Religion in Nigeria: A Poison or An Antidote?

Religion is the belief in and worship of a supernatural being controlling the universe.

There are many religions in the world, and some of them are Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These religions have different belief systems and practices but common themes. They all preach peace, love, tolerance, integrity, humility, and trust in God.

Nigerian Muslims in a mosque

Religious Practices in Nigeria

How religion is practiced in Nigeria is a matter of concern. There are three types of religion in Nigeria but the two major religions are Christianity and Islam. Christians are the followers of Jesus Christ and they have Bible as their holy book. The Muslims are the followers of Mohammed and their reference book is Qur’an. Christians and Muslims spread across the Nigerian soil. There is no society where you will see Christians without seeing Muslims and vice versa.

According to Wikipedia, “Nigeria has the largest Christian population of any country in Africa. It accounts for more than 80 million persons in Nigeria who belong to various denominations.” It is estimated that about half of the Nigerian 200 million population are Muslims.

A Catholic Priest, Reverend Fr Mathew Onyilo of Abuja Archdiocese revealed that statistics have shown that the number of churches and mosques outweighs the number of schools and hospitals in Nigeria.

Nigerian Christians in a church
Religion in the Hands of Bad People

Before independence, both Muslims and Christians lived in harmony. There was no disparity on a religious basis. In this modern era, religion is a strong tool in the hands of politicians and religious leaders who seek social relevance.

Political saboteurs now use religion as a weapon of protection when their heinous acts are revealed to the public. For instance, if a Muslim politician is guilty of embezzlement, he will motivate his supporters to protest on his behalf. The only question that will be asked by his protesters is: “When a Christian did the same, what did you do?” With this, many politicians have avoided the wrath of the law.

Unemployment has also made religion a curse in Nigeria. Several unemployed youths have found consolation in religion. Nowadays, we see churches everywhere we go. We see mosques in the nooks and crannies of our localities.

It might interest you to know that these religious centers are owned by quacks. The pastors have no deep understanding of the scriptures, and the clerics have little or no knowledge of Islam. They make their clients believe that they are called by God and use a lot of tricks to secure their customers’ obedience and loyalty.

When such clerics, who are called by hunger, gain mass followers, they yearn to have their share of the national cake. They invite corrupt politicians to their religious services. If a politician honors their invitation and donates generously, such politician becomes a sacred person and followers will be encouraged to give him their staunch support.

Boko Haram fighters
Church and Mosque Business

People who do not have oratory skills but are strong-hearted have also devised a means of getting their own share. They use the religious platform to get their desire.

Everyone knows it is very absurd for anyone to commit murder in the name of God. In Nigeria, however, a terrorist group “Boko-Haram” has claimed thousands of lives. They have displaced millions of Nigerians and vandalized properties worth billions of Naira. The violent group claim they are fighting for the propagation of Islamic religion but in their attacks, thousands of Muslims die.

In recent research, it is discovered that the aim of the group is different from what it professes. The group attacks are nothing but a reaction against the government for its social, economic and political failure.

Many of the Boko-Haram members are unemployed able-bodied youths who got frustrated. They joined the group as a means of getting their daily bread. And now, they use it to express their aggression against the corrupt government. This terrorist circle uses religion as a veil under which heinous acts can be hidden.

A burnt house

To many countries, religion has been a blessing but to Nigeria, religion is a weapon of social disintegration, evil perpetration, and deception. If you have a dangerous commodity, religion will help you to sell it well.