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This study was carried out to examine the role of Christian religion education in promoting peaceful co-existence in Nigeria. The sample size of the study comprised of 120 respondents from Kaduna State who were selected through a stratified random sampling technique. The cross sectional survey design was adopted for the study. Findings obtained shows that the study area were lack of forgiveness, unemployment, religious fanaticism, hatred, poverty and bias reporting by the mass media. Effects of conflict were high rate of loss of live and properties, lack of mutual trust and destruction of community and state properties. Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are made: Government should promote peace, reconciliation and tolerance through routine sensitization, curriculum planners should see the need for the introduction of a course of study on peaceful co-existence in schools, religious leaders should lay emphasis on teaching their members on the dignity of human life and parents should endeavor to give their children adequate moral training.

                                                CHAPTER ONE


1.1 Background to the Study

Christians are taught to emulate the life of Jesus Christ, this implies the total application of Christ’s lifestyle in tackling social challenges of the society. God’s initial idea is for the church to change society, drawing many lost souls to God and not the other way round. The church is expected to act as an agent of reconciliation between waring communities, and not the reason why neighboring society turn against each other. Every church either big or small is meant to show concern towards it host community particularly that of her members not just hampering on saving the souls. The church which represent Christ has three major roles to play in our society which are: evangelism which is to preach Christ, edification which is to practice Christ, and benevolence which is to personify Christ.

Peaceful co-existence is an indispensable ingredient that helps in the promotion of growth and development in a society. Peace is very essential for the progress of every society. Abindu (2002) underlined that the need of peaceful co-existence and conflict prevention movement in the society, start from the home with the examination of how children socialize and how they are indoctrinated. Peace is the actions that build bridges across social barrier, create harmony and promote peaceful co-existence and development. Peace promote social; and economic stability and so development will follow naturally, and that peaceful co-existence promotes freedom of worship of different religious groups, and creates room for the spread of one’s faith. Daudu (2005), added that where there is peaceful co-existence, there is integration among people of different religions and tribal backgrounds. Peace in the society bring about good management which help in doing efficient work and promote the best use of resources.

The persistent conflict in Kaduna State has affected all spheres of lives, education, economic, social and otherwise. School children and the teachers are massacred, school buildings were burnt down, churches and Mosques were also set a blaze. The generation of children are growing up in an environment that is characterized with extreme violence and fear. Tank (2008), described the present situation in the area as an uneasy calm, or negative peace where the youths have become a depot from which to recruit merchants who unleash mayhem in the society. Hence the need to catch them young through Christian religion education and mould their character positively.

For the sake of peaceful co-existence diverse approaches have been adopted at various levels. Such efforts have been inspired by the different governments or their agencies NGOs, Civil society groups, individuals, as well as the school to promote the culture of peace in the local area. Peace is a state of harmony between people or groups, freedom from strife, peace is something that individuals need to adopt in the society to build a healthy nation. It is important to deeply understand the dynamic of student’s peaceful engagement from the international, national, state down to local levels. Omotayo (2005), observed that Geneva women gathered for five (5) days in October, 2002 to discuss new initiatives aimed at promoting world peace and eliminating the causes of conflicts. In line with the efforts to promote peace and its sustainability, the United Nations declared the year 2000-2010 as international declaration for a culture of peace and non-violence for schools and children of the society.

To best understand the role of the church in maintaining peace and harmony in the 21st-century it is imperative that we understand what peace truly entails. Although, there have been several definitions of peace ranging from the erroneous definition of peace as the mere absence of war to political definitions of peace. A single and universally accepted definition of peace has eluded humanity, just as the quest for peace has been one of the preoccupations of humans since the dawn of history. Peace is known to be a universal phenomenon that everyone desires and wishes to enjoy endlessly. In the Christian context, the word Peace is translated from the Hebrew word ‘Shalom’, which is a key word in the Bible and it is at the center of how God wants us to live on earth. But in the Nigerian context peace has been far-fetched since the 1960 independence, there have been reoccurring scenarios of conflicts, ethno-religious crisis, protest, political clashes, bandits’ attacks and militancy till date. The African conception of peace recognizes the fact that in order to ensure lasting peace some elements should be present. These include “acknowledgement of guilt, showing of remorse and repentance by a perpetrator of injustice, asking for and receiving of forgiveness, and paying compensation or reparation as a prelude for reconciliation and peaceful coexistence” (Francis, 2006 p.26)

Christian Religion Education be it primary, secondary, tertiary institutions, seminaries and theological colleges exposes students to principles of dialogue. Imo (1995) added that, apart from teaching, courses that deal with dialogue, students study Islam and other world religions as part of their syllabi. This would help them respect other people’s faith hence live in peace with one another

However, the teachings of Christian Religion Education has been given the bearest minimum of time allocation on the school time table. Also, very little emphasis has been placed on teachers professional training in Christian Religion education, largely as a result of them is guided belief that anyone can teach Christian religion Education, (Ishaya, 2007). Illori (2004) said the possession of training specifically in Religion education is a first priority in the mind of appointing authorities. As a result religion education has been taught in secondary schools over the years largely by teachers who have been either untrained or only partially trained in the subject.

Ilori further added that the teaching of Religion education amount to nothing less than an exercise in sheer indoctrination, the teaching of tradition and practice as if they were facts. Mamam (2007), in his view, explains that the need for peace cuts across tribal, ethnic, political and cultural lines. Therefore Christian religion education often is the bridge that connects peace to people from different backgrounds and orientations. It is the source of unity for uniting and bringing people together to form a good community of believers.


Christian Religion education teaches peace and tolerance, and its promote the virtue of peaceful co-existence such as, forgiveness, reconciliation, love, respect for life and other values that promote non-violence leading to progress and lasting peace in the school. Christian Religion education has always been a tool for peace building, because we all believe in the existence of God.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

There has been increased cases of disruption to peace and harmony in Nigeria today despite the church’s tireless efforts to sustain peace as demonstrated by Jesus Christ. The church has always taught the members on the act of non-retaliation as taught by Jesus which helps to absorb violence instead of escalating it, hence every cycle of violence provoking revenge, which in turn provokes more violence is broken by the simple act of tolerating the violence and avoiding retaliation. Religious crisis, cultural or ethnic conflicts, political agitations arising from the feeling of marginalization, tribal or ethnic politicking whose result is always negative and anti-unity, kidnap activities across, the country, bandits attacks on officers and the Fulani herdsmen brutality have become a reoccurring security challenge in Nigerian. Recently, the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) and many police stations was overpowered by “unknown gunmen” who kidnapped and killed officers on duty in the country. Notwithstanding all this insecurity challenges, every human being treasures and values security, without which there cannot be unity, peaceful co-existence, development, Unity and Progress. Hence there is need for security to enhance peaceful coexistence in Nigeria. The study on the role of the church in maintaining peace and harmony in Nigeria came in time to fill this gap.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The primary aim of this study is to investigate the role of Christian religious education in promoting peaceful coexistence in Nigeria. The specific objectives are;

  1. To examine the contributions of Christian religious education to the wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of ethno-religious crisis.
  2. To ascertain how Christian religious education could be used in tackling the issues of insecurity in Nigeria.
  3. To present a theological model that will aid peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.
  4. To identify the factors disrupting peace and harmony in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions were used to achieve the above objectives:

  1. Does Christian religious education contribute to the wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of ethno-religious crisis?
  2. Could Christian religious education be used in tackling the issues of insecurity in Nigeria?
  3. Are there possible solutions to the problem of division and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria?
  4. What are the factors disrupting peace and harmony in Nigeria?

1.5 Research Questions

H0: Christian religious education do not contribute to the wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of ethno-religious crisis

H1: Christian religious education do contribute to the wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of ethno-religious crisis.

H0: there are no possible solutions to the problem of division and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria?

H2: there are possible solutions to the problem of division and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria?

History of Islamic education in Nigeria - Legit.ng

1.6 Significance of Study

It is often imperative to question what would be the significance of any endeavor, be it academic or otherwise. This is also applicable in this present research. The researcher anticipates that, the findings of this research will be very useful to the Nigerian government, religious bodies and the general public on the role Christian religious education plays in sustaining peaceful coexistence in our society. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The study covers all the students and lecturers of Christian Religious Studies in some selected Colleges of Education in Kaduna State. This is because the researcher’s area of focus is on the role of Christian Religious Education in in general as regards the issue of societal peace and harmony in Kaduna State. The reason for choosing Colleges of Education is because it produces teachers who are expected to serve as good models for the students and the society at large.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

The following constraints tend to hinder the flow of the study; 

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.9 Operational Definitions of Terms

Role: According to an online Dictionary, Role is defined as the function assumed or part played by a person or thing in a particular situation.

Church: A church building or church house, often simply called a church, is a building used for Christian religious activities, particularly for Christian worship services. The term is often used by Christians to refer to the physical buildings where they worship, but it is sometimes used (by analogy) to refer to buildings of other religions.

Peace: According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Peace is defined as a state of transquility or quiet.

Harmony: According to Cambridge Online Dictionary, Harmony is defined as a situation in which people are peaceful and agree with each other, or when things seem right or suitable together.

Peaceful coexistence: This is simply an atmosphere of living together in peace rather than in constant hostility.

Religious Crisis: A religious war or holy war (Latin: bellum sacrum) is a war primarily caused or justified by differences in religion. In the modern period, debates are common over the extent to which religious, economic, or ethnic aspects of a conflict predominate in a given war.

Niger Delta: Delta State is an oil and agricultural producing state in Nigeria. It is situated in the region known as the South-South geo-political zone with a population of 4,112,445

Boko Haram: The Islamic State in West Africa or the Islamic State’s West Africa Province, formerly known as Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād and commonly known as Boko Haram until March 2015, is a jihadist terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria, also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon.



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