Challenging times in Nigeria
The wave of violence sweeping through Nigeria is unprecedented, surpassed only by the Biafran civil war (1967-1970). The killings and carnage are of inexplicable proportions when one takes into
account the spread and the figures involved. They have not only been consistent and relentless but systematic as well, especially in the Middle-Belt and North-East of Nigeria. While there are other forms of violence caused by crime, our concern is the type of violence that can be described as ethno-religious. Since 1999, northern Nigeria has been ravaged by repeated episodes of religious
and ethno-religious violence involving the loss of thousands of lives, the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and the destruction of vast quantities of property. Whole communities are
sacked by vicious militias or terrorists unchallenged. To add insult to injury, their possessions are looted or destroyed and sometimes their land taken away from them. The violence is overwhelmingly between followers of the two important monotheistic religions, Islam and Christianity. We cannot but ask why are the conflicts and violence on the increase rather than abating?