. G. (2015) “Islam and the Nigerian question: A historical glimpse” FUNAI Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Maiden Issue, Vol. 1, No 1, June 2015

Ezeani E. (2014) In Biafra Africa Died, The Diplomatic Plot, 3rd Edition, (London: Veritas Lumen, Publishers)

Gambari, I. A. (2008) “The Challenges of Nation-Building: The Case of Nigeria” An unpublished First Anniversary Lecture, Abuja, Mustapha Akanbi Foundation

Han Shuifa and Hu Jingle (2008), Concept of Democracy. Frontiers of Philosophy Doi.10.1007/s11466-008-0039

Ikhatalor, V. (2021). “Hopeless and Helpless” The Nation Newspaper, Wednesday January 27

Ikyase, J. and Egberi, A. E. (2014), Democracy and National Integration: Appraising the Challenges in Nigeria from 2003 – 2011. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol.19, issue 11

Igbafe, P. A. (2006) Before the Axe Falls: History and Humanities in our National Life Valedictory Lecture, August 6, 2006, University of Benin (Benin City: UnibenPress)

Isiaka, A. B. (2006), Ethnic Militia Movements and the Crisis of Political Order in Post-Military Nigeria. Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 13(3)

Kura, K. H. (2010). Muslim-Christian cooperation for conflict prevention/management, peace building and reconciliation in Northern Nigeria. A paper delivered at a conference on Muslim-Christian Cooperation…in…states of Nigeria. 6th-9th Oct. 2010, Kaduna, PCMRA. Available from:

Longley, R. (2021), What is Democracy? Definition and Examples

Nnoli, O. (1980) Ethnic Politics in Nigeria, (Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers)

Obialor, F. and Ozuzu, H. (2019), Electoral Conflicts and Challenges in Nigeria: An Evaluation of the 2015 Gubernatoral Election in Imo State. International Journal of Scientific Research in Humanities, Legal Studies, and international Relations, Vol.4(1)

Ojie and Ewhrudjakpor (2009), ‘Ethnicity and Public Policies in Nigeria’, Anthropologist Vol. 11(1)

Okpeh, O. O. Jr., (Ed.), (2007) The Sovereign National Conference: Issues and Perspectives, (Makurdi: Aboki Publishers)

Osaghae, Eghosa E. and Rotimi T. Suberu (2005). A history of identities, violence, and stability in Nigeria. CRISE working paper No. 6. Oxford, Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity. Available from:

Ozoeze, V. A. (2015) “Ethnicity and Politics of Exclusion in Nigeria: Employing Rawls’ Theory of Justice in Plural Society” An unpublished M.Sc Thesis submitted to the Centre for Applied Ethics, Linkopings Universitet

Ranger, T. O. (1972) “Introduction” in Ranger, T. O. and Kimambo, I. N. (eds.) The Historical Study of African Religion, (London: Heinemann)

Sofola, J. A. (1970). “Some Aspects of pre-Crisis Inter Ethnic relations in Nigeria: The Yoruba Repatriate’s Social relations in the Former Eastern region”, in The Nigerian Journal of Economic and Social Studies, Vol. 12, No. 7, March 1970, p.115

Salamone, F. A. (1997) “Ethnicity and Nigeria since the end of the Civil War” Dialectical Anthropology, 22 (3/4)

Sartori (1987), Theory of Democracy Revisited. (London: Chathman House

Ugbudian, L. (2015), Occupy Nigeria: Paradigm Shift in Mass Resistance. (Frankfurt: Peter long)

Ugbudian, L., Enwo-Irem, I., Okonkwo, C. E., Eke, J., Alaku, E. C., Ani, U. S. (2021), 2015 General Elections in Nigeria: The Role of Abuja Peace Accord. PalArchs Journal of Archeology of Egyptology, Vol. 18(8)

Usman, M. (2012) “Youth Unemployment, Poverty and National Development” in Okpeh O. Okpeh et al (eds) National Development Studies, No 5

Vickers, M. (2010) A Nation Betrayed: Nigeria and the Minorities Commission of 1957, (New Jersey: Africa World Press, Inc)


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Bright E. Nwamuo, Okonkwo C. Eze, Emmanuel C. Alaku, El-Zulkiflu Aliyu Dodo










ISSN (PRINT):    2682 - 6135

ISSN (ONLINE): 2682 - 6127





Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.