Religion! A Curse or a Blessing for National integration and Development in Nigeria: Boko Haram in Perspective
The principal duty of any government is the protection of its citizens. But it has become a herculean task for Nigerian government to protect the lives and properties of her citizen because of religious and ethnic violence orchestrated by the activities of Boko Haram which has variously been attributed to the Islamic religion. Bombing and killing of lives and the destruction of properties have become a very regular and frequent occurrence in Nigeria today. A lot of attacks have been made by these faceless terrorists in the country from churches, mosque, markets, schools and barracks killing well over 10,000 innocent and helpless citizens. This comparative study was therefore carried out to investigate if the two major religions in the country were actually responsible for the activities of Boko Haram. But our investigation and finding using Christianity and Islam has clearly shown that Boko Haram is not an activity of religion but rather a political activity on a mission to destroy the teaching of Allah and God who preaches peace and love. Granted that the two religions under discourse do not teach violence as a virtue to its adherents, why has Boko Haram been traced to Moslem? How can this violence perpetrated by Boko Haram work for national unity, integration and national development. This study therefore used a well structured questionnaire for data collection amongst both Christians and Moslems located within Adamawa, Kano, Kaduna and Bauchi states where the activities of Boko Haram is most pronounced in recent times. Using simple percentage to analyze respondents view, it was discovered that religion was not the reason behind Boko Haram; rather Boko Haram came for political reason as a result of the dissatisfaction in power shift among some disgruntled northern political gladiators who desperately wanted power at all cost not minding what it cost. It was also conspicuously discovered that the two major religions in Nigeria can collectively work together for national integration and development in the absence of Boko Haram. Recommendations were then made on how to tackle the insecurity situation in Nigeria like value reorientation, Nigerian school curriculum overhauling, employment creation and generation and poverty reduction amongst others.
Keywords: Boko Haram, violence, national insecurity, national integration and development.
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