Ahmadiyya Movement in Nigeria, The

The Ahmadiyya Movement was founded in British India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1836-1906), an Islamic reformist and mystic, who in 1891 claimed that he was a prophet, mujaddid (“renewer”), and the messiah/mahdi anticipated by Muslims. The movement split in two following the death of Ahmad’s successor, Maulana Nur ad-Din in 1914, with one group affirming Ahmad’s messianic status (The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam) and a second group regarding him as a reformer, but otherwise adhering to mainstream Islamic beliefs that understand Muhammad to have been the final prophet (the Lahore Ahmadiyya...

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Aladura Churches in Nigeria

The Aladura churches are independent African churches (or African Instituted Churches—AICs), that emphasize prayer and healing. Aladura is the Yoruba word for “praying people.” The Aladura churches reflect the indigenization of Christianity through its use of African symbols, traditional healing modalities, and worship styles.

Where earlier churches emphasized salvation in the hereafter, the Aladura churches offer solutions to this-world problems. Aladura churches are led by a...

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Anglicanism in Nigeria

Anglicanism is a Protestant Christian tradition that emerged during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. It includes the Church of England and a variety of others around the world united by shared doctrine and practice under the Anglican Communion umbrella organization. The Archbishop of Canterbury is regarded as the unofficial spiritual leader of the international Anglican community.

The Anglican Church Mission Society (CMS) members Samuel Ajayi Crowther—who would become Nigeria’s first African Anglican bishop—and Rev. J.F. Schön were part of the original British...

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Baha'i Faith in Nigeria, The

The Baha’i faith was founded in 19th century Iran by Mirza Hosayn-Ali Nuri Baha’ullah (d. 1892) and developed from Babism, an Iranian messianic movement, and Ithna’ashari Shi’i Shaikhism. Baha’is acknowledge numerous prophets, including Muhammad, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, and most recently Baha’ullah. The Baha’i Faith is monotheistic and universalist, recognizing the truth claims of other religious traditions. Followers believe in progressive revelation, such that each age has its prophet and revelations specific to that time. Both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims consider Baha’is to be heretical,...

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Baptist Christianity in Nigeria

There are roughly 14 million Baptists in Nigeria, most of whom are affiliated with churches under the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), an umbrella organization that grew out of missionary work begun in the 1850s by the American Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

American Baptist missionaries began arriving in what would come to be Nigeria in 1850, and included both white and black missionaries. White missionaries were initially deterred by work in Africa and instead focused on Asia, with racism being a considerable factor, followed by fears of malaria. As a result, early...

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Boko Haram

Boko Haram is a militant Islamist organization whose main target is the secular Nigerian government, although its victims are largely Muslims in Nigeria's north. Boko Haram means “Western Education is forbidden” in the Hausa language, reflecting a teaching of the early Boko Haram leader Muhammad Yusuf, who maintained that western-style education and holding government jobs are religiously forbidden under Islam. The group’s Arabic name is Ahl al Sunna li al Da’wa wa al Jihad, which can be translated as “Salafis/Sunnis for Calling People to Islam and Engaging in Jihad.”

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Catholicism in Nigeria

Catholicism arrived in the territory that would come to be known as Nigeria with Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, though their missionary efforts were largely unsuccessful and Catholicism virtually disappeared by the 17th century. Modern Catholic missions were established by priests from the Society of African Missions of Lyon in 1865, beginning in Lagos, and a vicariate was established in Benin in 1870. By 1920, numerous missions had appeared throughout Igboland, eventually outnumbering Anglican Church Missionary Society missions. Holy Ghost priests and priests from the St....

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The Hausa-Fulani are an ethnic designation that includes the Hausa and the Fulani, ethnic groups that are spread throughout West Africa with smaller populations in other African regions. The combined Hausa-Fulani category refers to Hausa and Fulani living in northern Nigeria. The Hausa-Fulani make up 29% of Nigeria’s total population.


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Indigenes are people who can trace their roots back to the community who originally settled in a given location. Anyone who cannot do so is considered a non-indigene, a settler or an “allogene.” The concept took root in the 1979 Nigerian Constitution, and although not expressly supported in the 1999 constitution, it has continued to be a factor in state and national policy.

The principle behind the concept of “indigenity” was to guarantee ethnic parity in education and employment opportunities and to preserve traditional ways of life for Nigeria’s numerous minority groups. But...

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