Nigeria and the politics of massacre

, by OpenDemocracy

In Nigeria, patterns of “religious” massacre are many decades old, but it is wrong to see this as simple “sectarianism”. A poor society facing modernisation at the hands of corrupt elites is vulnerable to the use of violence as a means of asserting economic and political power and the mobilisation of “religion” to foment social divisions. Even before the latest clashes, the decade since the restoration of democracy in Nigeria 1999 had seen 14,000 lives destroyed by “communal violence” with 3 million people (out of a total population of over 150 million) displaced.

It remains a striking fact that, whatever the discrepancies between attention to atrocities perpetrated by Christians and Muslims, overall global attention to this violence remains appallingly low. The number of killings and displacements significantly exceed the tolls in many events that constitute global political crises, but the levels of international political and media attention are not remotely comparable. Africa is at the heart of this neglect. Read more