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KAMPALA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
DAR ES SALAAM
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SCIENCE
Ethnicity and Religious Instability in Nigeria
Case study: - Nigeria, plateau state, Jos.
MUHAMMAD ABDULLAHI IBRAHIM
Ms. Pribenska Eliska
List of table content
List of abbreviation
1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Purpose of the study
1.4 Objectives of the study
1.5 Research question
1.6 Hypothesis of the study
1.7 Significant of the study
1.8 Scope of the study
1.9 Operational definition of terms
2.1 Theoretical framework
2.2 Ethno-religious and political conflict in Jos
1. Competing historical interpretations and political claims
2. The creation of Jos north LGA
3. Citizenship and indigene rights
4. Rural land conflicts
5. The ethnic dimension of the Jos crises
6. The religious dimension
2.3 Causes of religious and ethno-politics in Jos
2.4 The causes of ethno-religious conflicts in Jos can be classified into two major heading
1. Remote causes of ethno-religious crises
2. Immediate causes of ethno-religious crises
2.5 Influence of resource control on Jos ethno-religious conflicts
3.2 Research design
3.3 Population of the study
3.4 Sample size
3.5 Sampling procedure
3.6 Research instrument
3.7 Validation of the instrument
3.8 Reliability of the instrument
3.9 Procedure for data collection
3.10 Method of data analysis
List of abbreviation
ANPP All Nigeria People Party
BBC British Broadcasting Corporation
CAN Christian Association of Nigeria
COCIN Church of Christ in Nigeria
HRW Human Rights Watch
IPCR Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution
LGA Local Government Area
NGO Non-Governmental Organisation
PDP People Democratic Party
SAP Structural Adjustment Program
VOA Voice of America
1.1 Background of the study
According to James Fearon and David Laitin (1996) argue that, ―a good theory of ethnic
conflict should be able to explain why, despite the greater tensions, peaceful and
cooperative [ethnic] relations are by far more typical outcome than is large scale
violence.‖ According to them, because of the benefits of peace and the costs of inter-
ethnic violence, ―decentralized institutional arrangements are likely to arise to moderate
problems of interethnic opportunism.‖ Although peaceful resolution of inter-ethnic
tensions should always prevail as a rational, more beneficial approach, violent ethnic
conflicts continue to occur across the world. The global community is haunted by
physical and emotional consequences of recent ethnic violence such as the ethnic
cleansing in Bosnia, genocide in Rwanda and Darfur, and sectarian violence in Iraq.
Continuous examination of the causes of ethnic conflict is necessary, so that we may
develop a better understanding of what causes the breakdown of peace in various multi-
ethnic contexts and create a more comprehensive basis for peacebuilding and post-
conflict development in ethnically divided societies. Literature on causes of ethnic
conflict covers a number of competing theories. Some of the major explanations include:
primordialist, institutional, political entrepreneurs, and competition over resources
theories. But, as Jalali and Lipset argue, ―Given the variety of ethnic conflicts and their
dynamic and fluid qualities, no one factor can provide a comprehensive explanation.‖
In Africa, Journalistic accounts of wars in Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and several other
countries of sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s have raised concern that ethnic cleavages
and overlapping affiliations of religion and race may undermine prospects for economic
and political development in much of Africa.
Ethnic diversity may lead to increased civil strife. This perception is fostered both by
some graphic individual scenes of inter ethnic violence, and by an aggregate correlation:
Africa has not only the highest ethnic diversity, but also the highest incidence of civil
war. Potentially, this might account for the detrimental economic effects of diversity. In
countries of traditional stability, ethnic conflict is becoming an increasing factor. In
Kenya, ethnic tensions related to multiparty elections resulted in the deaths of 1,500
people between late 1991 and late 1993. Additional deaths have occurred in relation to
the election in 1997, including post election recriminations against non-government
voting areas in early January 1998. South Africa lost 14,000 citizens due to the racial and
ethnic violence, which was part of transition to majority rule between 1990 and 1994.
In Nigeria, the colonial masters provided urban setting, which constitutes the cradle of
contemporary ethnicity. The British colonialist while pretending to carry out a mission of
uniting the warring ethnic groups consciously and systematically separated the various
Nigerian people thereby creating a suitable atmosphere for conflict. With the
heterogeneous nature of the country, the tendency of the various nationals is towards
parochial consciousness at the expense of national consciousness. A far reaching and in-
depth survey of Nigeria public opinion carried out by the International Foundation for
Elections Systems-IFES on behalf of United States Agency for International
Development-USAID in 2000 found out that ethnicity is the strongest type of identity
among Nigerians. Almost half of all Nigerians (48.2%) choose to tag themselves with an
Ethnic conflicts in Nigeria and Africa in general arise as result of scarcity of political
resources, multi-culturalism, religion, militarisation of ethnicity among others. These
conflicts cannot be ignored. It is therefore patently clear that realistic measures to solve
these problems are needed. This study, therefore, relies on content analysis as its
methodology to examine ethnic conflicts in Nigeria. It also examines the effects of ethnic
conflicts on the country‘s search for unity and identifies the possible issues for resolution.
Over the last decade, the political crises over ‗indigene‘ rights and political representation
in Jos, capital of plateau state, has developed into a protracted communal conflict
affecting most parts of the state. At least 4,000 and possibly as many as 7,000 people
have been killed since late 2001, when the first major riot broke out in 2004 Jos in more
than three decades. Ten years later, only the heavy presence of military and police forces
ensures a fragile claim in the city. Tension between ethnic group rooted in allocation of
resources, electoral competition, fears of religious domination, and contested land rights
have amalgamated into an explosive mix. The presence of well organised armed groups
in rural areas, the proliferation of weapons, and the sharp rise in gun fatalities within Jos
all point to the real risk of future large-scale violence.
1.2 Statement of the problem
More than 13,500 people have been killed in communal violence since Nigeria returned to
civilian rule in 1999 (HRW, 2010). The Middle Belt region, to which Plateau State belongs,
is one of the areas worst hit. The 2001 Jos riot claimed at least 1,000 lives in Jos (HRW,
2001). Subsequently, long-standing tensions within smaller towns and villages in Plateau
State violently escalated. The killings only came to a halt when the federal government
declared a state of emergency in 2004, after about 700 people had been killed in an attack on
the town of Yelwa in southern Plateau State (HRW, 2005). Clashes between Muslim and
Christian youths rocked the city of Jos again in 2008, killing at least 700. In 2008, another
crises was erupted in which close to 200 live were lost, houses and vehicles were set ablaze
during the crises, according to Red Cross said more than a hundred people were seriously
injured in the fighting and 3,000 people were displaced in the clashes, (Dakar and Brussels,
2012). Another analysis according to the report which carried by the news of December 15,
2008, Mr. Bala Zuberu, the trading company, lost about Naira 28 million when his business
centre where he sold car‘s was razed to the ground, and also according to the news, Alhaji
Musa Adamu of Pama Motors lost about Naira 60 millions of car‘s during the crises, many of
their houses were burnt and many Mosques destroyed, a number of petrol stations belonging
to Muslim at Farin Gada ward of Jos metropolis were also razed to the ground during the
crises, (Dakar and Brussels, 2012).
According to IRIN (2005), the year 2010 has been one of the worst on record, with more than
1,000 lives lost their life. The human cost of the violence is immense, the number of
internally displaced people since 2001 peaked in 2004, with up to 220,000 people displaced.
After the 2008 riot, more than 10,000 were displaced, whilst violence in 2010 resulted in
about 18,000 people fleeing the clashes (IRIN, 2010). Numerous houses in Jos have been
burned and blackened remnants litter the streets in many parts of the city. All sides suffer a
massive loss due to livelihoods destroyed. Violence and displacement have reshaped Jos and
many rural settlements. As neighbourhoods become religiously segregated, ‗no-go areas‘
alter patterns of residency, business, transportation, and trade.
On the other hand, the police statement put the number of casualties at 326, whilst another
put it at 362, Human Right Watch confirmed that about 150 dead bodies were pulled from a
village well known at kurum Karama, (Dakar and Brussels, 2012). The Red Cross society of
Nigeria noted more than 8,000 refugees in the Toro local government area of Bauchi state.
According to Vanguard (2012), recently in 2012 Boko Haram increased the tension in Jos
plateau state by killing a senator and house of representative that has been stalking place in
Plateau State thickened, in July 8, 2012, after Senator Gyang Dantong and the Majority
Leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr. Gyang Fulani were killed whilst
attending the mass burial of about 50 victims of Saturday‘s attack on villages in Barkin Ladi
and Riyom local government areas of the state. The death of the lawmakers came on the heels
of the discovery on the remains of over 50 persons mostly women and children burnt inside
the residence of a local pastor where they had taken refuge following the attack on about 14
villages by suspected Fulani herdsmen on Saturday (Vanguard, 2012). The two lawmakers
were reportedly gunned down at Maseh village in Riyom LGA where over 50 victims of
Saturday‘s attack were being buried. The gunmen reportedly stormed the venue and opened
fire on those present, causing more deaths. Member representing Barkin-Ladi/Riyom
Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Simon Mwadkon was lucky as he escaped
with injuries and was resuscitated at the Barkin-Ladi General Hospital where he was rushed
to after he fainted. Senator Dantong was the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP senator
representing the Plateau North Senatorial District and was until his death yesterday, the
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health (Vanguard, 2012).
The death of the 50 persons in the residence of the pastor of the Church of Christ in Nigeria
at Maseh village was believed to have been the handiwork of the suspected Fulani herdsmen
who were believed to have torched the house when they discovered that the people had taken
refuge there. The killing of the lawmakers sparked off angry reactions around the Plateau as
youths took over the highway to protest what they described as genocide against the Berom
people allegedly by the Fulani. The angry reaction following the killings in 2012, forced
many motorists travelling along the Jos-Riyom highway to turn back to avoid being caught in
the disturbance. The Permanent Secretary in charge of security in the Cabinet Office, Mr.
Istifanus Gyang confirmed the killing of the two lawmakers (Vanguard, 2012).
In another hand, Abraham Yiljap, the state‘s Commissioner of Information, confirmed the
assassination in a statement. Gyang Fulani, a member of the Plateau State House of
Assembly, was also reportedly shot during the attack. Meanwhile the AP reports that Raids
and reprisal attacks left 37 people dead in Jos Christian villages on Saturday July 8, 2012,
where authorities have struggled to contain religious violence, authorities said Sunday July 9,
2012 (Information Nigeria, 2013). Mustapha Salisu, spokesman for a special taskforce made
up of policemen and soldiers deployed in the area to curb years of violence, said assailants
launched ―sophisticated attacks‖ on several villages near Jos early Saturday. They came in
hundreds said Salisu, some had (police) uniforms and some even had bulletproof vests, and
he said the special taskforce fought back for hours and two policemen in the battle, he also
added that 14 civilians were killed in the raids and that the task-force killed 21 assailant
(Information Nigeria, 2013).
In view of the above statements, the problems of this study are: -
a) Resource control;
b) Political power sharing;
d) Religious domination; and
e) External forces.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of the study is to investigate the influence of ethnicity and religious intolerance
on ethno-religious conflict in Jos, Plateau state Nigeria, the study also will look at how
poverty and unemployment was a product of ethno-religious instability which in torn gave
birth to incessant the confrontation of the both, in recent times, poverty led to mutual and
mass slaughter of the Jos people, insisting that idle hands were always the devils instrument
and that if people were fully engaged they would hardly have time to see others as their
enemies. These indicate the lack of education, unemployment and political awareness may
also trigger the conflict, the need of this research might provide the mechanism in giving
suggestion and recommendation to overcome the problem.
1.4 Objective of the study
The specific objectives of this study are to: -
1. Determine the impact of indigene-settlers on ethnic-religious conflict in Jos, Plateau
2. Determine the impact of political power sharing on ethnic-religious conflicts in Jos,
3. Determine the impact of resource control on ethnic-religious conflict in Jos, Plateau
1.5 Research question
1. What are the effects of indigene-settlers on ethno-religious conflicts in Jos Plateau
2. What are the effects of political power sharing on ethno-religious conflicts in Jos
3. What are the effects of resources control on ethno-religious conflicts in Plateau state?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
Ho1= there is no significant effects of indigene-settlers on ethnic-religious conflicts in Jos,
Ho2= there is no significant effects of political power sharing on ethnic-religious conflict in
Jos, Plateau state.
Ho3= there is no significant effects of resources control on ethnic-religious conflict in Jos,
1.7 Significant of the study
The study will be of great importance to academics, political groups, leaders, and non-
governmental organisation in the following ways.
The elimination of ethnicity along the divided line through the strengthens the rule of law, the
enforcement of institution like the police and working with the constitution effectively, the
police will be more highlighting about the crisis within (ethno-religious conflict), they would
play a key role in changing the behaviour of the community. This will make their work easy
in identifying the crises in order to prevention as well as securing the society from escalation
of the violence, to control the measures through cautions and suing in the court of law.
The non-governmental organisations, traditional rulers, and other religious sectors would help
the community to prevent the crises from escalation in Jos, (Plateau state) communities, these
might be through the seminars and the religious tolerance will be as a reasonable
accompaniment of such things to not attacking, harassing, insulting, abusing, or looking
down those of other belief. Focusing on the potentially positive role of religion with respect
to morality, social harmony, sustainable development social justice and achievement of
certain development objectives, also the role of religious organisation in the provision of
education and health services, the religious to integrates in all aspect of Jos (Plateau state)
communities can provides a basis for the interaction of different units, introduces order,
harmony and disciplines into social relations, serves as a mechanism that makes society‘s
productive and thus has a role in nation building.
The government and institutions more especially the traditional rulers of each ethnic group
have to acknowledge the extent and the impact of ethno-religious conflict in the environment,
specifically around the main major ethnic groups. The law most be formulated and the
penalties to culprits to court the further spreading of such crises. Democracy as an
institutional arrangement that guarantees the preservation of individual‘s rights is not only
predicated on the principle of liberty, equality, justice, representation, consensus, and
peacebuilding. For example, a social justice through cultural renewal in Jos (Plateau state)
ordinarily engenders a climate that upholds and ensures the enthronement of the
responsiveness, transparency, and accountability of the state and that they value and actualise
their potentials, and political education and enlighten also to make the leaders accountable to
the citizens and the citizens to obey the government law and regulations. In other word, the
decentralisation of government that enhance the efficiency, equality, and legitimacy of
democracy and the political culture which especially as a democratic values, beliefs,
attitudes, norms, and the creation of a civil society that facilitates and enhance public
participation in the democratic process that prevents abusive power from becoming
concentrated at the centre of the society.
The study is expected to be used by Human Right Watch and academics institutions; the
foundation of human right watch initiation is to investigate if there is violation of human
right, whilst the academic institution is to highlights the impact of ethno-religious conflict in
the region (Plateau state). This study might be have source of getting peace, respect for
democratic rights, commitment to promote regional security, peace, and stability, the
promotion of human development, and freedom to life.
1.8 Scope of the study
The study would take place in Nigeria (Jos, Plateau state) in related to the fact of ethno-
religious conflict, the ethnic groups are the main focus on this study, the centre also will be
much considered to my research, civilian and ethno-religion must be considered in the
1.10 Content Scope
Ethnicity and religious are consider as the independent variable in the influence of instability
in Jos Plateau State, Nigeria.
1.11 Time Scope
The study will cover from April to the end of July.
1.12 Operational definition
Conflict: - refers as a disagreement through which the parties involved perceive a threat to
their needs, interests or concerns.
Corruption: - refer as the abuse of power for private gain.
Fulbe: - refers to Fulani people traditionally cattle herders of Muslim faith.
Indigene: - refers as a citizen on a particular territory that shares the same historical
ancestries and common values.
Indigenous People: - refers to the ethnic minorities who have been marginalised as their
historical territories became part of a state.
Migrants: - refers to people who came from different area and settle in another place.
Migration: - refers as the movement of people from one place in the world to another for the
purpose of taking up permanent or semi-permanent residence, usually across a political
Non-Indigene: - refers as the people who settle in another locality area for seeking a refugee.
Peace: - refers as a state of harmony and the absence of physical violence.
Politics: refer as authoritative location of the resources (materials and symbolic leadership) to
Poverty: - refers as the population living under 1$ dollar per day.
Religion: - refers as a means and ways through which individuals relate to God or Allah
through prayer and worship.
Settlers: - refers as a person has migrated to an area and established permanent residence
there, often to colonise the area.
Squatter: - refers as a person who live upon premises owned by another person, without the
owners permission either uninhabited building or unused land.
Violence: - refers as is the use of physical force or power, against a person, or against a group
2.1 Concepts, ideas, opinions from authors/experts
Nigeria is a plural, highly complex, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-
religions polity, with a diversity of ethnic groups. (Danfulani, 2009: Smyth and Robinson,
2001). This identity is played out in the way the country is bifurcated along the lines of
religion, language, culture, ethnicity and regional identity, Osaghae and Suberu (2005). Of
the population of over 150 million people, the country is almost half Christians and half
Muslims, aside other religions (Paden, 2008; Schwartz, 2010). In Nigeria, as in all of Africa,
―political competition, via the electoral process, embraces inevitably and inescapably, an
uneasy tension between conflict and consensus‖ (Diamond, 1982); violent identity conflicts
have become, since 1999, a method of collective action by diverse ethnic and religious
groups engaged in contestations for political power. The most prominent of these conflicts
are those that have pitted Muslims against Christians in a dangerous convergence of religion,
ethnicity and politics.
Jos, the capital of Plateau State in Nigeria has, over the past decade, witnessed violent
communal clashes across ethnic and religious fault lines. These clashes have claimed
―thousands of lives, displaced hundreds of thousands of others, and fostered a climate of
instability throughout the surrounding region‖ (Kwaja, 2011). While large scale violence has
occurred periodically since 2001, in recent years attacks have become more frequent,
widespread, and efficient. The conflict in Jos is often usually characterized as inter-religious
or inter-ethnic, mainly between the majority but marginal Christian ‗indigence‘ (Anagula,
Berom and Afrisare) and the minority but dominant Muslim Hausa Fulani groups (Adebanwi:
2005). As is often the case with identity conflicts in Africa, these are socially constructed
stereo-types that are manipulated to trigger and drive violence in Jos (Aapengnuo, 2010;
Kwaja, 2011). They veil deeper institutional factors within the Nigerian social fabric that are
abused and exploited to deny citizens access to resources, basic rights, and participation in
political process; factors that if unaddressed, have the potential to fan the embers of violence
across the country.
In the face of violent identity conflagrations, efforts at peace building become sisyphusean, or
very daunting, to say the least. Over the years, government responses to the recurring Jos
conflicts have widely been perceived as ineffective. At least, 16 public commissions have
been launched to examine the conflict and proffer solutions but as yet, little gains have been
made, owing to lack of the needed political will to act on the commissions‘ findings. It is
based on the foregoing, that this paper takes another critical look at ethnic and religious
identity construction in Nigeria and its implications for national building in Jos, Plateau State.
Countries where centrifugal and fissiparous tendencies exist are often victims of violent
identity conflicts. More importantly, the patterns of social cleavages in any given society are
an important determinant of the intensity and irreconcilability of conflict. These can best be
situated within the theoretical framework of identity politics, which interrogates the origins of
identity construction and their fundamentalisation, including their recourse to violent
Identity politics is the political activity of various ethnic religious and cultural groupings in
demanding greater economic, social and political rights or self determination (Osaghae and
Suberu, 2005). It claims to represent and seeks to advance the interest of particular groups,
the members of whom often share and unite around common experience of perceived social
and economic injustice, relative to the society of which they form part and exist in (Ambe-
Uva, 2010). This usually gives rise to a political basis ground which they may unite and begin
to assert themselves in society (Zweri and Zahid, 2007). Identity politics means more than the
sole recognition of ethnic religious or cultural identity. In fact, it seeks to carry these
identities forward, beyond mere self-identification, to a political framework based upon that
identity. Nigeria presents a complex of individual as well as cross-crossing and recursive
identities of which the ethnic, religious, regional and sub-ethnic (communal) are the most
salient and the main basis for violent conflicts in the country. This is both from the point of
view of identities mostly commonly assumed by citizens ―especially for political purposes
and the identities often implicated in day-to-day contestations over citizenship as well as
competitions and conflicts over resources and privileges‖ (Osaghae and Suberu, 2005).
Two approaches aptly capture the nature of Nigeria‘s identity diversity. One is Geertz‘s
(1963) famous distinction between primordial ties, which are basically inscriptive and based
on the ‗givens‘ of life (tribe, Kinship, ethnicity etc) and civil ties, which hinge on society type
aggregations like class, political party affiliation, interest group membership and so on. The
second approach is more or less, a conflict based perspective in which only identities that
form the basis of political demand, mobilization and action, or the so-called politicized
identities, may be regarded as politically salient. Young (1976), Kasfir (1976) and Rothschild
(1981) are some of the leading proponents of politicized identity. While this approach has the
merit of focusing on active identities, it is mistaken in the exclusion of identities that are not
politically salient such as gender and profession. This is because often times, identities tend
to be situational and like volcanoes, identities that are dormant today can become active
tomorrow. Thus, what is clear is that any examination of Nigeria‘s identity would necessarily
have to be inclusive of all identities, civil or primordial and the ways in which they are
intricately linked. This is necessary to enable us situate the various identities, especially the
more active and politically salient identities in their fuller, robust and recursive contents.
Plateau, a state of plural ethnicity and religion, has had several cases of identity based
conflicts. It is the second most ethnically diverse state in Nigeria after Adamawa (Alubo,
2006). Like elsewhere in Nigeria, this diverse population is seen as bearing two identities;
indeperes and settlers. There are also two major religions Christianity and Islam. In its
contemporary situation, most of the so-called settlers are Muslims, while the supposed
indigenes are mostly Christians. Based on past experiences, particularly in Jos, conflict which
begin as politically based frequently assume ethnic and religious dimensions (as in 2001 and
2008), in a telling conflation of religion and ethnicity (Alubo, 2009; Cesey, 2007). Identity
conflicts in Jos are mostly between indigenes (Beron, Anaguta and Afrisarte and Settlers
(Hausa/Fulani). In his research on communal violence in Plateau State, Bagudu (2004)
reveals a count of ―over 62 identity driven conflicts within a decade, with 22 recorded in
2004 alone‖. Also while indigenes have different identities, these are neatly folded into a
common umbrella (Best, 2007) for the purpose of uniting against a perceived common
enemy. Thus, the recurring Jos conflict illustrates how identity is used as the basis to access
opportunities and ultimately, inclusive citizenship.
2.2 Theoretical Framework
The theoretical framework for this study is the human needs theory by Burton (1987). The
theory operates on the premise that a pre-condition for the resolution of conflict is that
fundamental human needs be met. Burton adopted eight fundamental needs from the basis of
the work by the American sociologist Paul Sites and introduced one further need of his own.
Those adopted needs included control, security, justice, stimulation, response, meaning,
rationality and esteem/recognition. Burton‘s additional need was ‗role-defence,‘ the need to
defend one‘s role. Burton called these ―ontological needs‖ as he regarded them as a
consequence of human nature, which were universal and would be pursued regardless of the
He argued that, antecedents to human needs theory came from a variety of disciplines. That
in the biological and sociobiological disciplines conflict is perceived to result from
competition over scarce resources as a result of common needs. In social psychology Henry
Murray, Erich Fromm (1900-1980), and Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) describe needs (some
say ‗drives‘) as important in understanding factors for human motivation. Further Burton
distinguishes ontological needs from values and interests. He defines ontological needs as
non-negotiable; values as offering some limited opportunities for negotiation; and interests as
Burton distinguishes conflict from the related term of ‗dispute‘. He defined ‗conflict‘ as an
action over these non-negotiable human needs, whereas a ‗dispute‘ was over negotiable
values. Burton distinguishes conflict resolution, from the related terms of conflict
management and conflict settlement. To Burton conflict resolution solved deep seemingly
intractable issues, whereas settlement only addressed the superficial factors of conflict. The
theory was not without controversy. His notion of needs falls under criticism especially from
those cultural anthropologists and relativists, who were (and still are) resistant to universal
values, among those were fellow members of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and
Resolution, Kevin Avruch and Peter Black.
The relationship between religious, political power, land, resources control, and international
interference as the factors responsible for the ethno-religious conflicts in Jos, this can be
described by using a model as follows: -
Ethnicity and Religious Conflict in Jos
-Poverty and exclusion
-Lack of education
-Deprived of right to life
- Poor infrastructure
-Creation of Jos North
-Potential for Sustainable Peace
Economic reforms, creditable institutions, eradicating ethnic sentiment, involvement of
ethnic/religious dogmas, rule of law, good governance, and capacity-building in national and
local governance such as, reconstruction, free and fair election.
Infrastructural development; roads, schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, aids, and so on.
Promoting human development and peace, security, and stability.
Promoting equality between citizens and settlers, gender equality, human right, right to life,
institutions of basic right, more especially for minority, and respects for democratic rights.
Empowerment of both indigenes and settlers for achieving political, social, economic,
cultural, and environmental security among all peoples.
2.3 Ethno-Religious and Political conflicts in Jos
Situated on the northern edge of the ‗middle belt‘ in central Nigeria, where the country‘s
―predominantly Muslim northern half blends with the generally Christian south, Jos is a
relatively new city‖ (Kwaja, 2011). Before its descent into violence the city was regarded by
both Nigerians and foreigners alike, as a peaceful settlement with a temperate climate of
magnetic attraction (Ambe-Uva, 2010; Higazi, 2011; Plotnicov, 1967, Gaya Best, 2007).
While the serenity of the place lasted, it was reputed as the ―Home of peace and tourism‖.
Today however, the city is being mockingly referred to as the ―Home of pieces and
terrorism‖, (Jeadayibe and Kudu, 2010).
Since the early 1980s and especially from 2001, Jos has witnessed long-running, even if
understated, rivalry between the majority but marginal Christian indigenes (Anaguta, Berom
and Afisare) and the minority but dominant settler Hausa/Fulani (Adebanwi, 2005). The
result of these rivalries has been recurring ethno-religious and political violence. The Jos
crisis is usually attributed to ―the polyglot nature of the city which resulted from the
nineteenth century migrations of different ethnic groups to the area to work in the Tin mines‖
(Danfulani and Twatshak, 2002).
Today, is founding, or rather precisely who founded Jos city is part of the problem that
sparked of the recurring violence (Gaya-Best, 2007). As such, the ownership of Jos is hotly
contested among the three main indigenous ethnic groups (the Berom, Anaguta and Afisare)
where traditional land meet on an unmarked border line in Jos town on the one hand and the
descendants of Hausa-Fulani settlers, who initially settled in Jos as traders and Tin miners on
the other hand.
Signals pointing towards the manifestation of contentions issues between Muslim settlers and
Christian indigenes started emanating in Jos in the 1990s (Danfulani, 2006), culminating in
1994 into open clashes mainly between the Berom indigenes and Hausa-Fulani settlers over
farmland and chieftaincy issues. Abdu (2002) opines that the ―1990s witnessed a resurgence
in identity politics in Jos, this time centering around the control of Jos North Local
Government carved from the former Jos local government in 1991‖, which enhanced the
Hausa-Fulani hegemonic control of political powers in the local government.
On April 12, 1994, the growing tension escalated into violent clashes when Sanusi Mato, a
Hausa-Fulani man was appointed chairman of Jos North Local Government transition
committee. The indigenes rejected the appointment because, as Sha (1998:57) observed, they
―interpreted the action as the confirmation of the fear that the federal government wanted to
provide basis for the Hausa-Fulani to assume political hegemony in Jos‖. The ensuring
violence led to the ―burning down and vandalisation of government properties‖ (Abdu, 2002).
Also, in March 16, 1996, electoral violence in Angwar Rogo, a predominantly Hausa Fulani
settlement almost escalated to ethno-religious violence. The indigenes alleged that the Hausa-
Fulani tried to rig election by smuggling into the polling stations ―Shagari voters‖ from the
Northern part of the country. This prompted the electoral officers to screen out the unknown
faces thereby evoking anger and protest among Hausa-Fulani youths. The resulting violence
―left three people dead‖ (Abdu, 2002).
In September 2001 another devastating ethno-religious conflict broke out in Jos when Alhaji
Mohammed Muktar, a Hausa-Fulani and a former chairman of Jos North Local Government
was appointed as the coordinator of the Federal Government‘s National Poverty Alleviation
Programme in Jos North. Indigenous Christian youths rejected the appointment on grounds
that while he was chairman of the local government, he was indicted by a court ruling, which
removed him from office for among other offences, falsification of birth records, perjury and
falsehood (Ojukwu and Onifade, 2010). The Christian youths also felt aggrieved by the
appointment of a person from the minority Jasawa group (Hausa-Fulani) to head such a
sensitive office (Danfulani and Fwatshak, 2002). The resulting sectarian violence claimed as
many as 1,000 lives (Human Rights Watch, 2009).
In 2004, more than 1,000 people were killed in attacks against Muslim and Christian villages
from February to May, and 250,000 were displaced, especially in the town of Yelwa (Human
Rights Watch, 2009; Kwaja, 2011). These attacks revolved around contestations over land
and chieftaincy. Table 1 below shows in chronological order large-scale communal clashes in
and around Jos since 1994.
Table 1: Large-scale communal clashes in and around Jos
Year Proximate Trigger Extent of Violence
1994 Appointment of lay leaders prompt protests
and counter demonstration
Four killed. Several city markets, an
Islamic school, and places of
2001 Appointment of local administrator of
welfare allowances leads to weeks of
demonstrations. Tension rise, resulting in
An estimated 1,000 to 3,000 killed.
Violence expands across plateau
state. Attacks by youth groups in
Muslim and Christian
neighbourhoods, no mosques and
churches, and at the university of
Jos. Sporadic attacks continue
through 2002-2003, killing
hundreds and destroying 72 villages.
2004 National election held but postponed in
plateau state, local officials are appointed,
resulting in disputes.
More than 1,000 killed in attacks
against Muslim and Christian
villages from February to May, and
250,000 are displaced. Federal
government removes state governor
and appoints temporary
2008 Local government election
-The first in Jos since 2002
-Are schedule then delayed three
times. Disputes emerge over
patty nominees and results.
Nearly 800 killed in gang attacks
and riot from November to
2010 A dispute over reconstruction of a home
destroyed by clashes in 2008 leads to
violence in January and reprisal in March
and throughout the year.
January: up to 500 residents killed
over 4 days in January. Many
villages and homes destroyed.
March: up to 500 killed in an
December: nearly 80 killed
following twin car bombs. Hundred
more die in frequent intermittent
2011 Disputes between farmers and herdsmen
over farmland leads to wanton destruction of
lives and property throughout the year and
especially in September and December.
September: over 100 residents killed
in several days of fighting in and
December: over 20 people killed in
2012 Land-related communal conflicts between
the predominantly Berom ethnic group and
Hausa/Fulani herdsmen continue to rear its
ugly head in Jos, leading to a complex
interplay of conflict factors.
February: Suicide Bomber Rams
Car Into Church of Christ in Nigeria
(COCIN), instantly killing three,
injuring 38 and damaging 30
July: gunmen attack over 10
villages, kill over 300, including a
serving Senator Gyang Dantong,
and the majority leader of plateau
House of assembly, Hon. Gyang
Source: Kwaja (2011): Researchers’ Fieldwork, 2012.
According to HRW (2009), again, two days of inter-communal violence on November 28 to
29, 2008, followed a disputed local government election in Jos north local government on
November 27, 2008. The violence pitted predominantly Christian indigenes from the Berom,
Afisare and Anaputa ethnic groups who were largely in support of the Christian candidate
from the ruling People‘s Democratic Party (PDP) against Muslim ‗non-indigenes‘ primarily
from the Hausa-Fulani ethnic group, who backed the Muslim candidate from the opposition,
All Nigeria People‘s Party (ANPP) (Human Rights Watch, 2009). The PDP Chairmanship
aspirant, Timothy Buba Polled 92,907 votes to beat his closest rival from ANPP, Aminu
Baba with 72,890 votes (Ambe-Uve, 2010). It was the declaration of Timothy Buba, as
winner of the election that sparked off the chain of events that led to the crisis. During the
crisis, rampaging youths burnt down many vehicles, churches, mosques, filling stations and
private houses. In all more than 700 people were reported dead while thousands were
displaced and took refuge in several locations (Ojukwu and Onifade, 2010).
In January 2010, violence quickly broke out when a Hausa-Fulani man attempted to
reconstruct his home which was destroyed during the 2008 clashes. Christians youths in the
area vehemently opposed the reconstruction of the building and soon, the matter resulted in
serious ethnic and religious disputes that left over 1,000 people dead (Kwaja, 2011). In
December of the same year, nearly 80 people were killed in twin car bomb attacks.
Since 2010, several hundreds of Muslims and Christians have died in Jos in coordinated
bomb attacks in worship centres and other public places. The dreaded Boko Haram sect has
claimed responsibility for some of these killings as the security situation continues to
depreciate in Jos. At the times of doing this research, violent ethnic and communal clashes
are still a recurring phenomenon in Jos and environs.
I. Competing historical interpretations and political claims
Labels such as ‘settler’, ‘native’, ‘non-native’, ‘host community’, ‘foreigner’, ‘native
foreigner’, ‘stranger element’, ‘squatter’, ‘non-squatter’, ‘immigrant’, ‘migrant’,
‘indigene’, ‘non-indigene’ [. . .] among many others are used daily in Nigeria to
describe, stigmatise or stereotype the ‘other’ as a category who ‘does not belong’
According to Mohammed (2007) state that, both sides selectively point to historical records
to justify their claim to the city of Jos, to indigene rights, and to political representation.
Hausa–Fulani leaders argue that there was no Jos when they arrived on the Plateau. They
claim to have founded Jos and nurtured it into a modern city. A recent publication circulating
among the Hausa–Fulani cites the 1930 Jos Township census to demonstrate that back then
the Hausa constituted by far the most numerous ethnic group in the township (Mohammed,
2007). Jasawa leaders also point out that parts of what is Plateau State today used to be under
the Bauchi Emirate. The indigenes emphasize that the high plateau was never conquered by
the Dan Fodio jihad movement because plateau people actively resisted the jihad expansion.
As noted above, the British policy of indirect rule initially relied on the structures of the
Bauchi Emirate to administer Jos. In 1926 the British introduced a separate administration for
the high plateau area around Jos (Best, 2007). The contested history of Jos also finds
expression in the trend among the indigenes to rename areas and streets to erase the Hausa
legacy, although most people in Jos speak Hausa fluently.
II. The creation of Jos North LGA
The contemporary political conflict between the indigenes and the Hausa–Fulani dates back
at least two decades. Under the military administration of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, the
Hausa–Fulani actively lobbied for the establishment of a local government in which they
would be predominant. In 1991, their request was granted with the creation of Jos North
LGA. The new boundaries made the Berom, Anaguta, and Afizere minorities within Jos
The three groups vehemently protested the creation of Jos North, arguing that they had not
been consulted and that they had not consented to it. They view the split of the old Jos LGA
into Jos North and South LGAs as a deliberate strategy to give full political control over an
LGA to the Hausa population (Best, 2007). Jos North LGA comprises the commercial centre
of Jos as well as the main political and traditional offices, such as the palace of the indigene
traditional leader, the Gbong Gwom of Jos.
According to Best (2007) state that, since the creation of Jos North LGA, elections and
political appointments has been accompanied by strong tensions between the Hausa and the
indigenes. A first minor crisis occurred in 1994 over the appointment of a Hausa candidate as
chairman of the Jos North Local Government Council. The Berom and other indigene groups
strongly protested the appointment. They maintained that the position should go to an
indigene. Four people were killed during the protests and parts of several market areas as well
as an Islamic school and mosque were destroyed (Best, 2007).
III. Citizenship and indigene rights
Nigeria‘s constitution grants every citizen the right to settle anywhere within the country and
prohibits the government from discriminating against citizens based on ethnicity or religion.
Nevertheless, strong regulations continue to favour the indigenes within states and even
LGAs. Non-indigenes are excluded from university scholarships, pay higher school and
university fees, and cannot be recruited into the civil service. The lack of political
representation is thus perpetuated for non-indigene settlers. Local government authorities
decide over the issuing of indigene certificates to their favoured ethnic and religious groups.
The indigene status is therefore highly contested, especially since it is linked to important
political, economic, and educational benefits. Long-term exclusion of one group‘s elite from
political offices erodes existing patronage networks. The Jasawa population complains that
since the early 1990s it has become almost impossible for them to receive indigene status,
despite the fact that their community settled there generations ago.
Proponents of indigene rights claim that any settler can return to his ‗place of origin‘ and
demand an indigene certificate there. In theory, therefore, no citizen would be discriminated
against. In practice, however, many settlers have lived within their localities for several
generations and cannot trace back their origins to a place where their ethnic group would
constitute a majority. Although the Hausa–Fulani dominate the northern Muslim states, many
Hausa–Fulani settlers in Plateau State have no ancestors in these states and cannot claim
indigene rights there. Human Rights Watch refers to such settlers as ‗stateless citizens‘ who
are gravely disadvantaged and have no access to higher education or jobs in the civil service,
the military, or the police forces (HRW, 2006). Many Hausa–Fulani are now seeking to
obtain certificates from Kano or Bauchi. But even if they can receive certificates there,
indigene status in another state is of little use for employment within the Plateau State civil
However, many Christians of the Igbo and Yoruba communities are also ‗settlers‘ in Jos
North LGA. Their ancestors moved there during the same time period as the Hausa–Fulani.
These settler groups do not claim indigene rights and have never been dominant in the
politics of the city. In contrast, the Jasawa elite held political offices under the British and
under the former military administration. Ostien concludes that ‗the city‘s settler problem is a
Jasawa problem‘ (Ostien, 2009). A Muslim elder in Jos stated that if a solution could be
found to the conflict over indigene rights, 95 per cent of the potential for violent conflict in
Plateau State would be removed.
Berom elders have reiterated time and again that they are not willing to compromise over the
Hausa–Fulani settler status. In 2001, Berom elders stated that ‗not only is Jos on Berom land,
but Jos is our JERUSALEM and is indigenously inhabited by the Berom, Anaguta, and
Afizere‘ (Best, 2007). A few years later, the traditional Berom leader stated that even if the
Hausa had been in Plateau State for more than 1,000 years, they would remain non-indigene
(HRW, 2006). Indigene politicians add that the problem is one of assimilation: -
Box 1 Nigeria‘s citizenship crisis
In principle, all Nigerian citizens are equal no matter the circumstances of their birth
and whether or not they reside in their places of origin. But in practice, one is a
Nigerian citizen only in his state of origin [. . .], no matter for how long one resides or
domiciles in a state other than his own (Ojukwu and Onifade, 2010).
The conflict over citizenship and indigene rights is in no way peculiar to Plateau State. Most
states of the Nigerian federation face an indigene or citizenship crisis. The constitution
privileges local descent over residency. Those who leave their state of origin risk becoming
‘second-class citizens’ in another part of the federation. Within a country of more than 250
ethnic groups, the discrimination against non-indigenes in all six geo-political zones
threatens to tear the country apart. Indigene status is an important tool in the politics of
identity and labelling. Differing interpretations of local history are applied to mark the
boundaries of who belongs and who is left out.
Source: Golwa and Ojiji (2008)
as long as the Hausa do not identify themselves as Berom, they identify themselves as settlers
(HRW, 2006), thus effectively demanding submission to Berom political control.
However, several respondents also stated that if it were not for the Hausa–Fulani as a
common enemy, the Berom, Anaguta, and Afizere would be fighting among themselves over
the ownership of Jos and privileges. Indeed, recent tensions between the Berom and the
Afizere underline how easily notions of indignity are manipulated. The Afizere had sided
with the Jasawa in the lead-up to the 2008 local elections against People‘s Democratic Party
(PDP) candidate Jonah Jang. After Jang assumed office, Afizeres complained that he
intended to ‗chase them out to Bauchi‘ and sent a letter of official complaint to the Prince
Bola Ajibola Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Jos unrest of 28 November 2008
(Ostien, 2009). Urban discourse over claims to indigene rights and political control has since
reverberated within smaller towns of Plateau State such as Namu, Yelwa, and Wase.
I. Rural land conflicts
According to Blench, 2003 state that, land conflicts existed in Jos long before the September
2001 crisis. Sporadic violent confrontations over farming and grazing land were already
reported during colonial times. Before the 2001 crisis, conflicts between farmers and herders
in Plateau State had not reached levels as high as in some neighbouring states. Indeed, local
community leaders settled most tensions without having recourse to violent means. Yet with
the expansion of agricultural production over the past decades, land for farming and grazing
became contested. The increase of farming reduced the cattle herders‘ access to water for
their livestock and changed the interaction between farmers and herders.
The pastoral Fulani have been accused of allowing their cattle to graze on the land of the
indigene population. These claims gave rise to rustling of the valuable cattle and attacks on
Fulani communities. Large numbers of cattle were stolen from the Fulani, who responded
with counter-attacks on mostly Christian villages (HRW, 2005). After the first riot in Jos in
2001, many Christians brought corpses back to their home village for burial. This practice
further aggravated tensions. Some village communities turned their anger against the Muslim
Fulani, who responded with reprisal attacks. The Fulani claim to have lost at least 1,800 tribe
members and more than 160,000 cows between September 2001 and May 2004 (HRW,
2005). The violent conflict is ongoing.
II. The ethnic dimension of the Jos crisis
The indigene–settler issue is endemic in the ‗Middle Belt‘ states surrounding the Plateau.
According to IPCR 2008b, indicate that, the North-Central is a ‗hyperactive conflict zone‘
plagued with rural conflicts over land and grazing rights and over political representation.
Several states, such as Benue and Plateau, are reported to host large numbers of ex-soldiers
with access to weapons. These individuals are also available to form and train militias based
on existing vigilante groups. The proliferation of arms in the North-Central Zone has been
recognized as an alarming trend for several years (IPCR, 2003). The presence of militias and
thugs for hire in neighbouring states is worrisome for Plateau State.
In addition, Kaduna and Bauchi states are also infected by violent confrontations between
Muslims and Christians. In 2000, Kaduna city suffered massive communal violence between
Muslims and Christians over the introduction of Sharia criminal law, with at least 2,000
people having been killed. Smaller riots took place again in 2002, this time over the ‗Miss
World‘ contest that was set to take place in Nigeria. As a result, the city today is largely
segregated into a Christian southern and a Muslim northern part. Kaduna city has remained
peaceful since 2002, but the April 2011 post-election riots demonstrated the fragility of this
Bauchi State was also badly hit by Muslim protests in April 2011. Bauchi has repeatedly been
rocked by clashes with religious dimensions in rural communities. For instance, in May 2011,
a Christian-dominated village was attacked and 16 people were killed (BBC, 2011b). The
Muslim community in Jos is frequently accused of receiving mercenaries from Bauchi and
other states farther north, as well as from Chad and Niger. These accounts are very
widespread. Given the small number of arrests made subsequent to violent clashes in Plateau
State, it is difficult to assess their validity.
Many Christians in Jos point to the discrimination against fellow Christians in Muslim-
dominated northern states and therefore see no wrong in political exclusion of the Jasawa
community in Jos. For instance, the ancient city of Kano hosts a significant Christian
population that is denied indigene rights. Non-Hausa there have never been granted a local
government area but ‗were divided and placed at Hausa dominated areas just to ensure that
non-indigenes never dominated any political space in Kano‘ (Ojukwu and Onifade, 2010).
Christians in Kano have been subjected to many forms of discrimination and to reprisal
attacks following violence in Plateau State. Other indigene representatives in Jos demand a
national solution to the problem. They argue that they will not be the first to compromise on
privileges widely enjoyed by other ethnic communities throughout the federation. However,
they know that a national solution would require an amendment to the Nigerian constitution,
which is not on the agenda at the moment.
The emergence of militant fundamentalists in the northern states is yet another significant
regional development. The 2010 Christmas bombings in Jos occurred alongside attacks by
extremist Islamists on churches in the northern town of Maiduguri in Borno State. Borno has
been plagued by the re-emergence of the Boko Haram sect despite a major security
crackdown in July 2009, when hundreds of people were killed during clashes between the
sect and security forces. Christian places of worship have since been targeted. On Christmas
Eve 2010 some 30 alleged Islamists killed a pastor and several other Christians at a church in
Maiduguri. In 2011 Boko Haram remained in the news headlines with several bomb attacks,
including the bombing of the headquarters of the United Nations in Abuja, and assassinations
of politicians in Maiduguri.
III. The religious dimension
Several factors have contributed to the religious dimensions of the confrontation in Jos.
According to Falola 1998, argue that, generally, religion has become entrenched in Nigerian
politics since the mid-1970s, with both politicians and religious leaders urging their followers
to vote along religious lines. National regime change in 1999 lent the religious factor a new
fervour. The birth of the fourth republic was followed by violent conflicts between Muslims
and Christians in northern states, which further eroded trust between the religious
communities in Jos. Specifically, the introduction of the Sharia criminal code in 12 northern
states in 2000 and 2001 provoked major protest from Christians. Many objected to what they
perceived as a progressive Islamisation of public life and discrimination against Christian
minorities in northern cities (Falola, 1998). Disputes over Sharia resulted in deadly inter-
religious violence in the cities of Kano and Kaduna. This development led a substantive
number of Christians to move out from the northern states, such as Kano and Bauchi, into
Plateau State. They brought with them stories of discrimination and atrocities, exacerbating
tensions between religious communities in Jos.
Among Christians, perceptions of the Jos conflict have become interlinked with regional and
national politics. They fear that if Muslims win control over Jos North LGA, they will soon
control Plateau State as a whole. This scenario is portrayed as a first step towards winning
political control over Nigeria and expanding Islamic influence on the African continent.
Several Christian respondents stated: ‗If the Muslims have Jos, they have Nigeria. And if they
have Nigeria, they have Africa‘. Other Christian respondents refused to give credence to
generalizations that portray the local conflict over political participation in Jos North LGA as
a religious confrontation of international dimensions. Still, many Christians—among them
high-level religious leaders, academics, and journalists—invoke the terms ‗jihad‘ and
‗terrorists‘ to explain the current situation. Several Christian representatives and NGOs
understand the struggle over Jos North LGA as a direct extension of the 19th-century Dan
Fodio jihad, which came to a halt on the mountains of Plateau, taking the causes of the
contemporary political crisis in Jos into lesser account.
In response to the 2008 crisis, many Christian leaders linked the Jos conflict to a broader
religious confrontation. They pointed to the destruction of religious rather than political
institutions after election disputes. For example, the former chairman of the Plateau State
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, known for his very
active role in inter-faith peace-building, stated subsequent to the 2008 riot: -
We were taken aback by the turn of events in Jos. We thought it was political, but
from all indications it is not so. We were surprised at the way some of our churches
and property were attacked and some of our faithful and Clergy killed. The attacks
were carefully planned and executed. The questions that bog our minds are why
churches were and Clergy attacked and killed? Why were politicians and political
party offices not attacked if it were a political conflict? Why were the business
premises and property of innocent civilians destroyed? We strongly feel that it was
not political, but pre-meditated act[s] under the guise of elections (This Day, 2008).
The Muslim leadership in Jos vehemently protested the religious framing of the 2008 crisis.
In the name of the Jos North Muslim Ummah, they stated: -
The November 2008 violence in Jos was ethno-political in all ramifications; its
antecedents, the circumstances, the principal actors and the reason so far adduced by
all parties only point to one inevitable conclusion; the struggle by ethnic groups to
capture political power and manipulate for selfish reasons or to keep as vehicle for
attaining socio-political goals. [. . .] We cannot deny the fact that Mosques and
Churches were destroyed in the mayhem, so also Schools, Residential houses, markets
and other places that serve the common needs of all, regardless of faith, were
destroyed (Jos North Muslim Ummah, 2009a).
During the 2011 campaigns for gubernatorial elections, the religious and regional framing of
the Jos conflict surfaced once more. Former Vice-Governor Pauline Tallen had secured
Jasawa support in her race against Governor Jonah Jang. Yet days before the vote, text
messages were sent around in Jos claiming that she was an instrument within the collective
Hausa aspirations to rule Nigeria:
‘To all Muslims: we must reclaim Kaduna, install a Muslim governor in Taraba, plant
a deputy governor in Benue, install a woman as governor (which is Haram but she’s a
necessary weapon of change) in Plateau. We must capture Central Nigeria. Council
of Ulama, Northern Nigeria’ (Owuamanam, 2011).
The Council of Ulama has not confirmed responsibility for the text message. Its origin
remains unclear, but deliberate fabrication is very likely. The voting pattern confirmed that
Tallen‘s cooperation with the Jasawa in Jos damaged her chances among Christian and
indigene voters. Governor Jang won the election by a clear margin.
2.4 Causes of Religious and Ethnic Politics
As Last 2007 argue that, for both Islamic and Christian organisations in northern Nigeria, Jos
is a centre point for proselytisation and it has proved to be a fertile ground for the
establishment and development of new religious movements and ideas. This is partly because
Jos is a relatively new city – only about one hundred years old – without the long established
traditions and religious orthodoxies in old northern cities like Kano and Zaria. This makes it
attractive for Muslim reformers, who have been able to establish themselves more easily in
Jos than elsewhere. The largest Islamic reform movement in Nigeria (with a presence in
contiguous countries in West Africa too) is Izala: Jama’atu Izalat al-Bid’a wa Iqamat al-
Sunna (the Association for Suppressing Innovations and Restoring the Sunna). Izala was
started in Jos in 1978 and is considered Salafist, promoting what it asserts is a more orthodox,
scriptural Islam, emphasising the Sunna and denouncing the supposedly heterodox practices
of the Sufis (Loimeier, 1997; Kane, 2003).
Jos has also been conducive for Christian missions, from the European missionaries who
established their presence with the founding of the town, to Nigerian and foreign evangelists
in the present. The position of Jos as a bastion for Christianity in the north is enhanced by its
location on the cusp of the core north while being indisputably part of the middle-belt.
Initially Jos was the base for the evangelisation of Plateau peoples but it then became the
most important missionary centre for all of northern Nigeria, a base from which
evangelisation was organised into areas beyond the Plateau, among the heterogeneous non-
Muslim populations of central Nigeria who until the 1930s were unconverted to either of the
world religions and difficult to access, physically and socially. Also with its large southern
population, Jos became more orientated towards Christianity, although Muslims have always
had a strong presence in the city. Religious competition, fundamentalism, and assertiveness
have increased in Nigeria and violence occurred elsewhere in the north through the 1980s and
1990s, but large scale violence in Jos still did not seem inevitable. The culture of the city was
more cosmopolitan, with tolerance and even friendly relations between the two religious
groups. This situation has now been undermined.
As Kane (2003) argues, there has been a fragmentation of religious authority in Nigeria. The
multiplicity of movements among both Muslims and Christians have had to formulate their
own responses to insecurity and conflict, so processes of mobilisation can be relatively
decentralised. Religious reform movements began around the time of an upsurge in
communal politics more generally, in the late 1970s. Born-again Christians have at times
been strident in their rhetoric against Muslims, and even critical of the principles of
democracy (Marshall, 1995, 2009). The same is true of some of the Islamic movements in
attitudes towards Christians and the secular state, although the disputes among Muslims
themselves have also been intense (Loimeier, 1997; Falola, 1998; Kane, 2003). The
intensification of ethnic and religious politics coincided with growing socio-economic crisis
in Nigeria, prevalent through the 1980s with falling oil revenues and the impact of a
disastrous Structural Adjustment Programme, implemented by Babangida‘s military regime
from 1986. As communal politics became more acute, social and political exclusion on the
basis of ethnicity and religion increased. This does not explain why violence occurred on
such a large scale, but discrimination and bias in government, and the narrow ethnic and
religious politics among both Christians and Muslims increased tension and polarisation
along communal lines. In addition, social problems at different levels of society – including
high levels of group inequality and youth unemployment – have increased the propensity for
The dominant discourses in the conflicts refer to political exclusion on the basis of ethnicity
and religion, on the Muslim side, and fears of religious and cultural domination, among
Plateau Christians. There are variations across Plateau State in the way these themes are
articulated, but the issues are similar. There is much political propaganda, inciting religious
or cultural fears – such as of a Muslim conspiracy to Islamise Nigeria – that are not
necessarily grounded in reality. In most cases the state is a central reference point. A key
element of the dispute is over which groups are represented in government and have access to
the state, with much controversy over how state and local governments exercise power. For
these reasons the conflicts need to be placed in the context of the local political economy.
Sometimes the behaviour of actors within the political and economic spheres is influenced by
religious beliefs and ethnic patronage and clientelism, but people also act according to
political and economic expediency. Government decision-making and patronage tends to
benefit communities with representatives in positions of political power more than it does
communities who are excluded. In fact, government decisions may be made to the detriment
of those who do not have political power, particularly where politics is underpinned by ethnic
ideologies – where politics is ethnically exclusive rather than inclusive.
According to Suberu 2001, suggested that, among Nigerian elites there is a big financial
incentive for gaining political positions and there are instrumental reasons for ethnic
mobilisation, which is even used to create new political constituencies. Nigeria is an oil-
based, rentier state. Money is transferred monthly to each of the 36 states and 774 local
governments in the federation. This transfer, the federal revenue allocation, goes from the
central government into a separate account for each state and LGA. A formula is used to
calculate the size of the transfer to each unit in the federation, based on population size and
the derivation principle (oil-producing states receive a higher share than non-oil producing
states). Oil revenues comprise more than 90 per cent of Nigeria‘s internal income and its
diversion by political elites allows that class to sustain itself in power.
This lucrative arrangement generates demand for new administrative units in Nigeria,
although other factors, such as minority concerns, are also important (Suberu, 2001). The
creation of new states and local government areas is often demanded on an ethnic basis, with
groups making territorial claims by arguing they have a historical attachment to a particular
area. This tendency has greatly exacerbated indigeneity politics, as groups compete for the
control of states, local governments, and even wards, on account of the financial benefits and
status this will bring to them. Statism is exacerbated by the dependence on petroleum export
revenues, which have undermined and led to the neglect of other economic sectors – to quote
Rotimi Suberu (1998), the ‗economic centrality of the Nigerian state derives significantly
from the underdevelopment of the country‘s economy‘.
2.5 The Causes of Ethno-Religious conflicts in Jos Can be Classified into two major
i. Remote Causes of ethno-religious crises
The crises on the Jos Plateau are first and foremost a struggle over land. Majority of Plateau
State indigenes are Christians tied to the land as peasant farmers or workers in the civil
service, while the mainly Muslim minorities are Hausa dry-season farmers and cattle raring
Fulani, with the Igbo, Urhobo, Yoruba and Hausa dominating the business life of the
metropolis. Some indigenes, particularly from the Southern Senatorial district are also cattle
herders. The land thus remains an important emotive factor to a region that is predominantly
inhabited by peasant farmers (frustrated over lack of fertilizers) and cattle herders, who
usually are mutually conflict prone. Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) brought about
the retirement and retrenchment of many public servants, semi or low educated-petty
company workers and military personnel (most who actively participated in the civil war)
occasioning their return to the farmlands thereby exerting great pressure on land resources
Suddenly, land which used to be available to those who used or needed it became a prized
possession. Both the host communities and settlers alike began to rationalise their inability to
acquire and possess land to the presence of the other group, thereby undermining the
imperative of their co-existence and the basis of consensus and confidence building. These
factors probably account for the preponderance of land disputes as an index in the perennial
communal conflict profile of the Middle-Belt.
Land is central to survival, hence conflict very often occur over access to pastoral and arable
land. Differences in ethnic nationality and religion between Plateau ethnic groups and the
Hausa-Fulani only serve to compound these economic problems. The collapse of the once
thriving tin mining industry in the state and the arrival of petro-dollars gave birth to attendant
dislocation and job losses. This unfortunately coincided with period of Shari‘ah expansion in
the northern states.
The second cause of the Jos Plateau crises is centred over the politics of participation in
government by both ―indigenes‖ and ―settlers‖. Issues here include the creation of the Jos
South LG out of Jos North by the military administration of Babangida, along religious lines,
with the former purportedly for Christians and the latter for Hausa-Fulani Muslims.
Moreover, appointments in Plateau State which is predominantly Christian during the long
military (mis)rule was along religious lines, with the Muslim minority sometimes having
more portfolios than Christians. With the return to multi-party democracy, however, the
Hausa-Fulani Muslims were left out in the cold, since they lacked the numerical strength to
successfully back their candidates. This coupled with the issue of ethnicity coalesce to cause
Muslim Hausa-Fulani minority, who used to be in the centre of political activities to feel that
they are losing control. The Christians were eager to exercise their voting right to wrestle
political control from the Hausa-Fulani Muslims whom they regard as ―settlers‖. In 1999, no
Hausa-Fulani Muslim was voted to either to the Senate or the National House of Assembly
and only one was voted to the Plateau State of Assembly.
This heightened the indigene-ship, citizenship and settler-ship syndrome in the area. The
recurrent problem constituted by the indigene/settler syndrome in Jos, mostly between the
Hausa-Fulani self styled Jasawa and the traditional natives of Jos town (the Berom, Anaguta
and Afisare) constitute a major factor for the Jos crises.
The social dimension is also very revealing, since despite their many years in Jos, the Hausa-
Fulani Muslim community failed to integrate fully into the Jos Plateau society. The
community being Muslim does not tolerate marriage between their daughters and Christian
but they do marry Christian girls. Most Jos Plateau Christian communities detest this lopsided
mode of social interaction. This has given birth to what the Christians refer to as Hausa-
Fulani raini ‗culture of belittling‘ and arrogance since they look down with open contempt
and lack of respect upon their host community, using such intemperate language and
stereotypes as arna, infidels, Sarkin arna, the chief of infidels, kafirai (kafir) to describe
them. They exhibit total disregard for the culture, religion and traditional institutions of their
host communities. This is a fundamental reason that has birthed deep seated bitterness, with
far reaching social consequences, that has continued to fan conflict on the Jos Plateau. This
has severely breached the laws of communal harmony and interaction.
Indeed the source of tension in the Jos settler/indigene relationship also stems from the
Hausa-Fulani claim over the ownership of Jos, the chieftaincy stool and other tenuous claims
to political offices. This is what has pitted Muslim Hausa-Fulani against such predominant
Christian indigenous ethnic groups as the Berom, Afisare and the Anaguta on one hand and
other settlers like the Yoruba, Urhobo, and Igbo on the other. Issues such as lopsided/partisan
reporting of the crisis by both local and foreign media, cow theft or cattle rustling and
religious affiliation only served as gasoline added to flames that are consuming dry grass in
harmattan season. It should be noted that BBC Hausa Service, DW Hausa and VOA Hausa
units covering of the Jos Plateau crises was biased because the Hausa speakers working for
these media outfits are mostly Hausa Muslims.
ii. Immediate Causes of ethno-religious crises
The immediate causes of the September 2001 ethno-religious crises in Jos are three, namely,
struggle over political appointments, blockage of street for the purposes of praying, eslewhere
referred to by this author as street praying, and the expansion of Shari’ah laws that
introduced rather severe punishments for hadd crimes in twelve northern states of Nigeria.
The Jos April 12
1994 conflicts between the Hausa-Fulani Muslims and Anaguta, Afizare
(Izere) and Berom centred on the appointment of Alhaji Aminu Mato, a Hausa-Fulani as Jos
North LG Chairman of the Caretaker Committee by the military. When Alhaji Muktar a
Hausa-Fulani again became coordinator of the Federal Government initiated Poverty
Alleviation Programme (NAPEP) in 2001, tensions resume immediately between along the
old lines of ethnic and religious divide. Thus, contestations over economic and political space
constitute one of the immediate causes of conflicts in Jos in September 2001.
Another cause of the crisis is street praying, that is the blocking of a major street for the
purposes of religious worship or rituals. Some Muslim zealots boldly beat up Miss Rhoda
Haruna Nyam, a young Christian lady ostensibly because she was walking on a major street,
the only access to her home, while the street was ‗closed‘ for the Juma‘at prayers.15
According to Rhoda, on 7th September, 2001, by 1.45 pm while she was going back to her
work place from break at home, she was accosted and beaten up by some Muslim youth for
passing through a footpath near a mosque, which is beside her home. When she ran home for
safety, the youths followed her in a large number and beat up her father. This free for all fight
later spread to some parts of Jos town. The expansion of Shari‘ah in twelve northern states
forced a great deal of Christians to flee from the core north. Most of them sought for and
found refuge in Jos, which they considered a safe haven. Likewise, a number of liberal
Muslims fleeing from a more strict form of Islam sought refuge in Jos. However, the
remnants of the followers of Maitatsine, a Muslim fundamentalist, whose followers caused
mayhem across the northern Muslim states of Nigeria from 1980 to the 1990s have been
living in the Angwan Rogo and Kona Shagari area of Jos for many years. These militant
elements also wanted Shari’ah law imposed in Plateau State. Naturally, fleeing Christians felt
they should not give and inch to Muslims in a ―Christian state‖. So,
The September 7, 2001 crisis in Jos is commonly believed to be a spill out of the Shari’ah
fervour [sic]. As the Shari’ah law was adopted in surrounding state in domino-fashion,
religious passion became inflamed in Plateau State. The President’s complacency in the
face of the grievous infringement of Nigeria’s secularity not only emboldened some
Muslims to demonstrate defiance for constituted authorities elsewhere but encouraged
them to nurse particularistic religious sentiments for the Shari’ah even in areas where
they constituted a minority population of settlers.
The ineptitude of government in dealing with the Zamfara declaration of State religion sent
the wrong signals across the nation. Obasanjo‘s position was that being a political Shari‘ah,
given time it will fizzle out and disappear in thin air.
2.6 Influence of resource control on Jos ethno-religious conflict
The Jos Plateau attracted pastoralists in the nineteenth century when its human population
was relatively sparse. The discovery of tin and the subsequent growth of Jos, inevitably
brought a major expansion of the farming population, and all but very marginal land was
brought into cultivation. Colonial officials were already noting instances of farmer-grazier
conflict on the Plateau as early as the 1940s (Davies, 1946), while Awogbade (1983)
documented similar problems in the 1970s. During the 1980s, some Fulbe from the Plateau
moved permanently into the lowlands, especially into the forested region along the Benue,
where farming populations are still sparse. Nonetheless, the low-disease environment and
wide grasslands of the Plateau were too attractive to pastoralists and many began to settle and
integrate with local communities. While most indigenous Plateau populations depended on
upland rain fed cultivation, and the principal cereal crops were sorghum and millet, this
provided a significant basis for interaction between the two groups. The farmers kept few
cattle (although populations of the indigenous muturu, a humpless longhorn were probably
higher than today) and the Fulbe could graze their cattle on the crop residues, with the
farmers benefiting from the manure. However, once dry-season gardening began to take off,
the river edges that had provided lush grazing were increasingly populated by farms.
Moreover, the tubers and vegetables mainly grown there did not provide attractive residues
for cattle and the farmers increasingly preferred fertiliser. At the same time, the ADP system
encouraged a switch to maize while the growth of potato cultivation made even crop residues
in upland areas unsuitable for cattle.
These agronomic changes did not take place without problems; pastoralists came to river-
banks previously covered in grass to find tomatoes. Young men herded their cattle between
upland cereal fields and the cattle strayed into the crops. However, these types of conflicts
were usually settled informally and the types of violent clashes characteristic of some other
northern states were not characteristic of Plateau. However, from 2001 onwards the situation
has changed dramatically in character, with urban conflicts being replayed in rural areas with
unattractive consequences for all sides. On the 8th of September, 2001, serious religious
conflict broke out in Jos, and riots between Christians and Muslims led to substantial loss of
life and property. Once the news filtered through to rural areas, there was significant pressure
for the indigenous farming populations to attack the resident Fulbe pastoralists. This occurred
at several sites around Jos, notably Miango, Vom and Riyom, leading to numbers of deaths,
burnings of houses and property and theft of stock. Elsewhere in rural communities,
emissaries were sent to urge these attacks, but fortunately more pacific counsels prevailed
and the peace was kept. Nonetheless, many pastoralists were forced to flee Plateau State and
reached Bauchi, which has a reputation for being more sympathetic to Muslims. The
governor offered to open up Forest Reserves and it is there that many of the refugees are now
settled; few have any intention of returning to Plateau State. In June 2003, some herds were
encountered making their way on to the Plateau on an experimental basis; but relations
remain very tense.
One of the other bases for interchange between Fulbe and farmers was the hiring of boys to
herd cattle. Most Fulbe herds are too large to be herded by the family labour alone, and
indeed many Fulbe household heads noted that their sons would rather hang around in towns
than herd cattle, as a result of education. But it was common for many of the larger tribes to
send their sons herding with the Fulbe; usually they would be paid with a one- or two-year
old bull after one year or a heifer after two years. Such animals have become the basis for
small village herds now kept by many indigenous groups. However, since the crisis, a
breakdown of trust has meant that many of the larger groups, such as the Irigwe and the
Berom have withdrawn their children and many other groups are now more sceptical.
A major consequence of the crisis has been that a number of key stock routes across the Jos
Plateau, especially those passing near Miango, Riyom and Vom are now permanently
blocked and are unlikely to reopen in the near future.
There has been a response to this, albeit hard to interpret. In October 2002, a series of attacks
by well-armed groups on villages in the Jos area began and continued through into 2003 with
the Berom people of Rim and Bachit the principal victims. The attackers are widely to
believe to be mercenaries, coming either from Niger or further north in Nigeria and their goal
seems to be creation of mayhem rather than theft. It is widely believed that this is revenge
exacted by the Fulbe for the earlier killings, but this seems unlikely. More probable is that
elite northern interests are taking advantage of the situation to foment disorder. The
consequence has been to further sow distrust in rural areas but also to give the resident
farming populations a powerful rationale for permanently taking over valuable Fulbe
farmland along rivers.
If this were not enough, at the other end of the state, an even more serious outbreak of
hostilities has turned the region into a virtual no-go area.
The most striking feature of this rural strife is the absence of any effective response from
government. After a conflict occurs, police and army roadblocks are set up for a week or so,
but then are removed once there is no immediate fighting. Refugees are settled in rural areas
or have moved to towns such as Langtang and Jos to stay with relatives. Insecurity has
discouraged farming in many areas and severe food shortages are beginning to be felt,
especially in the southeast.
These episodes illustrate the problems in dealing with community conflict. What are
originally conflicts for resources are being transformed through religious affiliation; the
original issue may not have been the Fulbe, but they have been drawn in. The consequence of
government failure to restrain expanding private ownership and trade in modern weapons is
now highly apparent. They also show that the churches have now become wealthy and are no
longer willing to remain passive. They are highly organised and willing to fund ethnic
agendas and confront armed attacks. This is unlikely to provide fertile ground for the LDPs
proposed by Fadama II.
The study examines the ethnicity and religious instability in Nigeria, a case study of
Jos plateau state. This chapter describes the procedures, techniques and strategies
employed in the study. The method to be used is discussed under the following
Sample and sampling techniques
Validity of the instrument;
Reliability of the instrument;
Administration of instrument;
Procedure for data collection
Method of data analysis
3.2 Research Design
The design of the study is a descriptive survey aimed at assessing the influence of
ethnicity and religious instability on conflict in jos plateau state, by examining the
opinions of political leaders, religious leaders, religious bodies, traditional rulers,
members of the communities, and other stake holders. Descriptive survey research
design according to Ali (1996) is concerned with describing events as they are
without any manipulation of what is being observed while in Nwan‘s words (2005)
survey research is one in which a group of people or items is studied by collecting and
analyzing data from only few people or items (sample) considered to be representative
of the entire group, and the finding from the sample is expected to be generalized to
the entire population. Therefore, this study‘s adoption of descriptive survey research
design is justified.
3.3 Population of the Study
The population for this study will comprise all the five local government areas the worst
heats by the conflict, which comprising Jos north, Jos east, Jos south, langtang north, and
langtang south with the total of 1,068,563, with respondent both Muslim and Christian. The
population is suitable for this study in that it is gender sensitive and is characterized by both
subjects (Muslim and Christian) equally selected that can easily be studied with the use of
the proposed research instruments.
Table 1: data showing the population of each of the five local governments in Jos
Resources Population Sample
1 Jos north Trading and commerce 429,300 80
2 Jos east Coffee, farm product, and
3 Jos south Fertile land, mining ponds
4 Langtang north Fertile land and farm land 140,643 80
Fertile land and farm land 106,305 80
Total 1,068,563 400
Source: Federal Government of Nigeria, 2006 National Census.
3.4 Sample size
The sample will comprise of 400 respondents from the selected local government areas
from Jos plateau state. The researcher will obtain this sample size form the target
population of 1,068563 with the aid of Slovene formula of: -
n= Sample size
N = sampled population and
e = Level of significance of 0.05
3.5 Sampling procedure
The researcher will use stratified random and purposive sampling techniques to
collect data (select sample) form various local government areas of the survey
population according to glass and Hopkins in Muddah (2006) stratified random
sampling ensures that all members of the population have equal chances of being
selected. First the plateau state conflict were stratified in to five (5) local government
areas form which the required sample of respondent will be selected though stratified
random sampling method to ensure that each stratum (local government areas) is
equally represented white purposive sampling will be used to select the required form
the sampled from the population.
3.6 Research Instrument
The research instrument for this study is a researchers developed questionnaires titled:
ethnicity and religious conflict questionnaire (ERIQ). The items used in the
questionnaires were obtained from literature.
The questionnaire consists of 20 items divided into four sections based on types of
ethno-religious conflict factors effecting Jos plateau state which deals with the views
of the respondents on the influence of these ethno-religious conflict factors. The
questionnaire was structured on a closed ended format on YES or NO responses.
3.7 Validation of the Instrument
The instrument will be validated by three experts in the field of conflict management,
statistics and the research supervisor and senior executive members of the local
government areas selected in Jos plateau state. They will review the items in terms of
theirs clarity, relevance, contents coverage and appropriateness; their suggestions will
then be incorporated in to the final version of the instrument for use in this study.
Gazali (1993) called this ‗Logical Reasoning and personal judgment of specialist‘
3.8 Reliability of the Instrument
To test the reliability of the instrument, a pilot study will be conducted in five local
government areas selected from plateau state and 40 subjects or sample selected
consisting of 5 local government area and 10 politicians, religious leaders and
followers. Split half reliability co-efficient will be determined by correlating the
scores of the odd items against even number items Anatasi (1976) in Sadiq (1991).
After obtaining the 2 scores for each respondent, they will then be correlated using the
person product-moment correlation methods.
To get the consistency of the total test, it will be necessary to correct the split half test
correlation to the expected full – length value. This will be done by applying the
Speaman Brown prophecy formula, which is: -
Where r1 = Reliability of whole test
r = Correlation co-efficient of the split test and
2 = Doubling factors
If for example the correlation co-efficient of the spit half test
r = 0. 7
The above was to give unbiased reliability indices for the full length test.
3.9 Procedure for Data Collection
A letter of introduction will be obtained from the researcher‘s department to the local
government areas, political organizations, and religious bodies in Jos plateau State.
The researcher having secured permission from the local government areas authorities
will visit the selected bodies. The researcher and one research assistants selected in
each organisation will administer the questionnaire in the following ways.
The procedure for the administration of questionnaire will be done as follows:
Stage i: the researcher and the research assistant selected in each organisation with
the help of the politicians, religious leaders and followers, and research assistants will
administer the questionnaire to the respondents using simple random sampling
without replacement. On the whole, four hundred (400) questionnaires will be
Stage ii: after an interval of one hour the researchers and research assistant will go
round to collect the completed questionnaire. Only the correctly filled or completed
questionnaire will be used for data analysis.
Stage iii: completed questionnaires will be collected on the sport to ensure good
return and the total number collected back will be the figure to the used for the
purpose of data analysis.
3.10 Method of data Analysis
The completed questionnaires are gathered, the frequency of respondents to each of
the 20 items of the questionnaire will be compiled. The descriptive statistics of
frequency counts, and percentages, will be used to describe data from respondents and
to answer the research questions, while inferential statistics of chi-square (X2
will be used in testing and analyzing the null hypotheses at 0.05 alpha levels.
Firstly, the researcher will make self identification to the respondents without creating room
misrepresentation. The respondents will be provided with the researchers, information
through his identity card and covering letter from the department of social sciences for further
Secondly, the respondents will also be informed about the title this of the research, that is an
informed consent and participation of respondents. The procedure to be used and the
expected benefits to the participants and the society will also be disclosed to them.
Thirdly, the respondents will be given enough information about the study and opportunity
to ask questions and have them answered. They will voluntarily participate in giving
information and no coercion or promises of benefits as a result of participation will be
Fourthly, anonymity is another ethical consideration that the study will take into
consideration. In this respondents will not provide their names and other identifications that
will give clues of knowing the person who has provided the information, this will ensure
that the privacy and security of respondents are grantee. Dresser (1998) stated that the
administrative burden of ethical reviews and procedures is balanced by the protection of