Revisiting Religious Sectarianism in Nigeria

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Abstract

While inter-religious conflict is not new to Nigeria, sectarian competition and conflict between Sunnis and Shias have infiltrated the country and potentially pose a threat to the country’s stability. This article does not seek to provide a solution to Nigeria’s sectarian conflict between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam, but rather to highlight the dangers it poses to the country through its impact and implications. Through a futurology design approach, the article provides dynamic snapshots of Sunni–Shia sectarian conflict from three dimensions: identity, alliance, and ideology. The article reveals that both Sunni and Shia Islam in Nigeria share a common ideology of establishing Nigeria as an Islamic state. However, they disagree on whose ideology it shall be founded upon owing to their sectarian affiliation with external actors, notably Saudi Arabia and Iran. The article concludes with prognostic reflections on the future political, religious, and social implications for Nigeria if this conflict remains unresolved.