The Anatomy of Ethnoreligious Violence in Nigeria: Religious Education as a Second Language of Religious Encounter in the Practice of Revelation

Innocent Amasiorah, Fordham University


Since the British intervention and forced occupation of what is known today as Nigeria, there has never been a situation of peaceful coexistence between the people who live in this exceptionally multicultural, multilinguistic, multi-ethnic, and religiously pluralistic nation. In fact, the British intensified the level of conflict in the nation via their administrative policy, the Indirect Rule system, which not only set the people against one another but also pushed various groups to seek a hegemonic advantage over one another. Numerous proposals have been made on how to calm the tide, tension and conflict emerging form these competitions which deepens day by day and has engulfed so many lives and property worth of millions. Yet, the Nigerian environment still remains volatile and conflict-ridden. This study proposes that a great way to restore peaceful coexistence and mutual affection between various groups and contending factions in Nigeria is through religious education. Religion and education can lead people to their ultimate end, and in this case, the intersection of religion and education within the polity can lead Nigerians to life of fulfilment. Based on Gabriel Moran’s theories of revelation and religious education as a second language, this research proposes two ways in which the quest for peace and harmony can be attained. Firstly, religion is to bond people together; it should not divide. The study agrees with Moran that the practice of revelation as a present relational experience in Nigeria can unite Nigerians more than the traditional understanding of the subject has divided them. Secondly, the study proposes that when the language of communication of one’s practice of revelation/relationship and experience of God is carefully presented in a way that can build up both one’s background and other people’s standpoints, peaceful relations can be more guaranteed among people. This study insists that the practice of religious education as a second language of religious encounter in the practice of revelation can help Nigerians build a communicative language bridge to wade the fierce waves of ethnoreligious conflict and violence as one people in the same nation, who believe in the One God who is the Father of all. The approach can diminish the use of hateful, inflammatory, violent languages in the polity, and halt the relentless destruction of lives by people who claim to promote particular ideological views and religious traditions. The module calls on adult Nigerians to instruct, inform, and form the younger generation to build greater relationships with one another and with God. Charity begins at home: It is impossible to love the invisible God while disparaging God’s image in the human person who is effectively relational and open for sharing of life.

Subject Area

African history|Religious education|Peace Studies

Recommended Citation

Amasiorah, Innocent, "The Anatomy of Ethnoreligious Violence in Nigeria: Religious Education as a Second Language of Religious Encounter in the Practice of Revelation" (2018). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10787695.