The Role of Electronic Media in the Crusade against Religious Intolerance in Nigeria

The Role of Electronic Media in the Crusade against Religious Intolerance in Nigeria

Since primordial times. the major concern of man has been self preservation. He desire above all things security, that is a feeling of well being, contentment  and being at peace with nature (Tukur 200). However, the elusive nature of these values made ,ore complex by the uncertainties of life has motivated man into a perpetual search for reassurance from the supernatural. This is the idea of religion and many religions have sprung up since man’s existence here on earth. However religious influenced  by and influences the society in other words, like after aspect of human existence religious is born out of man’s interaction with his environmental (Nwokoro, 1998)

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Like in all forums of interaction, sometime it smooth and progressive while at other times it could be turbulent, volatile and very destructive in religious principles and methods. It is however worthy of note that religious intolerance could only be explained when one understood the differences in the interpretation of the concept of religious and worship by the various religious seats/groups

According to the Islamic religious there is only one God who is called “Allah” (Eze, 2002). The life of muslem are governed by three authorities, the Quaran, the Haddith and the Sharia., the Quran is their holy book which they believed to have been revealed to Mohammed (The founder of Islamic religion) by the angel Gabriel the Haddith or Sunnah is the record of actions or saying of the prophet. The sharia (or canon law) which was based on the principles of the Quran, regulates a moslem sense (Abosed 1998).

Ilslam involves five principle obligations and five basic belief (Obinze 1999). The five basic belief include the following

  1. Belief in angel
  2. Belief in one God (Allah) (Surah 23:116,117)
  3. Belief in many prophet but one message. Adam was the first prophet which others include Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Maohammed (the seal of the prophet)
  4. Belief in a judgment day
  5. Belief in God’s Omniscience, prior knowledge and determination of all events.

On the other hand, the five principal obligations or observance of a Moslem are as follows.

  1. Frequent repetition of the creed (no god but Allah, mohammed is the messenger of Allah)
  2. Saying prayers (salt) towards Mecca five time a day
  3. Charity the obligation to give a percentage of one’s income and of the value of some property
  4. Fasting, especially during the mouth long celebration of Ramasam
  5. Going for pilgrimage, in which case every male Moslem is required (at least once in his life time) to make the journey to Mecca. Only illness and poverty are life excuses.

In contrast to Islamic belief the christens believed in one God (Jesus Christ) whose death on the cross salvaged mankind from damnation (Nwoye 1998). The Christian also believed strongly on the Bible (Their Holy Book) as well as on life after death. The Christians equally are strong believes on handwork, justice and fair play

The Christian Bible which is being regarded as the “Corner stone” of Christian religious, Consist of the 39 book of the Hebrew scripture, called by many the “old testament” and the 27 book of the Christian Greek scriptures (often called the new testament). Thus the bible is a miniature library of 66 books written by 40 men in the course of 1,6000 years of history (1 yawn 2000)

It is important to note here that while the Christian are usually clam and diplomatic in their interactions with the members of other religious the Moslem are usually more fanatical. This is because of the teachings of their Holy Book that to kill a non Moslem (an infidel) will help them to make heaven. The voueties in religious interpretation often lead to religious conflict on many occasion (Mgbo 2000)

Adeyanji (2001) reported that religious divisions and differences in Nigeria which are predicated on historical antecedents have great potential for religious on historical antecedents  have great potentials for religious intolerance, rival icy and outright of religious in Nigeria can create is very obvious. This danger is real and had in several cases erupted into actual killing, mining, burning and looting the properties of religious opponents. The manta sine uprising in 1980, the kano roits in 1982, 1984, 1985, the Ok riots of 1986, the Bauch riots of 1991 and the Knao and Kaduna riots of 200 are the testimonies of the extent of damage religious conflict can cause in a society where differences in religious belief are treated with little carelessness.

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The difficult relationship existing between Orthodox Christians and the Pentecostals cannot be ignored for example the “Weekend Times” of January 18, 1997 )p.6) reported the move by the national restoration movement (an organization of the Pentecostal church leaders) to worn some leaders of the Orthodox churches to be windful of their utterance in public as they were capable of causing disfavor and feelings this more portends an ill-wind that will blow up no one any good.

From the foregoing, it is clear that the practice of each religion in the country has always brought out the worst in us and each day the results get usher. It seems therefore that conflict will always attend the practice of religious in the country unless of course religious is outlawed. Conversely, the religious adherents must device ways and means of acceptance co-existence for corporate survival.


Religions had been a vital aspect of the life of mankind for a time immemorial. However, in Nigeria the intolerance and misunderstanding among the various led groups/sections had on many occasions led to civil unrest resulting to unwanted destruction of lives and properties, e.g. Kano Riots of the 1980s and the Kaduna and Jos riots of the 1990s.

The occurrence of these religious riots are widely reported in the country’s electronic media (the radio and the Television) the electronic media had equally be used as a tool for exposing the absurdity of such religions uprising. Despite this regions intolerance and conflict appeared to persist in Nigeria. How would the electronic media be effectively applied in the crusade against religious intolerance in Nigeria in this question presents the problem that necessitate this research.


The objectives of this research are as follows

  1. To identify the roles of the electronic media in the crusade against religions intolerance in Nigeria.
  2. To discuss the impact of the electronic media towards reducing the incidence of religions uprising in Nigeria.
  3. To highlight and appraise the extent of coverage of religions uprising by the Nigerian electronic media.
  4. To suggest the strategies for making the Nigeria electronic media more effective in terms of crusading against religions intolerance in the country.


This study will be guided by the following research questions

  1. What are the roles of the electronic media in the crusade against religion intolerance in Nigeria?
  2. What impact had the Nigeria electronic media made in terms of reducing the incidence of religions uprising in the country
  3. Had the Nigeria electronic media made total coverage of all the religions uprising in the country?
  4. What are the strategies for making the Nigeria electronic media more effective in terms of crusading against religious intolerance in the country?



Ho:    The Nigeria electronic media had not made any significant impact in the crusade against religious intolerance

H1:    The Nigeria electronic media had made positive impact on the crusade against religious intolerance


Ho:    The activities of the Nigeria electronic media had not induced tolerance among religious groups.

H1:    The activities of the Nigeria electronic media had not prompted inter-religious tolerance in Nigeria.


The findings and recommendations to be made in this research, if implemented will benefit all Nigerians in many ways. This is because it will reduce the occurrence of religious riots uprising in this country. The country’s nationals citizens will thus be free to live in any part of the country without fear of molestation or being murdered by religious fanatics.


The scope of this research borders on the electronic media and its role in the crusade against religious intolerance. The research is limited to the residents in Awaka, Anambra state.


This chapter contain the relevant literature on the role of the electronic media in the crusade against religious intolerance in Nigeria. This chapter contain the following sub heading.

  1. The Nigeria electronic media – A historical overview
  2. The causes of Religious Intolerance in Nigeria
  3. The Nigeria Electronic media and the crusade against religions intolerance in Nigeria.
  4. The electronic Media and social integration
  5. Summary of the Review.


In Nigeria the electronic media of the television, the radio and the Internet (Obafemi 2000) these media of communication are vital forces of social change in the country. It is worthy of note that an exposition on the historical aspect of these media in Nigeria will throw a light to the significance of their roles in the crusade against intolerance in the country.


Radio Broadcasting in Nigeria owes its birth to the colonial policy which demanded sharing of information between the colony and the colonial lords (Anya 2000). In 1932 the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) extended its services to Lagos. The operation was then very crude because it involved the installation of a loudspeaker in office and this was able to relay BBC services. This was what latter metamorphosed to federal Radio corporation of Nigeria (Radio Nigeria) during this period, ownership of the radio was monopolistic since it was the exclusive right of the federal government (Agbo and |Ukozor 2000)

This scenario, however, charged in 1960 when chief Obafemi Awolowo ( the then premier of western Nigeria) established the western Nigeria broadcasting corporation (WNBC) from then to its present day, many commercial radio station have been set up in many states of the federation. (Ugo 1999). The proliferation of radio stations in Nigeria had gone to the extent that today, almost all the states of the federation own at least one radio station. In addition of this, private individual had started operating radio stations in the country. Notable among these radio stations (both state owned and private radio station) are as follow

  1. Broadcasting corporation of Abia state
  2. Enugu state Broadcasting service
  3. Kaduna state Radio corporation
  4. Ebonyi state Broadcasting services
  5. Kwara state Broadcasting Service
  6. Lagos state Radio corporation
  7. Kano state Radio Corporation
  8. Anambra state Broadcasting service
  9. River state Broadcasting corporation
  10. Oyos State Broadcasting service
  11. Broadcasting corporation of Ogun state
  12. Osun state Broadcasting corporation
  13. Delta state Broadcasting corporation
  14. Minaji System Radio
  15.  Ray power
  16. Cosmo (fm) radio
  17. Edo state Broadcasting corporation.


The introduction of the television in Nigeria started with the establishment of the western Nigeria television (now NTA Ibandan) on 31st October 1959 (Kumumyi 1997). The main idea that informed the transfer of television (TV) technology was the view of educational and social planners who perceive the TV as a possible panacea for many problems of development in the country.

Following the establishment of the western Nigeria Television (WNTV) the other two regions of the country (the eastern region and the Northern region) established their individual TV stations. The creation of the 19 states by the General Yakubu Gowon’s administration further motivated the states (19 in number) to establish their own TV stations (Odoh 2001)

The TV in Nigeria is purveying a homogenized brand of popular culture either copied or borrowed from the west. This may well advance the process of modernization and many also encourage mass production techniques. However it is some how destructive of the indigenous political and cultural self expression the danger is that the TV in Nigeria has gradually abandoned the element of autonomy from government control and is now in the indirect service of the government (Akoni 2002)

As a medium for general cultural communication the TV continues to expand rapidly although from a much smaller and mode urban base than the radio. Although the TV remains confined primarily to the urban areas of the country as well as to the relatively elite population, the number of receivers has expanded rapidly as could be seen from table 2.1 the point
































(source: Nigeria Broadcasting corporation fact sheet 2001) to note here is that the programming which these TV viewers see continues to be largely imported, much of it from the USA and Britain. However, here is a trend towards the emergence of national TV production centers particularly in Abuja, Lagos, Ibandan and Enugu which produces programmes of increasing appeal to both country’s national and the neighboring countries. This notwithstanding, the nations TV will outcome to be an international medium with a high degree of foreign cultural influence (Adetona 2001)


The internet made its debit in Nigeria in the 1990s and since then it has revolutionalized the information sector of the economy. The electronic mail is part of what makes the internet thick. The usefulness of the electronic mail (E-Mail) cannot be over emphasized as it as now revolutionalized communication notion wide. The e-mail facilitate the sending of messages in double quick time can also be sent on the internet directly to a fax machine. International telephone calls can now be made at the rate of local calls through the internet telephony (Odoh 2001)


Absence (1998) reported that conflict is a fact of society and that it is inevitable. This is because no two persons (and sometimes groups) can stay together for an appreciable period of time without some form of disagreement in view of the fact that interest value and opinions may clash.

It is also important to note that most conflict have multiple causes. Generally, political, economic, ethnic or other consideration of personal or group egoism come into play. Sometimes the religious factor forum in element or it is utilized, hi-jacked as it were to stir up the parties to the conflict (Eze 2000)

Since conflict are inevitable. It is clear that religious conflict are bound to occur in any society where tow or more different religious sect exist together, what causes the general concern about religious conflict is that the type of conflict that emanates from religions intolerance is dysfunctional in nature. This implies that religions conflict is that from of disagreement which usually involves the intent to eliminate harm subjugate one or the other of the parties and usually result in a permanently soiled relationship, loss of life and properties and general insecurity and uncertainty among individuals or groups (Obinze, 1999)

Uwandu (1990) reported that the major causes religions intolerance and conflict in Nigeria include

  1. Clash of interest among the various religions bodies in the country (e.g Christian, Moslem etc.)
  2. Faculty organization of the various religions seet
  3. Aggressive tendencies in the psychological make up of the covert e.g the Moslem fundamentalist
  4. Ethnocentrism
  5. Incompatible values and benefits
  6. Competitions and provocation.

Chukwu (2000) stated that religion, which largely involves values and beliefs has constituted a major source of conflict both in historic times and in the present dispensation. Religious differences, according to him have high potency in causing disunity among people the Northern Ireland. British wars, the Israeli – Palestiman impase the 11th century crusade, the Jihad and the Nigeria Moslem Christian wars are all religions conflicts resulting out of religious differences and disagreement.

According to Nwoye (1998) religion is a potent divisive factor in the social organization/relations among Nigeria communities practical traditional religions which was Bequeathed to them by their forefather who has tremendous power over human activities and they held in awe and reverence. This led to driving various means of community with the spiritual word and the establishment of various places of worship in order to maintain a close relationship with the  supreme being through the intermediaries that inhabit these places of worship (Iyam 2000). The advent of islam in northern Nigeria through the Jihad of utlman dan fodio in 1704 and Christianity several years inter disrupted a new element of going through human media to God. Life has not been the same since then because of the conflict between these two major religions seets.

In view of the precarious groups in the country there are constitutions provision for religions such as the following.

  1. Section 23 of the Nigeria (constitution) order in council of 1960 recognized freedom of religion and the freedom of change religions belief either as an individual or as a group. By implication, a Moslem can change to Christianity and vice versa without molestation.
  2. The constitution of the second Republic stated in clear terms the state neutrality in religious matters according to section 10 of this constitution. The government of the federal of the state shall not adopt any religion as state religion.

These constitution provisions regard Nigeria as a secular state in which no religion is considered official and the citizens are allowed to progree any religions of their choice and in fact are permitted to remain atheists. This obviously informed the determined resistance of some constituent Assembly members in 1988 to allow the introduction of the Sharia Law into the Nigeria legal system, which is noted, in Islamic religions (Turkur 2000)

However, these by no means imply that Nigeria has no interest in religion, it is just a secular state and not a secularized state in view of certain religious practices adopted by the state include the following.

  1. Litigants swear by the bible or Koran in the courts
  2. Taking of oaths of office (political) ends with so help me God.
  3. The line of the second stanza of the National Anthem calls on God to “Direct our noble cause”
  4. The constitution opens with “God” and closes with “God”
  5. Political decision appointments, public holidays and expenditure of the state fund are determined by religion.
  6. Federal character also considers religions factors.


According to Ogbuonyeoma (2001) the electronic media are veritable tools for the crusade against religion intolerance in Nigeria for instance the electronic media could be applied for Building bridges across various religions through the broadcasting of programmes that preaches inter-religions dialogue (Ike, 2001) when such inter religious dialogu is sincerely promoted via the electronic media, the Nigeria people will sooner of later begin to enjoy some of its fruits for instance it has been observed that when people meet with a different religious conviction, they would become able to asses their own religious better to seek a more exude understanding of it and to articulate in a cleaner way its belief, rituals and code of conduct (Chikwe, 1999) moreover, the cultural and philosophical expressions influenced by one religious where that religious predicate  can inspire people of another who come into contact with that culture and influence their own way of expressing their religions.

Secondly, the electronic media could be used to find the fruit as well as expose error being made by various religious sections in the country. By doing this, the electronic media is fulfilling the libertines theory of the press (Ekeocha 2000) according to this theory, the purpose of the media is to help find the truth, inform, interpret and entertain. A central and recurring claim of this theory is its claim that free and public expression is the best way to arrive at truth and expose error.

Thirdly, the electronic media is used to bring people of various religious together by expressing cultural and religious values and symbol which are essential to their identity and continuing in the society. This help yo reduce the incidence of religious crisis. In the country. This is in line with the stimulus response theory of the mass media which sees individuals as anomic and the power of the media as direct and dependent on sources rather than recipient (Mohammed 2000).

Fourthly, without the electronic media producing meaningful programmes ecumenism and integration, no real progress in terms of enhanced religious tolerance can be made. This is because man is not infallible and somebody has to will him to order whenever he derails. And this role is reserved mainly to the Nigeria electronic media (Nwokoro 1998)

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  1. mustapha mutari efe says

    Can I get material on this project topic: Radio and the crusade against religious intolerance(a study of radio kogi)

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