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The Problem With Religion In Nigeria

By Edited Mar 8, 2014 1 1

           Since the assertion over a century ago, by the father of communism, Karl Marx, that religion is the opium of the people, an endless controversy has ensued on whether religion should be a pillar of public functions or a private affair.
          Those who sow a seed of dissension in religion hold tenaciously to the assertion and adopt it as a faultless ideology, while others who believe that nothing can  be successfully achieved without faith in the Supreme Creator of all things regard such an assertion as a mere fallacy fabricate by an infidel. The former group claims that religion is an institution which is as old as the world but which should be obliterated or, at least, restricted because it has adversely affected the development of the world.
          The latter group argues that it is religion which has so far sustained the world because all laws, rules and regulations that govern the conduct of man anywhere under the sky emanated from religion, and without these laws, rules and regulations, the world would have gone into permanent oblivion. It is, therefore, the recommendation of this latter group that if the laws which regulate the public life of mankind are directly from religion, the religion, then should continue to be the main pillar of the public life in any given society.
           Here in Nigeria, more than 90% of the population definitely agree with the view that religion is the core of culture and should form the main pillar of our public and private life. But, unfortunately, more than 98% of such people are dogmatically ignorant of how to practice their religion to ventilate the society with the breeze of peace and harmony. And to a great extent, the ignorance of such people is being tacitly encouraged by the federal and state governments, which have never seen any danger in ignorance.
            Each time there is a crisis in the country, be it social, political, or religious, it is the people who are caught in the violent action or those suspected to be behind the crisis or the political foes of the rulers that bear the brunt. The government is often free from blame even when it fails to prevent the outbreak of violence. Illiteracy seems to compound the problem as over 70% of the population cannot read or write and are unable to understand Nigeria’s written law. Consequently, this group of people cannot even understand what actually constitutes a breach of the law.    
              Nigeria has witnessed several religious crises. The Maitasine carnage is an example. It is painful that, whenever there is any form of crisis in the country, the government only reacts by setting up a commission of inquiry. Quite often, such inquiries are used as instruments for destroying political opponents. In the end, neither the government nor the people learn any lessons from the findings of such inquiries.
              Many things are responsible for religious crises in Nigeria. Open-air preaching is a major factor. Religionists often barricade the streets and usurp the front space of other people’s houses in the frantic endeavour to win converts. This is an awful scene which is only in Nigeria. people should preach inside the church or mosque, or hire halls for their religious activities.
Some people see religion as a lucrative enterprise. This alone shows why people are ready to kill themselves in the name of religion. If the rate at which Nigerians troop into religion these days is a reflection of their godliness, why is the rate of crime rapidly increasing? Why are some of the religious leaders caught in criminal acts.
             People should practice religion honestly. They should not use religion for achieving political goals or material benefits. It is only in this way that they can prove their sincerity to God, their creator.



Dec 2, 2011 7:21am
When Religion started in the western they worshiped God with respect but the was it is practiced in Nigeria today is what the Government should look in to in order to address it.
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