Violence in Jos goes deeper than just religion…

in Urban (In)formality by

So, a lot of the time when people think of Nigeria, I there seem to be two things that come to mind: 1) Corruption and 2) Violence, whether it is religious-based, ethnic-based, or based in oil tensions.

Recently, there have been a number of violent flare-ups between Muslim and Christian groups in Jos, Nigeria, what’s traditionally been a very peaceful city in the country’s northern region. Anyway, so there have been some outbreaks of violence, and many times when it gets reported in the news, people talk about it in the context of “ethnic-based violence” or “religious tensions” or the like. However, I’d argue that things go much deeper than that, and to devise any sort of sustainable solution, one needs to get at the root causes or conflicts.

That said, the quote of the day, from Ignatius Kaigama, Roman Catholic archbishop of Jos, Nigeria:
“[W]e should dig deeper than what appears on the surface. There are certainly social, economic, political factors responsible for this recurring crisis which we have never got at. Unless we do so, there will always be recurring violence in Jos and Plateau [state].”
Today from NPR:

“The central Nigerian city of Jos is at the crossroads of the country’s Muslim-dominated north and the mainly Christian and animist south. In recent months, renewed clashes between Muslim and Christian communities there have left hundreds dead.

Nigerian authorities are under mounting pressure to prosecute those behind the unrest. Nighttime curfews and an increased military and police presence are maintaining order — for now.

But observers warn that while religion may be the fault line for a decade of periodic fighting, underlying grievances in Jos go much deeper. The area is plagued by poverty, joblessness and fierce competition over land and scarce resources.”

I can’t help but think “Duh!” as I read this article, but I’m glad that someone is saying it. Things are almost never just as simple as religious divisions, but usually go toward unequal shares over resources, exploitation, unemployment, and basically, unequal opportunities.

Read the full article “Roots Of Central Nigeria Violence Deeper Than Faith” from NPR