Islam and Ethnicity: The Case Study of Ombatse Crisis 2011-2015 in Nasarawa State, Nigeria
This paper examines the activities of the Ombatse cult group and the violent conflicts that occurred as a result of their activities which took place in some parts of Nasarawa State from 2011 – 2015. The aim of the study is to portray how Islam is against ethnic bigotry. It also intends solutions based on Islamic teachings on how to resolve disputes especially which is ethnically related. It also discussed its effects on Islam and Muslims in the State. The paper found out that peace is one of the basic tools for the development of any society, as Islam encourages peaceful co-existence among/between Muslims and non- Muslims as well as co-existence among other ethnic nationalities as Islam prohibits ethnicity and nationalism. Therefore, the paper further revealed that the major actors who participated in the crises were predominately Muslim youths from the ethnic groups involved in the violent conflict. The research also unveils the context and undertone which precipitated establishment and those who financed activities of Ombatse group in the areas studied. Regarding methodology, this study utilizes a qualitative technique. In-Depth Interviews (IDI) were conducted to obtain data for the study. The study concludes that some Muslim who are ignorant of the basic tenets of Islam were easily brainwashed to show allegiance to their ethnic identity than Islam. The Ombatse mobilized support along ethnic consciousness in order to achieve hidden political motives of those who initiated the cult group.
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List of Respondents during In-Depth Interview (IDI)
Allu Maga. 89 Years, Retired School Teacher, interviewed in his Residence at Nassarawa Eggon, on 3rd October, 2015.
Baba Alakio Aku. 78 Years, Ombatse Chief Priest, interviewed in his Residence at Alakio, Lafia, 20th July, 2013.
Christ Mamman. 45 Years, Former President, Eggon Cultural Development Association (ECDA), interviewed at Aren Eggon’s Palace, Nassarawa Eggon, on 7th June 2014.
Haruna Musa (Ziko). 38 Years, Chairman Ombatse I., interviewed at Bukan Sidi, Lafia, Nasarawa State, on 18th June, 2014.
Jibrin Yusuf, 52 Years, Chief Imam, Nassarawa Eggon Central Masjid, interviewed at Nassarawa Eggon, on 17th June 2015.
Muhammad Affoya. 89 Years, Farmer, interviewed at Nassarawa Eggon, Nasarawa State, on 20th June, 2015.
Muhammadu Akwala. 71 Years, Chief Imam Ombatse group, interviewed at Ungwan Tiv, Lafia, Nasarawa State, on 19th September, 2015.
Rabu Musa. 88 Years, Ombatse Leader Agyaragu, interviewed at Agyaragu, Lafia, Nasarawa State, on 14th August, 2015.
Shuaibu Gwamnati. 54 Years, Chairman Ombatse II, interviewed at Kantsakuwa, Lafia East, Lafia, Nasarawa State on 17th June, 2014.
Yusufu Ido. 39 Years, Leader of Ombatse, interviewed in Ungwan Moyi, Nassarawa Eggon, Nasarawa State, on 13th July, 2015.
Zakari A. idde. 54 Years, Chairman, Jama’atu Nasrul Islam (J.N.I) Nassarawa Eggon Local Government Area. Interviewed at Ugwan Dangaladima, Nassarawa Eggon, Nasarawa State, on 23rd July, 2015.
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