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  • Background to the Study

The word religion is derived from the Latin words “Religare” meaning bind, “relegare” meaning relationship. The etymology of the word “religion” thus shows that religion is essentially a relationship between two persons, namely, human persons and divine persons that believe to have existed. Torkwambe (2011) sees religion as an encounter between man and a transcendent deity conceived as a personal being, capable of  communication with man, a dialogical relationship follows this encounter. The religious man engages in many activities with transcendent personal being (deity).

According to the memory Webster New International Dictionary, “Religion is the outward act or form by which man indicate their recognition of the existence of supernatural power over their destiny to whom obedience, service and honour are due, the feeling or expression of human love, fear or rather aware of some super human over ruling power, whether by profession or belief, by observance of life, and ceremonies or by the conduct of life.

Religious conflict today is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our economic, political, and educational system. The impact of Religious conflict has posed a big threat to government, local businesses, and educational system as a whole. One of the single issues that has dominated the educational system today is Religious conflict which affects students’ academically. Alao and Atere (2012) posited that religious conflict is globally becoming a house hold word as there is no nation that is completely free from its impact.

Religious conflict has eaten deep into the fabric of most Nigerian community. Nigeria is usually characterized as a deeply divided state in which major political issues are vigorously and or violently contested along the lines of the complex ethnic, religious, and regional divisions in the country. Nigeria in recent years has been involved in all sorts of conflicts ranging from religious, tribal and inter-ethnic conflicts but this situation is posing a lot of concern not just to the government agencies and to the entire populace of Nigeria. From its inception as a colonial state, Nigeria has faced a perennial conflict of territorial or state legitimacy, which has often challenged its efforts at national cohesion, democratization, stability and economic transformation (Maier, 2010). Nigeria as a nation has a long history of religious conflict. (Oji and Anugwom, 2014) observed that, ethnic religious conflict and divisions arising from them are intertwined phenomenal in contemporary Nigeria. It has been observed that it is very hard in Nigeria to have an ethnic conflict which will not end up as religious conflict.

Hornby (2016) defines religious conflict as a situation in which religious adherents are involved in a serious disagreement or argument with one religious group and another. This is a situation in which there are opposition in ideas, opinions, feelings and wishes. Olite and Olawale (2019) see religious conflict as struggle over values and claims to scarce resources, status and power in which the aims of the opponents are to neutralize or eliminate their rivals. This definition very much suits, or reflects the conflict between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria. Gyuse (2016) further points out that when two or more persons, groups, communities or nations seek to take possession or dominate a particular object of value at the exclusion of others, conflict ensues. Nnoli (2013) asserts that the concept of religious conflict contradict the peace process arising from perceptions, behaviours, phenomena and tendencies. Gotan (2014) cited a traditional definition of religious conflict as the conceived interactions in which two or more religious adherents engage in mutually opposing action and use coercive behaviour to destroy, injure, thwart or otherwise control their opponents. Aliyu (2014) sees religious conflict as “a process of social interaction involving a struggle over claim in resources, power and status, beliefs and other preferences and desire”. For Oyeshola (2016), Religious conflict is the disagreement, dispute or controversy in ideas or viewpoints held by two or more individuals, communities or religious groups. A religious conflict becomes violent if physical or emotional force is used to hurt or kill people (Sa’id, 2014). Gotan (2014) inferred that conflict is found everywhere in human interaction and it can occur in the family or the home, place of work, between different ethnic as well as religious groups as it is in the case of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria. Ayandele (2012) also postulates that religious conflict is a universal phenomenon and it becomes problematic, open, confrontation and violent if appropriate measures are not taken to curtail it.

In Nigeria, it is interesting to note that ethnicity and Religious Bigotry has become a fulcrum of various forms of language, cultural autonomy and self-determination. All these sometimes lead to some forms of contextual on Nigeria is populated by the adherents of Islam, Christianity and African Traditional Religion. However, the adherents of these religions, especially Muslims and Christians are often engaged in conflict, leading to loss of lives and property. A day hardly passes without the adherents of these two religions engaging in one conflict or the other. The religious scenario in Gombe state has assumed a violent dimension, leading to silent killings of innocent lives and property. These religious conflicts are more frequent in Billiri and they sometimes give birth to reprisal attacks on other parts of the state.

Muhammed (2012) in analyzing the consequences of religious conflicts reported that social tensions and new patterns of settlement were visible in States like Gombe, Plateau, Bauchi and Kaduna. That Muslims were seen moving to Muslim dominated areas and Christians migrating to Christian dominated areas. These new pattern of settlements have its negative impacts on the psychology of the people. In looking at this impact, Onwumah, (2014) lamented, that religious conflict is a period that brings out worst instincts and impulses in man and also that social relationship is at its lowest level. This is so because no man would want to relate happily to a group of people who have or perceived to have either killed or maimed his relations. In fact, this by extension would lead to fear, hatred, acrimony and suspicion.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The persistent Religious conflict is one of the major factors contributing to low academic performance of students in most of our student schools in Nigeria. The resultant impacts of this senseless killing are low academic performance students in internal and external examinations, trauma, financial difficulty, political alienation, insecurity, hunger and low enrolment into school and attendance due to vandalized facilities and structures.

However, before the devastating impact of Ethno Religious conflicts, school enrolment and attendance  was very high, school structures and facilities were averagely managed. The academics performance was on an average, economic and social activities was very normal, trust and mutual relationship among different groups within these the local government were cordial. The persistent occurrence of ethno religious conflict in Billiri local governments has damage the future and dreams of most students, most especially their present psychological challenges in the (IDP) camps and the insecurity. This posed a serious challenge to not only school children but the entire human existence in Billiri local government area

In Nigeria today, the challenges posed by religious conflicts have become a matter of national insecurity which have caused negative setback to the education of children, youths and adult. Religious conflicts continue to be a major issue in Gombe State particularly Billiri Local Government Area and has in many ways led to destruction of lives and properties over the years. These senseless killing and destruction made most children to perform below standard. This left many schools closedown and students out of school, despite effort by the local, state, and federal governments to promote education in the country, but it revealed no avail.

            Recently, the Nigerian Nation has been held hostage initially by Ethnic Militias pressing for increasing inclusion in the power architecture of the state, later by herdsmen seeking for grazing land, and most recently by Islamist wishing to enforce perhaps the strictest observance of the sharia (Wilson, 2016). These acts of terrorism pose a high challenge to Nigerian educational system. It has been observed that the cost of tackling religious conflict by Nigerian government both in the federal level and state have plunged the entire nation into object poverty and political destabilization. Halima (2013) notes that this cankerworm has already eaten up educational system in the bid of finding out the causes of religious conflict and proffering a workable means by which it can be terminated.

            It is in the light of the above discussion that this study seeks to examine the impact of religious conflict on Nigerian education: a case study of Billiri Local Government Area of Gombe State.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

This research work, seeks to investigate the impact of religious conflict on Nigerian education: a case study of Billiri Local Government Area of Gombe State. Specifically, the objectives includes;

  1. To investigate the causes of religious conflict in Billiri local Government Area
  2. To discuss the impacts of religious conflicts on the school enrolment and attendance of secondary school students.
  3. To identify the impacts of religious conflict on academic performance of students in Billiri local Government Area
  4. To measure the impact of religious conflict on the school infrastructure.

1.3 Research Questions

The following research questions were raised:  

  1. What are the causes of religious conflict in Billiri local Government Area?
  2. What are the impacts of religious conflicts on the school enrolment and attendance of secondary school students?
  3. What are the impact of religious conflict on academic performance of students in Billiri local Government Area?
  4. What are the impacts of religious conflict on the school infrastructure in Billiri Local Government Area?

1.6 Significance of the Study

The work will be of benefit to students, teachers, parents and the community in knowing the devastating impact of Ethno-Religious conflict and how to manage conflict. In further, the finding of this research work will benefit schools and serve as a guide for public secondary schools especially within Billiri Local Government Area. This work will benefit students to know that ethno religious conflict is part of human limitations and the need to live peacefully.

This work will be of benefits to teachers and serve as a guide to adopting better ways of handling low academic performance of students as a result of trauma from ethno religious conflict.

This work will be of benefit also to the Government, Political, Traditional and Religious Leaders in knowing the extent of damage Ethno Religious conflict inflict on people and students as a result of a leaders inability to govern properly.  

This research work will be of benefit to researchers who wish to carry out a similar topic, it will further serves as a guard for them.

1.7 Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This research work has Nigeria at heart but is limited to the negative impact of religious conflict on Nigerian education: A case study of Billiri local Government Area. However, the researcher used few secondary schools as examples for the work, which represent a wider outlook.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Ethnic The word ethnic means a group of people who share a common and distinctive culture. In its classical meaning, ethnic relates to a number of a particular ethnos.

Ethnicity should be seen as a feeling of belonging to a distinctive cultural or linguistic group or a manifestation of ethnic consciousness in socio-cultural group or the manifestation of national consciousness, is not regarded as a bad thing within the community of nations.

Impact: is a   result or product of some cause or agency: consequence, change that produces’ in one person or thing by another which often is perceived to be negative.

Religion: Means beliefs, precepts, values and actions of human beings which to some large extend shapes and guide their spiritual, economic, political and social life. 

Religious conflict refers to those involving groups where religion is an integral part of social and cultural life, and religious institutions are representative, possess moral legitimacy, and mobilization potential.

Conflict has many meanings in everyday life. To some, it refers to behavior or action. There is conflict where a trade union goes on strike or an employer looks out its employees. It is also conflict when two states are at war with one another, and whether battlefield events determine their relations. The actions constitute the conflict. If this were all, however, it would mean that a conflict ends of a conflict.

  • Format: ms-word (doc)
  • Chapter 1 to 5
  • With abstract reference and questionnaire
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