1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Religious violence in Nigeria has a clear connection with the proliferation of uncompromising Muslim and Christian activism, a relationship that has led to a growing culture of religious violence particularly in northern Nigeria. Before the advent of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, African Traditional Religion, which encompasses several modes of worship to the Supreme Being, had been the religion of Africans. It was rare occurrence of religious violence back in the time when Africans worshipped God the indigenous way. Thus, with the introduction of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, there ensued violence and agitation for supremacy. The concept of national security was developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II. Currently, the concept encompasses non-military security such as economic security, energy security, food security etc. Security threats can come in any form. The present security threat in Nigeria is the Boko Haram terrorist attacks on the government and the country at large. Equally, religious violence is a threat to the well-being of the adherents of the religions in Nigeria. Several political problems take on religious dimensions; manipulated by politics, poverty, illiteracy and ignorance in Nigeria. Violence based on religious affiliation and religious policies has indeed caused physical and psychological damage to several people, thereby legitimizing religious schism among Nigerians who simply have different religious affiliations. Thus, there is a need to look at the factors that are responsible for religious violence in Nigeria since the inception of democracy in 1999 and to find out how religion can bring about peaceful co-existence. It is a well know fact that Nigeria is grapple with a rising wave of ethnic or religious conflicts. Nigeria has several kinds of pluralisms. The present day Nigeria was brought together from diverse ethnic groups. The main ones are ethnic, religious and political. These groups were brought together as one entity as a result of 1914 Amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria. This diverse composition of ethnics and religious groups constitute a threat to national security, integration and development. Nigeria as a country was a mal-intended child right from its conception, "it was destined to sit on crisis’’. This was done by the colonial masters whose interest was purely economic exploitation by incorporating Northern and Southern Nigeria protectorate into single entity in 1914. The incorporation was converted into a battle field between North and South Majority and Minority ethnic groups over the control in the allocation of resources, which due result to competition and struggle among various ethnic groups for the control of the state. This situation has therefore, led to inter-ethnic confrontations and hostilities which do transformed to ethno-religious conflicts as a result of ethnic groups identification with a particular religion. According to "members of the dominant class themselves" may make different uses of ethnic appeals to gain support for their claims upon the state. As they mob these identities for their political purposes. These eruptions of ethnic and religious conflicts lead to large scale migration of people and it also create refugee problems as well as disruptions in school, political and economic lives of people that are affect directly. These are signs of obstacle for peaceful coexistence, national security, integration and development. Therefore, the paper examines the causes of ethno -religious conflicts and its implications to national security, integration and development in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
For most Nigerians however, the pressing problems of everyday survival remain the highest immediate priority. Since the oil boom of the 1970s, Nigeria's economy has been in crisis despite continued expansion in oil production. Without the establishment of an accountable government, the chances of addressing pressing problems like the deterioration of living conditions and the collapse of once treasured town of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, looks slim. Since the emergence of the nascent democracy in 1999, Plateau State has become a permanent flashpoint of crisis. The State which had hitherto been one of the most relatively peaceful in Nigeria has been deeply enmeshed and suffused in political and ethno-religious conflicts characterized by genocidal attacks, bombing, maiming and killings of several persons, loss of business investments, and properties worth several millions of Naira. Within the space of eleven years, several violent political, ethno-religious conflicts have been reported in Plateau State. Furthermore, these violent conflicts have compelled several Nigerians to attempt a redefinition of their identity as fallouts of emotive feeling and perceptions. The politico-violent conflict which has remained a recurring decimal has severally threatened the nascent democracy, national unity, and our collective security as a nation-state. Thus, the challenges of managing the political and ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria with particular focus on Plateau State have little been explored by earlier researchers
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine Christian education: a panacea for religious conflict and its implications for national security. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1. To examine the basis for understanding the factors responsible for the security challenges facing Nigeria.
2. To examine the importance of Christian education in religious conflicts and national security in Nigeria
3. To examine the impact of Christian education on religious conflict and national security in Nigeria
4. To examine if the inputs of stakeholders to peace building process on one group against another ignite the management of violent ethno-religious conflicts in Plateau State.
5. To examine the relationship between Christian education and ethical values in Nigeria.
6. To find out how religion which has been the bone of contention can bring peaceful co-existence in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the bases for understanding the factors responsible for the security challenges facing Nigeria?
2. What is the importance of Christian education in religious conflicts and national security in Nigeria?
3. What is the impact of Christian education on religious conflict and national security in Nigeria?
4. Does the input of stakeholders to peace building process on one group against another ignite the management of violent ethno-religious conflicts in Plateau State?
5. What is the relationship between Christian education and ethical values in Nigeria?
6. How will religion which has been the bone of contention bring peaceful co-existence in Nigeria?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of this research work cannot be over emphasized. The study examines and reviews the factors that cause religious conflicts and the challenges of national security in Nigeria. Therefore, this research work is meant to assist both undergraduates and graduates and other future researchers who may find this research work beneficial in terms of planning, researching and rational decision making in regards to National security in Nigeria.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on Christian education: a panacea for religious conflict and its implications for national security, a case study of selected schools in Plateau state.
1.7 METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY
The subject matter of this thesis deals generally with religious conflict and its impact on national security. In this research qualitative approach has been used. Qualitative approach was chosen because it facilitates close interaction with informants, respondents and settings. This research strategy includes both formal and informal interviews, and observations. This has assisted the researcher to obtain first-hand information of the opinions, attitudes and behaviors of the research population . According to, ―a qualitative (descriptive) method is useful for investigating a variety of problems, including assessment of attitudes, opinion, demographic information, condition and procedures. Qualitative (Descriptive) data are usually collected through questionnaire, interviews, or observations. For qualitative approach ―aims primarily at describing, observing and documenting aspect of a situation as it naturally occurs rather than explaining them. This design has an advantage of producing a good amount of responses from a wide range of people.