Religious education for prevention of violent conflicts in Boki Land

Cyril Obi Bayim, Fordham University


The Boki people constitute an ethnic group in the North Central region of the Cross River State of Nigeria. In recent decades, several communities in Boki Land have experienced violent conflicts as a result of disputes over portions of land which have claimed many lives, and left many more injured and homeless. In addition, violent confrontations between contending communities have led to the destruction of entire villages, infrastructures and farm lands. This dissertation is concerned with finding an end to these acts of violence by identifying means of preventing the escalation of communal conflicts over land ownership. It undertakes a socio-religious educational analysis of the causes and effects of violent conflicts on Boki Land. The study underscores the fact that though dispute over land features as the most prominent cause of violence in Boki Land, there are other contributive factors. This research further maintains that the Boki people are inherently dependent on the land for their livelihood and economic development. The frequent occurrence of violent conflicts in Boki Land is a social as well as a pastoral problem which the church, specifically the Roman Catholic Church in Boki Land should not ignore. The research shows that following Vatican Council II there is a shift in the church's evangelization mission with greater emphasis being placed on its prophetic message for social justice and peace. This research, therefore, is a humanistic interdisciplinary study, exploring how the church, the Boki people, the government and nongovernment institutions can together respond to situations of conflict. It found that peacebuilding strategies aim beyond the cessation of armed action to address the root causes of conflicts, because it is only when grievances have been properly addressed that violence can be prevented. The study suggests that religious educators, church leaders and mediators should incorporate the Boki traditional system of justice to develop effective peacebuilding programs in Boki Land. The study proposes that for sustainable peace in communities in conflict, peacebuilding initiatives must employ a bottom-up approach inclusive of people at the grassroots level, leaders of religious groups and representatives of the government. It suggests a socio-religious educational approach to peacebuilding that fosters dialogue, reconciliation, justice, peace and development in Boki Land.

Subject Area

Religious education

Recommended Citation

Bayim, Cyril Obi, "Religious education for prevention of violent conflicts in Boki Land" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3547541.