DISCUSS RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION & SOCIAL STRATIFICATION AND APPLY THEM TO THE NIGERIA’S RELIGIOUS SITUATION
Religious affiliations and social stratification are two synonymous words which run across all ethnic tribes and nations. It has been seen as a man-made tools used to divide the man among his fellows in the society. This is true not only in cases where the difference in religion coincides with one of nationality, and thus of cultural development, as in Eastern Germany between Germans and Poles. The same thing is shown in the figures of religious affiliation almost wherever capitalism, at the time of its great expansion, has had a free hand to alter the social distribution of the population in accordance with its needs, and to determine its occupational structure. The more freedom it has had, the more clearly is the effect shown.
Participation in the above economic functions usually involves some previous ownership of capital, and generally an expensive education; often both. These are today largely dependent on the possession of inherited wealth, or at least on a certain degree of material well being. A number of those sections of the old Empire which were most highly developed economically and most favored by natural resources and situation, in particular a majority of the wealthy towns went over to Protestantism in the sixteenth century The results of that circumstance favor the Protestants even today in their struggle for economic existence. There arises thus the historical question: why were the districts of highest economic development at the same time particularly favorable to a revolution in the Church? The answer is by no means so simple as one might think.
The emancipation from economic traditionalism appears, no doubt, to be a factor which would greatly strengthen the tendency to doubt the sanctity of the religious tradition, as of all traditional authorities. But it is necessary to note, what has often been forgotten, that the Reformation meant not the elimination the Church’s control over everyday life, but rather the substitution of a new form of control for the previous one. It meant the repudiation of a control which was very lax, at that time scarcely perceptible in practice, and hardly more than formal, in favor of a regulation, of the whole of conduct which, penetrating to all departments of private and public life, was infinitely burdensome and earnestly enforced. The rule of the Catholic Church, “punishing the heretic, but indulgent to the sinner,” as it was in the past even more than today, is now tolerated by peoples of thoroughly modern economic character, and was borne by the richest and economically most advanced peoples on earth at about the turn of the fifteenth century. The rule of Calvinism, on the other hand, as it was enforced in the sixteenth century in Geneva and in Scotland, at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in large parts of the Netherlands, in the seventeenth in New England, and for a time in England itself, would be for us the most absolutely unbearable form of ecclesiastical control of the individual which could possibly exist. That was exactly what large numbers of the old commercial aristocracy of those times, in Geneva as well as in Holland and England, felt about it. And what the reformers complained of in those areas of high economic development was not too much supervision of life on the part of the Church, but too little. Now how does it happen that at that time those countries which were most advanced economically, and within them the rising bourgeois middle classes, not only failed to resist this unexampled tyranny of Puritanism, but even developed a heroism in its defense? For bourgeois classes as such have seldom before and never since displayed heroism. It was “the last of our heroisms,” as Carlyle, not without reason, has said.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION & SOCIAL STRATIFICATION: THE NIGERIA’S RELIGIOUS SITUATION
A glance at the occupational statistics of any country of mixed religious composition brings to light with remarkable frequency a situation which has several times provoked discussion in the Catholic press and literature, and in Catholic congresses in Germany, namely, the fact that business leaders and owners of capital, as well as the higher grades of skilled labor, and even more the higher technically and commercially trained personnel of modern enterprises, are overwhelmingly Protestant.
Religious affiliation in Nigeria is strongly related to ethnicity, with rather distinct regional divisions between ethnic groups. The northern states, dominated by the Hausa and Fulani groups, are predominantly Muslim while the southern ethnic groups have a large number of Christians. In the southwest, there is no predominant religion. The Yoruba tribe, which is the majority ethnic group in the southwest, practice Christianity, Muslim, and/or the traditional Yoruba religion, which centers on the belief in one supreme god and several lesser deities.
Overall statistics indicate that about 50% of the population are Muslim, with a majority practicing the Sunni branch of the faith. About 40% are Christian and about 10% practice traditional African religions or no religion at all. Many people include elements of traditional beliefs in their own practice of Christianity or Islam. The Christian community is composed of Roman Catholics (the largest denomination), Methodists, Anglicans, Baptists, Presbyterians, and members of Evangelical and Pentecostal groups.
Though the constitution prohibits state and local governments from declaring an official religion, a number of states have recently adopted various forms of the Islamic criminal and civil law known as Shari’ah, a move which many Christians believe to be an adoption of Islam as the de facto religion. The constitution also provides for freedom of religion, however, some states have restricted religious demonstrations, processions, or gatherings as a matter of public security. Business owners and public officials have been known to discriminate against individuals of a faith different than their own in matters of providing services and hiring practices. The same type of discrimination exists between members of different ethnic groups. Certain Christian and Muslim holidays are officially observed.
There is a high degree of tension between Christians and Muslims with a record of violence against both groups. However, conflicts may stem primarily from ethnic and regional differences, since there are a number of reports of violence between different ethnic groups of the same religion.
Nigeria is nearly equally divided between Christianity and Islam. The majorities of Nigerian Muslims is Sunni and are concentrated in the northern area of the country, while Christians dominate in the Middle Belt and south.
According to a 2009 Pew survey 75% of Nigeria’s populations were Muslims. A later Pew study in 2011 estimated that Christians now form the majority of the nation, comprising 50.8% of the population, while Muslims comprised 47.9%. Adherents of other religions make up 1.4% of the population
Islam dominated the north and had a number of supporters in the South Western, Yoruba part of the country. Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa. In terms of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups’ religious affiliations, the Hausa ethnic group in the North is 95% Muslims and 5% Christians, the West which is the Yoruba tribe is 35% Christians and 55% Muslim with 10% going to adherents of other African religions, while the Igbos of the East and the Ijaw in the South are 98% Christians (Catholics) and 2% practitioners of traditional religions.
According to a 2001 report from The World Factbook by CIA, about 50% of Nigeria’s population is Muslim, 40% are Christians and 10% adhere to local religions. But in some recent report, the Christian population is now sightly larger than the Muslim population. An 18 December 2012 report on religion and public life by the Pew Research Center stated that in 2010, 49.3 percent of Nigeria’s population was Christian, 48.8 percent was Muslim, and 1.9 percent were followers of indigenous and other religions, or unaffiliated. Additionally, the 2010s census of Association of Religion Data Archives has reported that 46.5 percent of the total population is Christian, slightly bigger than the Muslim population of 45.5 percent, and that 7.7 percent are members of other religious groups.
In the 1980s, serious outbreaks between Christians and Muslims occurred in Kafanchan in southern Kaduna State in a border area between the two religions, propagated by extreme leaders who were able to rally a young, educated group of individuals who were feared that the nation would not be able to protect their religious group. The leaders were able to polarize their followers through speeches and public demonstrations.
The activities of some of these sects has in recent times led to the loss of lives and properties as they move about destroying government facilities which they see as legacies or replica of western cultures in their various communities. These religious campaigns have seen an increase in gun battles between the members of these sects and security forces with loss of lives witnessed on both sides. Although direct conflicts between Christians and Muslims were rare, tensions did flare between the two groups as each group radicalised. There were clashes in October 1982 when Muslim zealots in Kano were able to enforce their power in order to keep the Anglican House Church from expanding its size and power base as they saw it as a threat to the nearby Mosque, even though the Anglican House Church had been there forty years prior to the building of the Mosque. Additionally, there were two student groups in Nigeria who came into contestation, the Fellowship of Christian Students and the Muslim Student Society. In one instance there was an evangelical campaign organised by the FCS and brought into question why one sect should dominate the campus of the Kafanchan college of education. This quarrel accelerated to the point where the Muslim students organised protests around the city and culminated in the burning of a Mosque at the college. The Christian majority at the college retaliated on March 9 when twelve people died and several Mosques were burnt and a climate of fear brews. The retaliation was pre-planned
All human society from the simplest to the most complex has some form of social inequality (Rasak, 2012). In particular power, prestige is unequally distributed between individuals and social group. In many societies there are also marked differences in the distribution of wealth. Power refers to the degree to which individuals or groups can impose their will on others with or without the consent of those others. Prestige relate to the amount of esteem or honour associated with social positions, qualities of individuals and styles of life. Wealth refers to material possession defined as valuable in a particular society.
It may include land, livestock, buildings, money and other forms of property owned by individuals or social groups. The term social inequality simply refers to the existence of socially created inequalities (Haralambos and Heald, 1995).
Conflicts of social nature and religious conflicts in Nigeria have become huge. efforts are however ongoing so as to find a lasting solution to it for religious affiliations and stratification in Nigeria cut across many areas. Nigeria’s 2006 census did not ask about religious affiliation, and recent estimates of the numbers of Muslims and Christians in the country vary. According to the 2003 Demographic and Health Survey, for example, Muslims constituted 50% of the population, while the 2008 DHS figure is 45% and the Nigerian Ministry of Health’s 2008 estimate is 50%. The Pew Forum’s survey found 52% of the population is Muslim. Regardless of the variation, it is still true that Nigeria has both the largest number of Muslims and the largest number of Christians in the region.
• Odunfa, Sola (2006-03-21). “Nigeria’s counting controversy”. bbc.co.uk (BBC News, 14
December 2005). Retrieved 2006-02-19.
• Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision Archived 16 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine
• In the News: The Nigerian Census
• “World Population Prospects The 2012 Revision” (PDF). United Nations. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
• Nigeria: People, CIA World Factbook, 2012. Retrieved on 6 April 2012