Department of Religion and African Culture, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria Email:

Published: 16 May 2019 Copyright © Awoniyi.

Cite this article: Awoniyi, S. (2019). Moral Reflections on Religion and Security Issues in Nigerian Society. International Journal of Liberal Arts and Social Science, 7(4), 71-89.

Abstract Existing studies have unfolded gruesome accounts of horrors and security challenges emanating from religious violence and conflict in God’s name. ‘Various interventions were put in place to manifest peaceful co-existence among various religious adherents; but it is observed that all the lofty efforts made, have, however, achieved marginal success. Besides, the current situation in the country regarding bomb blast and act of terrorism that suddenly foisted on the people of Nigeria sends a fresh signal that requires more scholarly attention on the issue of religion on how to ensure security of lives and property. The main thrust of this work is to investigate and examine the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism and its ethical implications on the society. Also, the work aims at highlighting the nature, structure, challenges and inimical atmosphere occasion by religious fundamentalist sects. The task facing Nigerians and the path towards resolving the dilemma are equally explicated. Data were obtained through secondary sources with descriptive survey method hinges on socio-ethical and historical approaches. This paper scrutinizes the effect of social disorganizations occasioned by religious fundamentalism; and explores potential remedies through recommendations.

Keywords: Moral reflection, Religion, Security, Development, Nigeria.

Introduction Nkanah observes that Nigeria is living between wars. Also, he corroborates this assertion with another report on the failed states index that categorise Nigeria with the nations that are either just coming out of civil war or countries torn apart by sectarian violence such as: Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Democratic African Republic, Afghanistan, Iraq, Coted’lvoire, Guinea, Pakistan and Yemen . Furthermore, he adds that Nigeria has even occupied an unenviable position in the ranking of this organization since 2005. According to Nkanah, he remarks that in the year 2005, Nigeria was ranked to be 54th; in 2006, 22nd; in 2007, 17th; in 2008, 18th; and in 2009, 15th. . The World Bank Reports (2006 and 2007) similarly rank Nigeria to be among fifteen war-torn and fragile states’ in the world . The report has it that Nigeria is in the same league with countries such as: Burundi; Congo, Guinea Bissau, Papua, New Guinea, Sudan, Haiti, Somalia and Zimbabwe. The American Bipartisan Centre equally lists Nigeria among the world`s fragile states as reported on May 12, 2011. Nigeria is now fighting on many fronts such as religious war, corruption, poverty, militancy, exploitation, ethnicity, communal clashes, and spiritual insensitivity. People live everyday of their lives in fear and uncertainty of bomb blast, armed robbery and hunger. The newspapers, radio and television often give frightening reports of the happenings across the Country which create a state of un-easiness. For instance, the people hear and read reports that suicide bomber blasted the United Nations Building in Abuja and killed twenty three people; attack on Saint Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla town, near Abuja, Killing forty two worshippers; eight worshippers were killed in a shooting attack on a Church in Yola; while seventeen Christian mourners in the town of Mubi in Adamawa State were shot dead; and that president Goodluck Jonathan imposes a state of emergency on fifteen local government areas in the Northern part of Nigeria. There is no doubt that the great world make religions work for the establishment of peace within a nation, among the nations and in individuals. The three major religions in Nigeria emphasis that human beings should seek, pursue, achieve, attain and maintain peace and total well-being. However, the ideal is not always achieved by religions for some peculiar reasons in Nigeria. Idowu’s explanation reveals here that: Religion themselves have more often than not been disloyal to that which is basic purpose of their existence. Each advocates peace, but often selfishly. Each religion violates peace by internal divisions over non-essentials; religion quarrels with religion in consequence of perverted particularity often dictated by non-religious motives. Perhaps the conflict of good with good is more disruptive to peace than the conflict of good with evil. Does it mean then that the first impediment to peace is religion? Religion itself in essence is not bad, rather it is religion in practice, that is, adherents that brought untold woes to humanity. Hence man’s failure in fulfilling the basic tenets of his faith should not be blamed on the religion but on man. The religio-cultural, socio-economic, secularization and political conditions of the nation are other important factors that can contribute to religious conflicts. Dopamu’s observation equally informs that a person who is deprived of the comforts of life will not have peaceful environment, which is essential for the achievements of absolute peace . In collaboration to this, Sinha unravels the fact that poverty, disease and ignorance can equally inhibit peace and security of the country; and that it is not possible for a person in hunger to observe virtuous principles . The aim of this paper is to examine the concept religious fundamentalism from ethical perspective, underline the ethical implications and suggest possible way-out of this dilemma. Explication of concepts Ethics: Ethics is a systematic study of human actions and intentions in order to determine their goodness or evil, rightness or wrongness, correctness and incorrectness, with the attention given to how such course of actions or conducts being evaluated affects the person who performed the action or the person at which it is directed. Human actions in this respect connote deeds, efforts, endeavours, enterprises, exploits, undertakings and activities of a person or group of persons performed at a given time. In order to avoid a state of anarchy, and maintain a well-ordered society worthy of living, moral standards are always set to guide the citizenry. These are guides of human conducts indicating certain ways that should be followed and adopted. In contemporary Nigerian society, there are moral standards emanating from various perspectives in terms of cultural presuppositions, through legal requirements, professional conducts, self-imposed design standards, societal settings and within the ambit of religious tenets. It implies that Nigerian people desire peace and harmony, adequate social welfare, development and well-being. However, it is unfortunate that these are lacking. Then, it appeals to reason to quest for peace and social security. The concept ethical perspectives is used to investigate, examine and evaluate the root causes of religious fundamentalism, ethical implications of the actions and other positive or negative social religious influences attached to the subject. Fundamentalism: The word fundamentalism is a key term which we cannot avoid its usage in this paper. The word is from Latin word fundamentum meaning foundation, and fundare means to found. The concept fundamentalism refers to strict adherents to traditional orthodox tenets such as the literal inerrancy of scripture held to be fundamental to one’s religion. The paper utilizes the term fundamentalism along these major characteristics in Nigeria, viz: the perception of a challenge to an accepted authority; the decision that there can be no compromise with the perceived challenge; re-affirmation of the ultimacy of the challenged authority; standing in opposition to those who challenged; and the use of political means in order to further their interest. The above expressions apply to both Christian and Islamic fundamentalists in Nigeria because they value their scriptures most to the extent that proclaim certainties and affirm universal timeless moralities. Fanaticism: The word “fanaticism” is derived from the Latin adjective fanaticus meaning pertaining to a temple inspired by a divinity. Fanaticism means wild and excessive religious enthusiasm. Therefore, in this context it refers to a condition of being or supposing oneself to be possessed the tendency to indulge in wild extravagant notions in religious matters. Also, it means excessive enthusiasm, frenzy, eagerness and keenness in any pursuit. More importantly, a religious fanatic is one who is inspired by a divinity or supposed himself to be inspired by a divinity or indulges in unreasoning religious claims, enthusiasms concerning any matter, religious or not. Therefore, we are inclined to use the term fanaticism or a fanatic pertaining to extravagant, unreasoning, excessive keenness in the pursuit of religious claims. Conflict: Etymologically, the concept conflict derives from the Latin confligere, conflictum meaning to engage or to contend. Literally, conflict presupposes the existence of some interest for which different individuals or groups enter into a contest or duel . The term conflict can be used to express arguments, tensions and violent struggle that occur both within and between states. For Bakut the term denotes a pursuit of incompatible goals or interests by different groups or individuals. This implies that conflict is often seen as a threat to peace and depicted as if it is totally negative. However, it depends on how it is handled it can be either constructive or destructive. This is because, the word conflict can be used to explore different solutions to a problem and as well stimulate creativity by bringing emotive and non-rational arguments into the open, while deconstructing long-standing tension . Faleti (2006) argues that conflicts are used mainly to inflict injuries, neutralize or subvert the aspirations of opponents. These destructive tendencies can hinder development in the society, encourage unfriendly behaviour, and enhance egocentricity. Furthermore, he opines that the term conflict is a fluid and elastic concept which can be twisted into different shapes. Obviously, theories abound as to the meaning, causes and impacts of conflict. However, conflict in this paper precisely is designated as armed and as well seen from negative perspective except otherwise stated. Also, it is the resort to the use of force and armed struggle in the pursuit of incompatible and particular interest and goals. Terrorism: In a related development, the term terror simply means great fear, something or someone that causes great fear. MacDonald states that the world terror comes from the Latin verb terrere meaning to frighten, cause to tremble . Although, there are various things that can generate terror in human beings apart from the actions of man such as death, natural catastrophes, accidents and magical processes. Here, terrorism is used as systematic violence armed at undermining the structure of authority through creating fear, intimidation, havoc, destruction of lives and property in the society. Development: Ogugua observes that the concept development has always been in the ear of every person, group, or nation that wants to develop because development is a datum of life; so it is a function of life. The truth is that this term is elusive, and this has made it difficult for scholars to agree on a particular definition. This term has no univocal definition. In part some people have expressed confused idea of development, for logically speaking a part cannot make the whole. Todaro in his own perceptive states that development involves the reorganization and reorientation of entire economic and social systems. For Onyibor , he explains that development involves the ascent of man, the maturation, growth and creativity of all human potential achieved at the lowest possible cost in sacrificed values and human suffering.. Development is a dialectical phenomenon in which the individual and society interact with their physical, biological and inter-human environments transforming them for their own benefit and that of humanity at large and being transformed in the process . Development is a must in life and it is an unavoidable datum of life because life itself consists of the ability to discharge force. Development can be conceptualized as an activity, a process of actualization of potentials or deeds. Thus development as an action of being capable of self movement, thought and decisions must have a philosophy to organize the process. Iroegbu sheds more lights on the conceptualization inter alia that development is the progressive unfolding of the inner potentialities of a given reality. It is to de-envelop, that is, to bring out to light existential, functional and epistemic, what was enveloped, folded or hidden. As it applies to a people, development is the integration of the various givens: natural, physical, acquired and human, of a people towards the full working out, permanently and cumulatively, of their being as persons, of their community and of their real productivity. In this context, the word development is a process whereby thoughts, ideas and efforts are integrated and made whole for the improvement of persons, groups and/ or the system. The Causes of Religious Fundamentalism Bruce submits that the existence of a group who feel threatened by secularization and modernization is not sufficient in itself to create a fundamentalist reaction. In other words, a number of other factors are also important to be mentioned here. Ideological cohesion is a major factor that cannot be neglected because ideological cohesion makes it easier to mobilize people and claim collegians in some religions. Religions like Islam and Christianity have more potential for developing fundamentalist groups than others. For example, unlike Islam or Christianity, Hinduism is a diverse religion with many gods and no central sacred text. This makes it more difficult to create a movement claiming to express the true nature of the religion. Fundamentalist beliefs tend to be stronger where a group believers have a common external enemy. Therefore, ideological cohesion is not just a property of religious belief; it can develop where a group is united through hostility to a common enemy. Thus, Hinduism started to develop some degree of unity when Hindus began to unite in hostility to rule by the British Raj. Similarly, many Islamic fundamentalist groups are united in hostility to the United States of America and its allies. Another important factor hinges on the way in which belief systems are controlled within a religion. For instance, Roman Catholicism has not given rise to fundamentalism because religious authority is centralized with the Pope and the Vatican. On the other hand, both Protestantism and Islam are less centralized, and ‘authoritative knowledge’ is democratically available. Hence, any right-spirited person can determine God’s will by reading the scriptures or studying the Quran. More importantly, religious fundamentalism does not just require religious beliefs and organizations; it also needs a supply of potential recruits. This means that it needs members of particular social strata that feel especially threatened, dispossessed or relatively deprived by modernization. The first and central structural cause of fundamentalism is secularization, that is, a decline in traditional theistic religions. Without secularization there would be no need for a fundamentalist movement. Three aspects of secularization could be distinguished. First, secularization as differentiation, that is, when non-religious spheres of life becomes separate from and independent of religions. Second, secularization as a decline of religious beliefs and practices, that is, fewer individuals take part in religious activities or hold religious beliefs. Third, secularization as privatization, that is, religion stops playing any part in pubic life and does not even try to influence how politicians make decisions or individuals in society choose to live their lives. In addition to the above, education and communication could equally be identified as factors necessitating fundamentalism. This is because the growth of higher education tended to undermine traditional religious beliefs and also increase the influence of rationalism. Besides, economic problems could equally be a major stimulus to fundamentalism. For instance, socio-economic recessions, depressions, inflations, strikes, unemployment, famine, corruption and poverty may produce grievances among socio-religious groups in the population, thereby, inclining them favourably to fundamentalist arguments. The final structural cause that needs to be mentioned is the nationalist movements against western control as well as influence in colonies or pro-western regimes. All these factors among others combined together to be a major stimulus to fundamentalism in the modern world. Historical antecedents to Boko Haram insurgence in Nigeria For some time now religious fanaticism has been a recurrent plaque in Nigeria. Takaya informs that serious factional disturbances resulting in bloodsheds started after the emergence of an Islamic fundamentalist movements, Izalatul Bidiua wa ikamatul sunna, by Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, in 1977. The movement is dedicated to returning Islam to its primitive practices, purified of all forms of modernizations and innovations. Takaya reports that its first proselytization drive is directed against the Islamic community itself. This is aimed at reconverting all Muslims to adopt the fundamentslist and “true Islamic ways and practices”. However, the extant traditional Islamic leadership, the darika could not accept the Izala. As a result, series of local upheavals, breaches of peace and bloodshed were recorded in various Urban and semi-Urban areas of the North since 1977. Incidentally, 1977 was the year when the transition to the Second Republic civil rule began. The Izala group greatly contributed to the acute sensitivity and emotional outbursts displayed by both the pro-sharia and anti-sharia groups during the 1977-78 constitutional debates. Of course since then, religious politicization in Nigeria only grow deeper, such that both Christian and Muslim leaders tend to weigh every government decision in terms of their respective religions; calculating, therefore, their possible gains and losses .The Maitatsine sect led by Mohammad Marwa was another group that reared up its head in the 1980 and the 1985. Maitatsine sect has as its rallying point the establishment of an Islamic State in Nigeria. The Maitatsine Islamic extremist, maintained a long history of religious unrest in the whole of the North. The followers of Maitatsine were popularly known as the gardawa or almajirai, that is, ‘unconditional supporters of Maitatsine. The Maitatsine sect justified themselves through the teaching of doctrine that everything about government was ‘haram’. There were reckless looting of public property and distraction of public institutions in the core north such as: Kano (Yan Awaki ward, 1980), Kaduna (Ragasa, 1982), Maiduguri (Bulumkutu ward, 1982). Yola (Dobeli ward, 1984), and Gomba (Pantami ward, 1985) respectively. A lot of lives and properties were destroyed, while development from every facet of life were equally retarded. Also from 1986 to 1988 innumerable lives were again lost in Kaduna, Kafancha, Zaria, Kano, Bauchi and Yola, after a seemingly number of years of respite, the sectarian disturbance re-surfaced in 2000 over a proposal to introduce Sharia law by the Kaduna State Government. Jigawa State equally witnessed her own sectarian disturbances in 2001 over the launch of a book titled ‘who is a Christian’. Lagos State at Idi Araba religio-ethnic disturbances came up between Yoruba and Hausa in 2002 because a boy defecated near the Mosque . From 2004 to 2008 brutal confrontations of various kinds in Plateau State, Jos the Capital city and its environs have remained mayhem, even till to-date. On Monday 27 July, 2009 yet another religious violence occasioned by Boko Haram sect led by Mohammed Yusuf brings about another serious menace and set back to Nigeria up till this present moment. Forms of Religious Conflicts in Nigeria Nigeria has never been the same with a catalogue of religious conflicts. These put together, sufficiently buttress the highly explosive nature of religion in the country. Thus, as Eliagwu cited by Gofwen &F.C.Onuoha report, a summary of violent religious incident unveils the following: Table 1: Religious Conflict in Nigeria .



Principal Actors

May 1980

Zaria (Kaduna State)

Disturbance in Zaria during which property belonging to mainly Christians were destroyed.

December, 18-29, 1980

Yan-Awaki Ward in Kano (Kano State)

Riots by Maitatsine sect, 4, 177 people died, extensive destruction of property.

October 29-30, 1982

Bullumkutu, Maiduguri (Borno State

Kala-Kala and Maitatsine sect… 118 people died, extensive damage to property.

October 29-30, 1982

Kano (Kano State)

Muslim demonstrators burnt down churches.

February 27- March 5, 1984

Dobeli Ward, Jimeta-Yola (Gongola State)

Maitatsine sect, 586 died, wanton destruction of property. 

April 26-28, 1985

Pantami Ward, Gombe. (Bauchi State)

Maitatsine sect, 105 died, extensive destruction of property.

March 1986

Ilorin (Kwara State)

Muslims and Christians clashed during a Christian procession at Easter.

May 1986

Ibadan, University of Ibadan (Oyo State)

Demonstrations by Muslims in which they burnt the figure of the Risen Christ in the Chapel of Resurrection University of Ibadan.

March 1987

(a)    Kafanchan (Kaduna State)

Clashes between Muslims and Christians at the College of Education, Kafanchan… loss of some lives and the burning of some Mosques by Christians and native Kajes.


(b)  Katsina, Funtua, Zaria, Gusau and Kaduna (Kaduna State).

Wave of religious riots in which Muslims burnt down numerous Church buildings, and damaged property belonging to Christians. Many lives were lost.

February 1988

Kaduna, Kaduna Polytechnic (Kaduna State)

Religious riots, ostensibly among students, destroyed the foundation walls of the Christian Chapel.

April 1991

(a) Katsina (Katsina State)

Religious violence spearheaded by Mallam Yahaya Yakubu, leader of the fundamentalist Shiite sect in Katsina. It was a protest over a blasphemous publication in Fun-Times. Several lives were lost and property destroyed.


(b)  Tafawa Balewa (Bauchi State)

Started as a quarrel between a Fulani man and a Sayawa meat seller in Tafawa Balewa. Escalated into a full blown violence and later took the colouring of a religious war in Bauchi Several lives were lost and property valued over hundreds of millions of Naira was destroyed.  

October 1991

Kano (Kano State)

A peaceful procession initiated by the Izala sect to halt Rev. Reinherd Bonnke from having  a crusade in Kano, later degenerated into very bloody religious violence. Thousands of lives were lost and property-valued at millions of Naira was destroyed.

May 1992

Zangon Kataf, Zaria, Kaduna, Ikara. (Kaduna State)

A communal feud between the Katafs and the Hausas later took the dimension of inter-religious war between Muslims and Christians in other major cities of Kaduna State. Several lives and property were destroyed.

January 1993

Funtua (Katsina State)

The Kalakato religious sect assaulted the village Head and burnt down a Police vehicle. Lives and property were also lost.

February 2000


Conflict engulfed the city between Christians and Moslems over the implementation of Sharia law. Thousands of lives and property worth millions were destroyed.

February May 28, 2000

Abia State

Religious riots in Aba and minor disturbances in Umauhia. Over 450 persons killed in Aba. Abia State, as a reprisal killing for the Kaduna crisis. 

September 8 2000


The Kaltungo religious crisis. The crisis erupted over the implementation of Sharia in the State.

Oct 12 2001


Religious riot in Kano. In protest of US invasion of Afghanistan in search of Osama bin Laden: over 150 person were killed.

Nov. 16 2002


The Miss World crisis in which Muslims attacked Christians and churches. The crisis was triggered by an article by Isioma Daniel, published in This ay newspaper; over 250 people killed and several churches destroyed.  

June 8 2008


Religious conflict between Christians and Muslims in Numan town. Caused by the location of the town’s Central Mosque close to Bachama paramount ruler’s palace; over 17 persons killed.  

February 18 2006 


Religious conflict between Christians and Muslims in Maiduguri. The riot was caused by the Danish cartoon on prophet Mohammed, in Jyllands-Posten newspaper; over 50 persons killed and 30 churches destroyed; over 200 shops, 50 houses and 100 vehicles vandalized.  

March 22 2007


Muslim pupils killed their Christian teacher, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olusesan. The pupils claimed that thepir teacher had “desecrated” the Quran in the process of stopping a student from cheating in an examination hall.

November 28 2008


Religious violence between Muslims and Christians in the city of Jos. The crisis ensure from the controversial results of a local election; over 700 people killed and thousands internally displaced.

February 21 2009


Ethno-religious conflict at the Makama New Extension. Over 11 people were killed, more than 400 houses burnt, and over 1,600 families displaced

June 11 2009


Clash between members o the Boko Haram and the police. 17 members of the sect were killed.

July 26-30 2009

Bauchi Borno, Kano, Yobe

Religious violence unleashed by the radical Boko Haram sect. Over 700 persons killed; 3,500 persons internally displaced; 1,264 children orphaned; over 392 women widowed; and several properties destroyed.

December 29 2009


Religious violence unleashed by the Kala-kato sect. Over 38 persons killed; about 20 suspected members of the sect arrested; and over 1000 people internally displaced.

January 17-20 2009


Resurgence of religious crisis in Jos. Polices announced at least 320 killed, but aid workers and local leaders place death toll at over 550; some 300 persons arrested; and over 40,000 displaced.

March 7 2010


Attacks by Fulani Moslems on Christian –dominated villages of Dogo Nahawa, Shen and Fan in Jos. Over 500 people were killed mainly women and children.

March 17 2010


Suspected Fulani militias attacked residents of Biye and Batem village in Jos. 13 persons killed, including 6 women 4 children and 3 men. One of the women a pregnant woman, was burnt with a baby on her back. 

April 11 2010


Attack on a Berom village some 30 kilometers south of Jos by suspected Fulani herdsmen. The attackers targeted the homes of some officials in Kura Jenta. No life was lost but 3 houses and 6 vehicles were torched. Kuru Jenta was the scene of a deadly massacre where about 150 Fulani were allegedly killed and dumped in wells on January 19, 2010.

May 22 2010


Murder of three (Muslim) Fulani herdsmen at Tusung village in Barkin Ladi Local Government. The attackers was alleged to be Berom youths. 

May 24 2010


Attack on some Christians, who were retuning from their place of worship along Bauchi road in Jos. Alleged reprisal attack by Muslims over the kill of 3 Fulani herdsmen. Many sustained injuries and on was feared dead.


July 17 2010


Muslim Fulani herdsmen launched an overnight attack on a Christian village, Mazah, a village North of the city of Jos. About eight people were reportedly killed. The wife, two children and a grandson of a Christian priest, Rev. Nuhu Dawat, was among those killed. Seven houses and a church were razed. 

July 19 2010


Attack on Tagir village a nearby community to Mazzah village which was attacked on 17 July 2010. Although no life was lost in Tagir, wanton destruction of property, including loss of livestock was reported.  


Source: J.I.Eliagwu (cited by Gofwen,R.I.Religious Conflicts in Northern Nigeria and Nation-building The throes of two decades (1980-2000), Kaduna: Human rights monitor, 2004:65-67 & F.C.Onuoha 2011:22-24.

The Insurgence of Boko Haram Fundamentalist Movement in Nigerian contemporary Society The word ‘Boko Haram’ which is generally used to describe the movement needs to be clarified. The term ‘Boko Haram’ literarily translated as ‘education, a taboo’. This is embraced by the group of people who practice religion. Their founder is a living, zealous, conservative Islamic teacher, Sheikh Mohammed Yusuf. He is from Geidam Local Government Area of Yobe State. He is married and has children. Sheikh Mohammed Yusuf has many disciples from many parts of the northern states of Nigeria. Findings revealed that some are from Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Kano, and Gombe State. The followers are also said to come from the Chad Republic and Niger. Kukah reports that the headquarters of the disciples of Sheikh Mohammed Yusuf is situated at the Railway Terminus in Maiduguri (a Government property but rented to Sheikh Mohammed Yusuf). There is a Mosque at the terminus and the environment also serves as their habitant; and so they live, meet, study and recruit members in this place. The railway terminus in Maiduguri, where the sects based is surrounded by Abbaganaram in the North, Gambaru/custom by the South, Kasuwan Shanu by the East and Kumshe/Galadima by the West. The recent disturbances in the North regarding the Boko Haram with its base in Dutse-Tanshi in Bauchi State were more than conceptual and ideological. Initially their project was based on religious solidarity, precisely with other radical Islamist groups in the Arab world. It was revealed that the group had wanted to go to Afighanistan or Saudi Arabia on mass exile but the move failed due to frustration from immigration department. Then, Sheikh Mohammed Yusuf left with the option of preparing for a Jihad. This option led the group to start making their own bombs with their operational base in Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna Kano, Katsina and Yobe States. Unfortunately, the group which now metamorphosed into Boko Haram, was started in 1995 with the name Shahaba, by one Abubakar Lawan, who later relinquished the leadership to clerics, when he got admission to study at the University of Medina in Saudia Arabia. The departure of Abubakar Lawan called for new and strong leadership which fell into the hands of Sheikh Mohammed Yusuf who is highly knowledgeable and articulate. He accepted to lead the group but later turned to accuse the clerics of not properly interpreting the teachings of the Holy Quran. From this point of disagreement, he propagated attitudinal changes radically and fanatically. For instance, the rejection of western education by the Boko Haram sect is, therefore understandably a protest against the mediocrity and the eclipse of spiritual, moral and intellectual fervor that are bastardizing formal education at various levels in the country. Therefore, by means of force or violence the groups went about to expose their resentment over what they perceived as negative elements being propagated through western education and thought. Hassan adds that whenever they say Boko then it is “haram” i.e. (prohibited). They refer only to the negative side of western education which they perceive as contradictory to Islamic principles. These include some basic heretical and anti-Islamic ideas/theories embodied in western education (Boko) such as: Darwin’s theory of evolution, interest theory (Riba), capitalism, communism, secularism and democracy. This is because, these are all anti-Islamic and antithetical to human socio-moral values and standards. In propagating their religious ideologies through force and violence many innocent lives and properties were destroyed, government structures such as Nigeria Police College, the Nigerian Prison Service Schools, Churches, Hotels among others were damaged. Moral Implication of Religious Crises in Nigerian contemporary society Implication connotes possible effects or results of an action or a decision. It also informs an interpretation of something that suggests or indirectly states an action, decision or conduct. Fundamentalist activities have now become moral issues because they have affected the well-being of others by causing either harm or benefit. The well-being here could be physical or psychological. For instance, forms of physical harm which behaviour or act can cause include death, injury, disease, disability, and physical pain. While behaviour could also cause psychological states as loneliness, fear, depression, hopelessness, despair, unhappiness, anxiety, and sadness. It can also erode positive psychological mind-set of the people like self-confidence, self-esteem, self-respect, happiness and feelings of self-worth. A moral issue has arisen, and this paper examines actions of the Fundamentalist groups and its effects in Nigeria. The religious fundamentalist actions are hereby placed on value judgment as good or bad; right or wrong; morally acceptable or unacceptable; morally praise worthy or blameworthy or both. Economic retrogression and low productivity in Nigeria: In every economic system, production is the most important feature and an essential source of income that sustains the survival of the populace There is nothing more that can be accounted for production process except the Labour. This has been badly affected through religious crisis in Nigeria. For production to be relatively efficient and optimally effective, the contribution of capital in form of infrastructural installations cannot be overemphasized. In the process of complementing the mental effort of labour and machine installation, the benefits of high productivity in the country are achieved. Productivity growth raises the living standards of people; while increase in income improves people`s ability to purchase goods and services, enjoy leisure time, improved housing, education, social and environmental programmes. However, Nigeria has been scored low in terms of its performance regarding industrial sector; and religious crises contribute to low productivity from the standpoint of resources waste effects; lack of accurate cost estimates; excessive equipment downtimes; cost variance in manpower and material; lack of appropriate productivity measures; and inadequate overhead recovery. In this connection, Uchendu reveals further that religious crises in Nigeria have claimed lives of potential and active human resources; and that the tremors and turmoil created by various religious crises such as bomb blast and social upheavals have scared away potential and operational foreign investors. Nigerian socio-economy is left in her vicious condition of low productivity. Many survivors of such crises were maimed and made less fit-in for jobs for which they had been useful. It is unfortunate that the focus of some of the religious activities were on factories, capacity centers, churches, security units, and able bodied men and women undertaking their jobs in such centers. All these have contributed to low productivity in the country as engineered by religious crises. Economic backwardness of Nigeria has been linked to poor infrastructure based, external debt accumulation, conflicts, weak education sector, corruption on the part of government officials and low level of employment. In addition to this, is the acclaimed poverty status of the country. The National Bureau of Statistics reports that a staggering of 112.519 million people in Nigeria live in relative poverty conditions. This is alarming because this figure represents 69 percent of the county’s total population estimate to be 163 million (2006 Census). The main reason for the present economic retrogression is the outbreak of war, violence, militancy and religious crisis pandemic essentially in semi-urban geopolitical zones where religious houses , private and government institutions are concentrated. Religious crises have caused a lot of civil stirring and political unrest thereby delaying useful policy implementation and execution of viable programmes . Poverty circuit in the Country: In Easterling’s opinion, more than 90% of Nigeria are poor and exist largely at the mercy of fate. He inclines that the realities are much more obvious in rural areas and shuns; that in these places, people die because they cannot afford five hundred naira to purchase needed medication or basic public healthcare .Worst still, people around may not be able to help because they too may be unable to collectively raise that amount of money. This is an obvious reality in today’s Nigeria. For Gimba, he says that poverty is a crisis on itself, and there are primordial crises which historically had been a platform for the creation of and dynamic sustenance of other crises. According to him , apart from the fact that certain religion clearly states the gravity of offences from which offenders that are found guilty should have their hands cut off as prescribed by the Holy Book; and that this will serve as a stigma for the offenders and families yet unborn. It is unfortunate that religious violence and conflicts have claimed lives of a number of family and breadwinners; turned survivors who through excessive keenness in pursuit of religious claims are maimed for live; and become under-employed or totally unemployed citizens. Consequently, these dependants would continue to grow in poverty. Religious crises have torn many family businesses apart, leaving all the dependants on such businesses to toil around in the cycle of poverty. Vandalization of infrastructures in the Country: Laleye posits a question that, what kind of person that sees nothing good in preserving infrastructural installations that would also serve him and make life more comfortable even for him? Laleye’s explanation reveals some of the Power Holding Company Installations that were damaged: The Abuja – Ketti 132KV; Benni – Ajaokuta 330KV; Alaoji – Owerri 132KV line; Osogbo – Ikeja 330KV among others. World Bank Organization adds that religious crises had contributed devastatingly towards the economy of Nigeria. In the real sense, between 1980 and 2019, thousands of Churches, houses, hotels, public buildings, shops, vehicles, Mosques and other invaluable items have been razed. De-population of Nigeria: Ani argues that Nigeria can draw strength from her population potentials, and that it would make this country a big market place for business. However, religious crises have contributed greatly to de-population in Nigeria. Worst still, religious crisis has done more than ordinary de-population, because of the wiping-out of the nation`s healthy people, and mostly needed of all the population groups. Religious crises had killed thousands of young and strong people who are worthy working-class through conflict and violence, while others are also maimed and become dependants that can no long produce for themselves and the nation . Ukanah corroborates that there has been no full-scale religious war in the real sense in Nigeria, nevertheless, between 1980 when the first major religious crisis broke out in Kano and 2010, not less than one hundred major and minor recorded religious riots have taken place in the country with more than fifty thousand people killed. Although, the figure mentioned above are calculations from conservative government sources and newspaper reports. One of the non-Governmental Organizations reports that about three hundred thousand people have been killed in several religious conflicts either through silent killings, religious persecutions or communal clashes that have taken place between the stipulated years . The emergence of Boko Haram fundamentalist activities in Nigeria has caused serious devastating damages on both human and material resources. This has equally ushered in a more grievous wreaking havoc on the socio-economic development of human existential values in Nigeria and beyond. Human and physical destructions, creation of unrest and psychological trauma by the terrorists cannot be overemphasized. While environmental pollution, socio-economic and agricultural extinction are other challenges besetting the country. The samples of some of the menace are supplied in Table 2 below for reflections:

Table 2: Record of Boko  Haram  Menace of  Sweats and Tears in Nigeria


26 July 2009: First clash with security agencies in Bauchi State

27 July 2009: First attack in Yobe State during an invasion of Potiskum Divisional Headquarters, leading to the death of three policemen, one fire service officer.

29 July 2009: Confrontation with security men at Mamudo Village, along Potiskum/Damaturu Road, Yobe 33 Boko Haram members killed.

29 July 2009: An all-night battle with combined security operatives at Railway terminus, Maiduguri Borno State. Scores Killed and operational based destroyed.

8 September 2010: Set ablaze Bauchi Central prison and fired members of the sect who were jailed there.

28 January 2011: Killed governorship candidate of the Borno State chapter of the All Nigerian peoples party (ANPP), Alhaji Modu Fannami Gubio and six others at Lawan Bukar ward, Maiduguri.

2 March 2011: Killed two policemen attached to the residene of a Divisional Police Officer (DPO). Mustapha Sandamu at Rigasa area of Kaduna State.

30 March 2011: Bomb Explosion in Damaturu Injuring a policemen

2 April 2011: Bombed Dutsen-Tanishi Police station, injured two policemen.

4 May 2011: Shot dead a prison warder at Maiduguri prison on Kashim Ibrahim way.

5 May 2011: Shot duty officer at Maduiguri Government House Umaru Shehu at his Abuja Talakawa residence of Maisandami ward killing a 13 year old boy and injured another.

9 May 2011: Killed two Islamic clerics, Sheikh Goni Tijani and Mallam Alhaji Aburat their residence in Mairi and Bulabulum wards of Maiduguri. 

9 May 2011: Killed Bauchi State Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport workers (NURTW), Ibrahim Dudu Gobe and injured his son, Mohammed.

13 May 2011: Planted bomb at Lagos Street, Maiduguri which injured two soldiers, three policemen. A policeman was also short dead same day in the city.

29 May 2011: Bombed Bauchi military barrack, killing 14.

29 May 2011: Eight victims lose their legs after an explosion occurred at Zuba, a suburb of Kubwa in Abuja

31 May 2011: Shot dead Shehu of Borno’s Brother, Alhaji Abba Anas Garba El-Kanem.

1 June 2011: Five people killed during attack on police stations in Maiduguri.

12 June 2011: Four persons killed at a drinking joint in Bulumkutu, Maiduguri,

16 June 2011: Four children killed in a bomb explosion at Dambo a town Maiduguri.

16 June 2011: A Massive explosion at the National Police Headquarters building in Abuja.

20 June 2011: Seven people including five policemen killed in gun and bomb attacks on a police station and a bank  in Kankara, Katsina State.

27 June 2011: Boko Haram’s gun and bomb attack on a beer garoten in Maiduguri at least 25 dead and dozens injured

July 2011: Government say it will open a negotiation panel to initiate negotiations with Boko Haram sect

3 August 2011: The government rejects negotiations with Boko Haram.

25 August 2011: Gun and bomb attacks by Boko Haram on two police stations and two banks in Gombi, Adamawa State, kill at least 16 people including seven policemen.

26 August 2011: Boko Haram claims responsibility for a suicide bomb blast on the UN compound in Abuja, killing 23 people.

1 September 2011: A Shootout between BH gunmen and soldiers  in  Adamawa state, kills one sect member while another is injured and captured.

4 September 2011: Muslim Cleric Malam Dala shot dead by two BH members outside his home in the Zinnari area of Maiduguri

12 September 2011: Seven man, including four policemen, are killed by BH gunmen in bomb and shooting attacks on a police station and a bank in Misau, Bauchi State. The attackers rob the Bank.

13 September 2011: Four soldiers shot and wounded in an ambush by Boko Haram members in Maiduguri shortly after the arrest of 15 sect members in military raids on Boko Haram hideouts in the city.

17 September 2011: Babakura Fugu, brother –in-law to slain Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf, is shot dead outside his house in Maiduguri two days after attending a peace meeting with Nigeria’s ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo in the city. BH denies any involvement in the incident.

1 October 2011: A butcher and his assistant are killed by the Boko Haram gunmen at Baga market in Maiduguri in a targeted killed. In a separate incident, three people are killed in a shoot-out following BH bomb and shooting attacks on a military patrol vehicle delivering food to soldiers at a checkpoint in Maiduguri three victims are civilians

3 October 2011: Three killed in BH attacks on Baga market in Maiduguri Borne State. The victims included a tea-seller, a drug store owner and a passer-by.


23 October, 2011: Boko Haram members kill a policeman and a bank security guard in bombing and shooting attacks on a police station and two banks in Saminaka, Kaduna State.

23 October 2011: Boko Haram  sect  members open fire  in the town of Katar in Kaduna state, killing two.

25 October 2011: A policeman  is shot dead in his house in a targeted attack by Boko Haram gunmen in Damaturu.

29 October 2011: Boko Haram gunmen shoot dead Muslim cleric Sheikh Ali Jana’a outside his home in the Bulabullin Nagarnam neighborhood of Maiduguri. Jana’a is known to have provided information to security forces regarding the sect.

November 2011: Boko Haram sect says it will not dialogue with the government until all of its members who have been arrested are released.

2 November 2011: A soldier on duty is shot dead by sect members outsides Maiduguri’s main market. 

4 November 2011: The motorcade  of Borno  State Governor Kashim Shettima comes under Boko Haram bomb attack in Maiduguri on its way from the airport to the Governor`s residence as he returns from a trip to Abuja around 1.50 and  killed in coordinated BH bombing and shooting attacks on police facilities in Yobe State. Two Boko Haram suicide-bombers blow themselves up outside the military Joint Task Force Headquarters in Maiduguri in a botched suicide attacks.  

9 November 2011; Boko Haram members bomb a police station and the office of Nigeria’s Road Safety Agency in Maina village, Borno State. No one is hurt.

26 November 2011: Three policemen and a civilian are wounded in Boko Haram bomb and shooting attacks in Geidam, Yobe State. Six churches, a police station, a beer parloer a shopping complex, a high court, a local council building and 11 cars are burnt in the attacks. 

27 November 2011: A Borno  State protocol officer in the office of the Governor is shot dead by motorcycle-riding sect members while driving home. 

4 December 2011: A soldier, a policemen and a civilian are killed in bomb and gun attacks on police buildings and two banks in Azare, Bauchi State. Boko Haram open fired at a wedding in Maiguguri killing the groom and a guest.  

7 December 2011: An explosion linked to Boko Haram kills 8 in the Oriyapata district of Kuduna city.

13 December 2011: A bomb attack on a military check point by Boko Haram and resulting shooting by solders in Maiduguri leaves 10 dead and 30 injured. 

17 December 2011: A shootout between sect members and policemen following a raid on the hideout of a Boko Haram sect leaders in the Darmanawa area of Kano State kills seven, including three police officers. Police arrested 14 BH suspects and seize large amount of arms and bombs. Three BH members die in an accidental explosion while assembling home-made bombs in a hideout on the outskirts of Maiduguri.

19 December 2011: One suspected BH member dies and two others wounded in an accidental while assembling a home-made bomb in a hideout in Damaturu.

22 December 2011: BH bombs in parts of Maiduguri kill 20. Four policemen and a civilian are killed in gun and bomb attacks on a police building in Potiskum, Yobe State. Around 100 are killed following multiple bomb and shooting attacks by BH gunmen and ensuring gun battles with trops in the Pompomari  outskirt  of  Damaturu.

25 December 2011: A Charismas Day Boko Haram attack on Saint Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla town, near Abuja Kills 42 Worshipper, Three secret police (SSS) operatives and a BH bomber are killed in a suicide attack when the bomber rams his bomb-laden car into a military convoy at the gates of SSS headquarters in Damaturu. A policeman is killed in a botched BH bomb attack on a church in the ray field areas of Jos, capital of Plateau State.  

30 December 2011: Four Muslim worshippers are killed in a BH bomb and shooting attack targeting a military  checkpoint in Maiduguri as worshippers leave  a mosque after attending Friday prayers. 

1 January 2012: President Goodluck Jonathan imposes a state of emergency on 15 local government areas hardest-hit by Boko Haram. Attacks, in Borno, Yobe and Plateau States. He orders the closure of Nigerian borders in the North. 

3 January 2012: Boko Haram gunman attack a police station in the town of Birniwa in Jigawa state killed a teenage girl and wounded a police officer.

5 January 2012: Six worshippers are killed and 10 others wounded when Boko Haram gunman attack a church in Gombe city. 

6 January 2012: Eight worshippers are killed in a shooting attack on a church in Yola. Boko Haram gunman shoot dead 17 Christian mourners in the town of Mubi in the Northeastern State of Adamawa. The victims are friends and relations of one of five people killed in a Boko Haram attack on a hotel the previous day. 

7 January 2012: Three Christian poker players are killed and seven others wounded by Boko Haram gunman in the town of Biu.

9 January 2012: Boko Haram gunman shoot dead a Secret Police Operative along with his civilian friend as they leave a Mosque in Biu, Borno State, 200km South of the State capital, Maiduguri. The President says Boko Haram has infiltrated the executive parliamentary and judicial wings of government.    

10 January 2012: A Boko Haram attack on a beer garden kills 8, including five policemen and a teenage girl, in Damaturu, capital of Yobe State.

11 January 2012: Four Christians killed by Boko Haram gunman in Potskum, Yobe state, when gunman open fire on their car as they stop for fuel.

13 January 2012: Boko Haram kills four and injures two others, including a policemen in two separate  attack in Yola, Adamawa State and Gombe city in neighbouring Gombe State.

17 January 2012: Two soldiers and four Boko Haram gunmen are killed in an attack on a military check point in Maiduguri, Bornu State.

18 January 2012: A key suspect in the 2011 Charismas Day bombing in Abuja, which killed more than 40 people, escapes police custody. 


Source: Shehu Sani 2011: 39-41 Local and Agency , adapted from The Nation on Sunday 27, May 2012: 20 & 22; and The Nation, Across Nigeria: 2012, Saturday, May 30.

Security cum Development From the foregoing details of religious crises in Nigeria, the menace, tears and economic retrogression on humanity are very serious. Security of lives and properties are very paramount in attaining a meaningful and viable level in the country. Both human and material resources are important for a well-ordered society, and a secure environment would definitely enhance and invite investors/ investments into the country. No foreigner, multinational companies or individuals would forever live and invest in a violent environment, particularly environment where lives are threatened. Since 26 July, 2009 the Farmers in the North are afraid of going to the farm because of terrorism and kidnapping. The crises in the Northern part of the country has forced some of the Farmers to abandon their lands and relocate to neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroun. While, others migrated to the South because of the insecurity. Therefore, there is the possibility of the country to face famine because most of the smaller-scale Farmers and big- time Farmers in the North were threatened by terrorist attacks and kidnappers. The attacks on the Farmers who provide onions, pepper, maize, rice, livestock and catfish in the lake Chad to the southern states, have been adversely affected since the Boko Haram insurgency broke-out in Bornu State in July 2009. This insurgency had created adverse socio-economic activities in the country. Movements are restricted because of the crisis and this has led to heavy loss of money; many farmers who are cultivating tomatoes, cucumber and other perishable foods have been displaced, and all their produce got rotten. For example, in Plateau state, the Farmers of major food crops like Irish potatoes and vegetables like cabbage, cucumba, lettuce, green beams, carrot, tomatoes and peas have been hampered by the incessant attacks. The internecine strife between the Beroms and cattle rearers in Barkin Ladi Riyom and Jos South have equally hampered the cultivation of vegetables. The Bokkos who are notable for the cultivation of Irish potatoes suffer a similar fate. Terrorism has remained a challenge to human and agricultural resources. More importantly, because of the disruption in the sector, this has led to additional unemployment and inflation which is a fall-out of such development. Whereas, for the country to be stable, economic action should be taken in every part of the country in order to boost agriculture evenly. David, the Secretary of Tomato Perishable Sellers Association in Ilorin, Kwara State confirms that his business Associates loss about twenty seven million naira daily because of the prevailing insecurity in the North. He goes further to report that sixty thousand bags of tomatoes were usually sold daily in the market before, but only nine hundred bags are now being sold daily. He decries that if this continues the business will collapse and starvation will continue to set in. From Oyedepo’s perspective, he argues that if Boko Haram members are agitating for their rights as they claim, then government institutions rather than Churches should have been Boko Haram’s target solely. He goes further to say that Boko Haram is fighting the Government for certain deprivations and transformations of some rights, is it the Church or Mosque that is depriving then such rights? It is observed that a lot of political hypocrisy must be going on in the troubled areas. In the country today, national insecurity remains the greatest albatross, dwarfing other national malaise like poverty (Almajeri) corruption, unemployment and social decay. Oyedepo clearly reveals that: The Boko Haram phenomenon has cost the nation huge human, economic and financial loss, which the World Investment Report put at N1.33 Trillion in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). . . Despite huge unemployment in the country the few existing institutions and organizations are re-locating to neighbouring countries like Ghana because such companies consider security as key to their continued existence. The inference to be drawn from the above is that until security problems are resolved, national socio-economic development may not be meaningful. Recommendations i. There is the need for the Nigerians to re-orientate and transform their minds into new minds that could dream new Nigeria into existence. This is crucial because the greatest challenge to Africa’s development is the underdeveloped minds of Africans. The country needs minds that could resist indoctrination of evil like killing, terrorism and other national malaise. ii. Governments need to adopt New-tactics for dialogue with all who-is-who leaders in the troubled spots. All the Community Leaders should be engaged in order to mobilize them to play key roles in prevailing on the Sponsors of Boko Haram to sheathe their swords. The fact remains that we cannot dialogue with an unknown group of people, but the truth is that some of the sponsors are known to the Locals within the geographical areas. iii. The Nigeria Army, Police and other Security Agents should continue to do the country a favour by charting a new path in the fight against crime and terrorism. Also, they should be given special attention in terms of remunerations. iv. Governments should continue to recruit and train more anti-terrorists of different cadre locally and in abroad. v. There should be more public enlightenment on the hazardous nature of explosives and other toxic chemicals and the relevant safety or precautionary measures of Police Institutions, Government, and other interested Organizations. vi. Finally, Toyo’s explanation appeals that in order to abolish this predatoriness of wolfishness and all the antihuman consequences, particularly on religious and ethnic violence; he submits that welfare of citizens in every ramification should be the basic aim and concern towards conscientious revolution of conscience of Nigerians. He affirms that capitalist-oriented ideology and neglect of poor masses are the root of moral decay, corruption and conflicts in Nigeria; but not , `The West`. He argues that no society, be it East, West, North or South, which is a capitalist society is free from Evils identified here. For example, North Korea and South Korea are parts of the same country, yet their poles apart when it comes to devotion to and honesty with the people. Welfare of citizens grow a nation. Conclusion In the foregoing, this work has examined the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism and its ethical implications on national security and development. The causes of fundamentalist movements with reference to Nigeria were discussed. It was argued that Boko Haram menace in Nigeria has brought a lot of tears and hardship to humanity. Thus the Nigeria’s socio-political, economic and cultural future would likely experience more vicious cases of devastation from , local, national and foreign investments, if fundamentalist activities are not curtailed. This is quite incumbent because the sect has created major challenges bordering on insecurity that originates from poverty, corruption, and unemployment.

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