Rachel Johnson

Atheist Blogger- the godlessvagina / Podcaster the pink atheist

In Fields Of Blood: The Dividing Of Nigeria.


Nigeria is the home to thousands of impoverished men and women, though some places hold a natural beauty never seen by much of the outside world. There are riches in the land and earth, but those are often in the hands of foreigners, and business men who’s only interest is profit, even at the sacrificing of thousands of lives. In fact much of the fighting and murdering going on in Nigeria is a remnant of earlier times, when business came, and sides were chosen. Now the blood runs like rivers in some areas of Nigeria. All because the inhabitants were divided against themselves.

Nigeria is a beautiful land covered in trees, with the longest waterfall in Africa. It was once a haven for tourists, though those days are long gone. Now the beauty of the land is overshadowed by blood. The conflict stems from when missionaries first settled on the plateau. They began converting the natives. Meanwhile business was coming in and people from the area refused to help foreigners rob the land of resources. Seeing the natives to the area as a threat the foreigners brought in Muslims from the south. After the mining, the Muslims settled to the area. Since they could not trace their history they began to claim the land as home. Soon the Muslims and their religion spread over the north of Nigeria.

The Christians converted at the hands of missionaries later found themselves unwelcome among the Muslims. They began migrating south, into places already full of people. Nigeria became more divided and it was centered around the Jos Plateau. In the place of beauty where many tourists had come before. Suddenly there were attacks being carried out. They are often when defense forces are not watching. Muslims come in with knives and kill anyone who is caught off guard.

Attacks came after the Muslims lost seats in government in  the last election, when a born again Christian was placed in as president. Now Muslims are fighting to keep him from making any changes, and the blood baths are following behind. Unrest has come because of disputes over lands, and feeding grounds. Muslims keep pushing Christians back into the Jos plateau. Meanwhile the Christians migrate to new places and create a burden on the already stressed resources.

Nigeria is a very religious country. It has two main religions that are constantly in contradiction with each other. The Christian religion is mixed with ancient beliefs of magic and charms, while the Muslim religion keeps a distance. Modern ideas are flowing into Nigeria as it becomes more educated. Progressive medicine, like abortion is still illegal.  Religion is the driving force of this nation and one that can quickly tear it apart. While Nigeria is not a first world country, they are moving forward, but the killings on the plateau have been moving things back.

Now people are living in fear of the future. Just the other week a senator was gunned down while attending the funeral of people who were gunned  down earlier that week. Making the total of dead come to 100 lives lost. In the same week tribesmen attacked in villages with knives killing and mutilating three, and the Uncle of one man. The man’s uncle was then mutilated  badly because he thought he was under the protection of charms. Crimes like these are on the rise due to Muslim unrest and inner faith rivalry. What the future is for Nigeria, no one really knows.

Since the Christians are not that involved with the political side of Nigeria, and the Muslims want control it is hard to tell what will happen. Some states in Nigeria are still safe for now, but migrants are pouring in. Displaced by fear of the violence, and in need of food and work. Now it is up to the young to struggle to make a better future in their land. As lumber is cut , and the people move from mining to other types of jobs, the structure of the country changes. The future could be grim if the Muslims continue to rally with violence. While the government tries hard to hide it from the outside world, the word is leaking as they seek help to end the feuding. Many Nigerians just want peace and a goo life, something that seems impossible if the religious fighting continues.

Author: Rachel Johnson

I am a writer about atheist issues. Separation of the church and state. Women and their right to choose, and sex. I talk about all of the "taboos" of modern life as well as evolution and science.

6 thoughts on “In Fields Of Blood: The Dividing Of Nigeria.

  1. Hi Rachel….

    I have to say, I am not sure that this is 100% accurate, from a historical perspective. This is how I understood the religious history of Nigeria.

    Around 1000 AD, a number of city-states emerged among the country’s various ethnic groups. Several Hausa states took root in the north, as did a portion of the Kanem-Bornu Empire to the north east. Yoruba kingdoms occupied the south west, and in the south east, the Igbo established a decentralized, village-based political system.

    The southern states [Yoruba and Igbo] practised local or regional polytheistic religions, with the leaders or kings often serving as high priests. From the 11th century onwards, mainly the northern Hausa areas, islam began to spread. This was influenced by the Kanem-Bornu, Mali and Songhai Empires based to the west of modern Nigeria. In the early 1800s, leaders from the traditionally pastoral Fulani ethnic group established an Islamic state centred on the city of Sokoto in the Hausa region, absorbing surrounding states and attempting to eliminate pre-Islamic religious practices.

    The arrival of the Portuguese in the 15th century, and the other Europeans who followed, brought with them different flavours of christianity; first catholicism and then, with the arrival of the British in the mid 19th century, some protestantism. When the British started to expand and took control of Lagos in 1861, christianity started to spread. It was in 1885, when Nigeria as a whole became British from then until around 1890 christianity moved northwards. The British took control of all of Nigeria, including the Hausa/muslim north, in around 1890.

    It was only really from 1885 onwards that Nigeria, as we know it today, started to appear. Before that, Nigeria was a collection of city states, much like part of Europe during he Middle Ages. Religion, almost be default, was state owned, state controlled. The detail however was that the states were numerous and therefore /relatively/ small.

    Oddly, the slave trade had /relatively/ little impact on the religious make up of Nigeria. It was the Portuguese who brought the slave trade to Nigeria, focusing on what is now known as the Niger Delta and pushing north east [though not very far] to what is now known as Benin City; not to be confused with the country Benin. Given the population density in this part of Nigeria, the subsequent european visitors did little to change this trend, so it was principally the christian south which provided the bulk of the slaves.

    Skipping ahead a little, to the period of Nigeria’s independence in 1960 until 2000, there have been nine “presidents” of Nigeria, mostly military. They have been almost equally split between men of both christian and islamic belief. Almost all of them were an unmitigated disaster. More then one was assassinated, some were removed in bloodless military coups.

    Now, for you piece the date of 2000 is quite significant, because it was then that the mostly muslim Hausa north introduced shari law to the northern states of Nigeria. In theory it only applies to muslims and in practice, it is managed very differently across those parts of northern Nigeria, due to the different interpretations of sharia law there.

    It was not long after this imposition that some of Nigerias current issues started to arise, with some islamic groups murdering hundreds, if not thousands of people so they could have there religious laws imposed on all of Nigeria.

    Curently, the population split Nigeria and circa 50% muslim, mostly in the north, 40-50% christian, mostly in the south and around 10% of so called indigenous belief, who are often, but always, indigenous/christian.

    Having said all of that, for me, Nigeria will go one of only two possible routes. The first is that there will be an enormous and violently bloody religious and civil war. There will be tens of millions of people dead, the economy will be annihilated, starvation will spread through all but the most advanced cities, world oil prices will rise by double digit percentage points and western countries will get drawn into what will become a religious war. It will be like the 1804-1810 period all over again, but much, much worse.

    THe second option is that one “side” will acquiesce; but I very much doubt that.

    • Hi there. 😀 I approved it because 1 lots of info, and 2 our native Nigeria readers can help here, sorting out details. I am glad you wrote this, and honestly you put a lot of work into that. Thanks Piloti.

      • …and three; you are not a dictatorial insane control freak who insists their view is always right..!! Open minded atheist.

        • You know I like you Piloti, I wasn’t trying to be insulting. If that was how you took it. My friend in Nigeria gave me the blog info, I just thought he could see your work and compare….it was for the good.

        • I know that!! ANd I was not for one minute suggesting you were being insulting. This is somethimes the issue with written communication: one can see the smile on the face of the author!
          If you want to try and get a grasp of my humour and writting style, take a peek at my web site. Sometimes it is a bit boring, but it lets me vent. Not updated for a little while, at least not since I have been back in Europe.
          I hope you enjoy it.

          PS: 🙂

        • Yea, I am very glad for that. 😀

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