Culture of Nigeria - history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family
The National Question in Nigeria is probably one of the most complicated in the level deeper socio-economic factors strain ethnic relations. INTRODUCTION. Nigeria is a heterogeneous society with ethnic pluralism sustaining human relationship by assessing, anticipating . observed, after independence inter-ethnic rivalry and struggle for The Nigeria Coat of Arms ( ). 2. Nigeria is in West Africa, along the eastern coast of the Gulf of Guinea, and just north of the equator. . This sparked unprecedented levels of interethnic teamwork. .. The blood relationship allows these women certain leeway and influence.
Countries with HDI value below 0. In less than a decade, Nigeria has slipped from a middle-income status nation to a low-income category, and is currently regarded as one of the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Fall declared the overwhelming percentage of Nigerians as poor. Oronto Douglas, Head of the Publicity Bureau of the Chicoco movement, a Pan Niger-Delta consciousness group lays the blame for the abject poverty being experienced in the Niger-Delta on the Federal Government and transnational oil companies.
He sees the increase in the incidence of prostitution with the attendant rise in cases of unmarried mothers and abandoned babies with mixed racial parentage Nigerian girls and Caucasian fathersand inter-ethnic warfare usually over control of oil rich areas and fishing zones as prominent evidences of poverty in the area.
This arises out of the refusal to re-channel some of the profits to improve the lot of the communities as well as rebuild the environment that suffers from their operations. Hunger a constant companion of most Nigerian children was described by Mr. Ismail Sevagelding, World Bank vice-president for environmentally sustainable Development ESD inas the manifestation of the extreme forms of poverty and destitution.
The gap between the rich and the poor has never been greater. While the rich got richer, the condition of the majority has deteriorated with the income of single individuals equalling and surpassing the combined income of millions of Nigerians. Manipulations These factors provide classic hot beds for ethnic clashes. Recognising this the ruling class consciously exploits the poison of ethnicism as a means of keeping the working class permanently divided and diverting their attention away from the real problems confronting them - the crisis of Nigerian capitalism.
Nor is this policy of "divide and rule" an exclusive phenomenon. It is the resort of the ruling class internationally. It is a conscious policy of the ruling class that allows for their continuing oppression and exploitation of the poor working masses, their continuing hold onto power. The conscious manipulation of ethnic consciousness under terrible social conditions gives rise to periodic explosions of ethnic clashes.
This is also a reflection of the inability of the ruling class to foster genuine unity among the masses. It confirms the fact that capitalism and ethnic violence are interlinked; you cannot have the former without the latter. However, the working masses of the various ethnic groups know that the same forces are oppressing them. Were the workers that marched with Adams Oshiomhole to protest the 3. Did their population not cut across diverse ethnic groups?
This is not to say that there is nothing like the subjugation of smaller ethnic groups by dominant ethnic groups. It is rooted in the subjugation of backward nations by advanced nations. Both are rooted in the class structure of society-in the capitalist system. The call for self-determination by the ruling class of some ethnic groups is intended merely to strengthen their position. It will not better the condition of the working class in those regions under capitalism.
It will merely provide the ruling class of this group with a "country" to fleece. The promise of paradise if all groups go their separate ways is no less as cruel a hoax as the one made by the early nationalists during the struggle for independence.
Self Determination The Aguleri-Umuleri internecine war is being waged by communities with the same history, culture, language, etc.
They are culturally homogeneous. Had Biafra been a reality they would have occupied the same nation. The same holds true for the Ife-Modakeke war. Yet, these "brother" communities have been waging wars of extermination for years now.
This is only one of the complex aspects of the demands for self-determination. Another is the integration of various ethnic groups. People are no longer living in homogenous regions. They are not separated one from the other by a "Great Wall of China". Diverse ethnic groups are dispersed all over the cities of Nigeria, absorbed in the work force, commercial activities, owning houses and business in these places, inter-marrying, etc.
These population movements have further given the national question a complex character. Consequently, the issue of self-determination should be handled cautiously. How, for instance, does one link the various riverside shanties of Ajegunle, Arogbo, Warri, etc. This idea is untenable under the present conditions, i. Attempts at self-determination will only lead to ethnic cleansing of horrendous proportions, if it is confined within the narrow limits of capitalist society.
This is no argument for a forced union of peoples but rather an attempt to combat all bourgeois national influence on the workers movement, all attempts to split the workers movement on ethnic lines, uniting the exploited and their exploiters. In fact, Marxists would defend the rights of all nations, linguistic and cultural groups, to autonomy and self-determination.
That is only possible within the context of a struggle for the abolition of capitalism and for the socialist transformation of society. The only way to defeat capitalism is through the united struggle of the workers and youth of all Nigeria's ethnic groups, a united struggle of the Ijaw, Itsekiri, Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo, etc. The struggles of the Ijaw, Itsekiri, etc, masses are not separate from the struggle of the Nigerian workers, and can achieve victory only when linked together.
A united working class struggling against the capitalist class would include in its programme the RIGHT of different ethnic groups to self-determination within a Socialist Federation of the peoples of Nigeria. The struggles taking place are the direct result of the crisis of capitalism. They reflect the determination of the oppressed layers to find a solution to their problems.
The problems of the working class, however, cannot be solved by a capitalist Odu'a republic, a capitalist Ijaw republic, etc. Deepening Crisis Experience proves a correlation between the class struggles and ethnic clashes. When the class struggle is on the ascendant class-consciousness overrides ethnic consciousness. The current capitalist crisis is bound to worsen.
As usual, the Nigerian working class will continue to bear the burdens of this crisis. There is no way out of the prison house of poor wages, unemployment, ethnic clashes, etc. This deepening crisis will affect workers of all ethnic groups and will increasingly pose class issues to the mass of workers. Neither the proposed Niger-Delta Development Commission, NDDC the latest in the string of failed commissionsnor the establishment Local Government councils on every street will solve the basic problems of modern Nigeria under a capitalist set-up.
Capitalism is at a dead end. It has no beacon ahead. No 'ideology' capable of uniting and inspiring the people. It eats away at their hearts and souls and seeks to corrupt, divide and weaken them with ethnic consciousness.
Only the working class can lead humanity out of this dark night of capitalist barbarism. To do this it needs a party capable of uniting the workers and oppressed layers of the different ethnic groups in the struggle to transform society on socialist lines.
Now more than ever the options posed to humanity are socialism or barbarism. The various ethnic clashes are nightmare visions of what capitalism has to offer if it is not overthrown. There is a palpable feeling of fear and insecurity in the air.
The impression one got was of having entered a war zone. There was an unending line of people fleeing the battle zone with their meagre belongings on their head; there was a lost looking old woman who had lost her senses having witnessed the brutal killing of her only son. A middle aged pregnant woman collapsed under the heavy burden she was carrying. Some couple of streets further an almost naked man clad in underpants was trying without much success with his children to put out the fire consuming their home.
Here and there burnt out hollow shells, which were once people's homes; everywhere destitute peoples-whose communities have been sacked by armed bands; markets have been razed, groups of children were scattered in the streets crying for their parents. Now and then tongues of flames shooting up into the skies signify a new burning house; the skies were darkened by thick spiralling smokes.
Meanwhile, as Ajegunle burns armed gangs continue to terrorise the streets. This seems to give an aura of invincibility on the band of thugs. In the face of increasing threat to the masses by these sectarian and tribalist groups, we must not lose all perspective. We must not forget the conditions that strengthened them.
The ruling class funds and organises these groups, with the sole aim of dividing the ranks of the working people via raising reactionary ethnic sentiments. Pseudo-leftist and human rights groups further swell their ranks. The responsibility for the violence meted out to the masses rest with these group. All these are lies consciously being promoted to give the impression that these organisations are invincible. It is not true that this is a clash between the Yoruba and Ijaws; this is a clash between the two sectarian tribal groups with the masses caught in the line of fire.
Here in Ajegunle people are poor, hungry and tired. They only ask for one thing-peace. Will this treaty assure lasting peace? Will it bring back the lives that have been lost and the properties that were destroyed? We must not trust in this brokered peace made by those who should be tried for crimes against humanity nor in a police force whose deliberate powerlessness has been revealed.
Only an armed working class community defence can assure lasting peace and protect the lives of all within the community irrespective of tribe or religion. Many soon became involved in politics, often criticizing chiefs for keeping to their traditional ways.
A new divide within Central Ibadan, the second-largest city. Nigeria is the most densely populated country in Africa. Because being a successful merchant was based on production and merit, not on traditional community standing, many former slaves and lower-class people soon found that they could advance quickly up the social ladder.
It was not unusual to find a former slave transformed into the richest, most powerful man in the area. Christian missionaries brought Western-style education to Nigeria as Christianity quickly spread throughout the south. The mission schools created an educated African elite who also sought increased contact with Europe and a Westernization of Nigeria.
Inas European countries engaged in a race to consolidate their African territories, the British Army and local merchant militias set out to conquer the Africans who refused to recognize British rule. Inafter squelching the last of the indigenous opposition, Britain officially established the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.
The spread of overt colonial control led to the first and only time that the ethnic groups in modern Nigeria came together under a commonly felt sense of national identity. The Africans began to see themselves not as Hausas, Igbos, or Yorubas, but as Nigerians in a common struggle against their colonial rulers.
The nationalistic movement grew out of some of the modernization the British had instituted in Nigeria. The educated elite became some of the most outspoken proponents of an independent Nigeria. This elite had grown weary of the harsh racism it faced in business and administrative jobs within the government. Both the elite and the uneducated also began to grow fearful of the increasing loss of traditional culture.
They began movements to promote Nigerian foods, names, dress, languages, and religions. Increased urbanization and higher education brought large multiethnic groups together for the first time. As a result of this coming together, the Nigerians saw that they had more in common with each other than they had previously thought. This sparked unprecedented levels of interethnic teamwork. Nigerian political movements, media outlets, and trade unions whose purpose was the advancement of all Nigerians, not specific ethnic groups, became commonplace.
As calls for self-determination and a transfer of power into the hands of Nigerians grew, Britain began to divest more power into the regional governments. As a result of early colonial policies of divide and conquer, the regional governments tended to be drawn along ethnic lines. With this move to greater regional autonomy, the idea of a unified Nigeria became to crumble. Regionally and ethnically based political parties sprang up as ethnic groups began to wrangle for political influence.
Nigeria gained full independence from Britain on 1 October Immediately following independence, vicious fighting between and among political parties created chaos within the fledgling democracy.
On 15 January a group of army officers, most of whom were Igbo, staged a military coup, killing many of the government ministers from the western and northern tribes. Six months later, northern forces within the military staged a countercoup, killing most of the Igbo leaders.
Anti-Igbo demonstrations broke out across the country, especially in the north. Hundreds of Igbos were killed, while the rest fled to the southeast.
On 26 May the Igbo-dominated southeast declared it had broken away from Nigeria to form the independent Republic of Biafra. This touched off a bloody civil war that lasted for three years. Inon the brink of widespread famine resulting from a Nigeria-imposed blockade, Biafra was forced to surrender. Between five hundred thousand and two million Biafran civilians were killed during the civil war, most dying from starvation, not combat.
Following the war, the military rulers encouraged a national reconciliation, urging Nigerians to once again become a unified people.
While this national reconciliation succeeded in reintegrating the Biafrans into Nigeria, it did not end the problems of ethnicity in the country. In the years that followed, Nigeria was continually threatened by disintegration due to ethnic fighting. These ethnic conflicts reached their height in the s. After decades of military rule, elections for a new civilian president were finally held on 12 June Abiola won support not only from his own people but from many non-Yorubas as well, including many Hausas.
This marked the first time since Nigeria's independence that Nigerians broke from ethnically based voting practices. Two weeks later, however, the military regime had the election results annulled and Abiola imprisoned.
Many commanders in the Hausa-dominated military feared losing control to a southerner. They played on the nation's old ethnic distrusts, hoping that a divided nation would be easier to control. This soon created a new ethnic crisis.
The next five years saw violent protests and mass migrations as ethnic groups again retreated to their traditional homelands. The sudden death of Nigeria's last military dictator, General Suni Abacha, on 8 June opened the door for a transition back to civilian rule. Despite age-old ethnic rivalries, many Nigerians again crossed ethnic lines when they entered the voting booth. On 22 February Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba who ironically lacked support from his own people, won the presidential election.
Obasanjo is seen as a nationalist who opposed ethnic divisions. However, some northern leaders believe he favors his own ethnic group. Unfortunately, violent ethnic fighting in Nigeria continues. Many also blame the OPC for sparking riots inwhich killed more than a hundred others, most of them Hausas.
Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space With the influx of oil revenue and foreigners, Nigerian cities have grown to resemble many Western urban centers. Lagos, for example, is a massive, overcrowded city filled with traffic jams, movie theaters, department stores, restaurants, and supermarkets. Because most Nigerian cities grew out of much older towns, very little urban planning was used as the cities expanded.
Streets are laid out in a confusing and often mazelike fashion, adding to the chaos for pedestrians and traffic. The influx of people into urban areas has put a strain on many services.
Power cuts and disruptions of telephone service are not uncommon. Nigerian architecture is as diverse as its people. In rural areas, houses often are designed to accommodate the environment in which the people live. The Ijo live in the Niger Delta region, where dry land is very scarce. To compensate for this, many Ijo homes are built on stilts over creeks and swamps, with travel between them done by boat. The houses are made of wood and bamboo and topped with a roof made of fronds from raffia palms.
The houses are very airy, to allow heat and the smoke from cooking fires to escape easily. Igbo houses tend to be made of a bamboo frame held together with vines and mud and covered with banana leaves. They often blend into the surrounding forest and can be easily missed if you don't know where to look. Men and women traditionally live in separate houses. Much of the architecture in the north is heavily influenced by Muslim culture. Homes are typically geometric, mud-walled structures, often with Muslim markings and decorations.
The Hausa build large, walled compounds housing several smaller huts. The entryway into the compound is via a large hut built into the wall of the compound. This is the hut of the father or head male figure in the compound. Food and Economy Food in Daily Life. Western influences, especially in urban centers, have transformed Nigerian eating habits in many ways. City dwellers are familiar with the canned, frozen, and prepackaged foods found in most Western-style supermarkets.
Foreign restaurants also are common in larger cities. However, supermarkets and restaurants often are too expensive for the average Nigerian; thus only the wealthy can afford to eat like Westerners. Most urban Nigerians seem to combine traditional cuisine with a little of Western-style foods and conveniences.
Rural Nigerians tend to stick more with traditional foods and preparation techniques. Food in Nigeria is traditionally eaten by hand. However, with the growing influence of Western culture, forks and spoons are becoming more common, even in remote villages. Whether people eat with their hand or a utensil, it is considered dirty and rude to eat using the left hand.
While the ingredients in traditional plates vary from region to region, most Nigerian cuisine tends to be based around a few staple foods accompanied by a stew. In the south, crops such as corn, yams, and sweet potatoes form the base of the diet.
These vegetables are often pounded into a thick, sticky dough or paste. This is often served with a palm oilbased stew made with chicken, beef, goat, tomatoes, okra, onions, bitter leaves, or whatever meats and vegetables might be on hand.
Fruits such as papaya, pineapples, coconuts, oranges, mangoes, and bananas also are very common in the tropical south. In the north, grains such as millet, sorghum, and corn are boiled into a porridge-like dish that forms the basis of the diet. This is served with an oilbased soup usually flavored with onions, okra, and tomatoes. Sometimes meat is included, though among the Hausa it is often reserved for special occasions.
Thanks to the Fulani cattle herders, fresh milk and yogurt are common even though there may not be refrigeration. Alcohol is very popular in the south but less so in the north, where there is a heavy Islamic influence. Perhaps the most popular form of alcohol is palm wine, a tart alcoholic drink that comes from palm trees.
Palm wine is often distilled further to make a strong, ginlike liquor. Nigerian breweries also produce several kinds of beer and liquor. Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Food plays a central role in the rituals of virtually all ethnic groups in Nigeria.
Special ceremonies would not be complete without participants sharing in a meal. Normally it is considered rude not to invite guests to share in a meal when they visit; it is even more so if the visitors were invited to attend a special event such as a marriage or a naming ceremony.
Until the past few decades, Nigeria had been self-sufficient in producing enough food to feed the population. However, as petroleum production and industry began to boom in Nigeria, much of the national resources were concentrated on the new industries at the expense of agriculture.
Homes and market near the Lagos Lagoon. Nigerian cities have grown to resemble western urban centers. Nigeria, which had previously been a net exporter of agricultural products, soon needed to import vast amounts of food it once was able to produce for itself. Since the s, Nigeria's economy has been based on oil production. The oil-rich economy led to a major economic boom for Nigeria during the s, transforming the poor African country into the thirtieth richest country in the world.
However, falling oil prices, severe corruption, political instability, and economic mismanagement since then have left Nigeria no better off today than it was at independence.
Since the restoration of civilian rule inNigeria has begun to make strides in economic reform. While hopes are high for a strong economic transformation, high unemployment, high inflation, and more than a third of the population living under the poverty line indicate it will be a long and difficult road.
Oil production has had some long-lasting ethnic consequences as well. While oil is Nigeria's largest industry in terms of output and revenue, oil reserves are found only in the Niger Delta region and along the coast. The government has long taken the oil revenues and dispersed them throughout the country.
In this way, states not involved in oil production still get a share of the profits. This has led to claims that the minority ethnic groups living in the delta are being cheated out of revenue that is rightfully theirs because the larger ethnic groups dominate politics.
Sometimes this has led to large-scale violence. More than 50 percent of Nigeria's population works in the agriculture sector. Most farmers engage in subsistence farming, producing only what they eat themselves or sell locally. Very few agricultural products are produced for export. Land Tenure and Property. While the federal government has the legal right to allocate land as it sees fit, land tenure remains largely a local issue. Most local governments follow traditional land tenure customs in their areas.
For example, in Hausa society, title to land is not an absolute right. While communities and officials will honor long-standing hereditary rights to areas of land traditionally claimed by a given family, misused or abandoned land may be reapportioned for better use. Land also can be bought, sold, or rented. In the west, the Yoruban kings historically held all the land in trust, and therefore also had a say in how it was used for the good of the community.
This has given local governments in modern times a freer hand in settling land disputes. Traditionally, only men hold land, but as the wealth structure continues to change and develop in Nigeria, it would not be unheard of for a wealthy woman to purchase land for herself.
Aside from petroleum and petroleum-based products, most of the goods produced in Nigeria are consumed within Nigeria. For example, though the textile industry is very strong, nearly all the cloth produced in Nigeria goes to clothing the large Nigerian population. Major agricultural products produced in Nigeria include cocoa, peanuts, palm oil, rice, millet, corn, cassava, yams, rubber, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, timber, and fish.
Major commercial industries in Nigeria include coal, tin, textiles, footwear, fertilizer, printing, ceramics, and steel. Oil and petroleum-based products made up 95 percent of Nigeria's exports in Cocoa and rubber are also produced for export. Nigeria is a large-scale importer, depending on other countries for things such as machinery, chemicals, transportation equipment, and manufactured goods.
The country also must import large quantities of food and livestock. Social Stratification Classes and Castes. The highest tier of Nigerian society is made up of wealthy politicians, businessmen, and the educated elite. These people, however, make up only a tiny portion of the Nigerian population. Many Nigerians today suffer under great poverty.
The lower classes tend have little chance of breaking from the vicious cycle of poverty. Poor education, lack of opportunities, ill health, corrupt politicians, and lack of even small amounts of wealth for investment all work to keep the lower classes in their place. In some Nigerian ethnic groups there is also a form of caste system that treats certain members of society as pariahs.
The criteria for determining who belongs to this lowest caste vary from area to area but can include being a member of a minority group, an inhabitant of a specific village, or a member of a specific family or clan. The Igbo call this lower-caste group Osu. Members of the community will often discourage personal, romantic, and business contact with any member of the Osu group, regardless of an individual's personal merits or characteristics.
Because the Osu are designated as untouchable, they often lack political representation, access to basic educational or business opportunities, and general social interaction. This kind of caste system is also found among the Yoruba and the Ibibios. Symbols of Social Stratification. Wealth is the main symbol of social stratification in modern Nigeria, especially in urban areas. While in the past many ethnic groups held hereditary titles and traditional lineage important, money has become the new marker of power and social status.
Today the members of the wealthy elite are easily identifiable by their fancy clothing and hairstyles and by their expensive cars and Western-style homes. Those in the elite also tend to have a much better command of English, a reflection of the higher quality of education they have received. A man places skewers of meat in a circle around a fire. Rural Nigerians favor traditional foods and preparation techniques. Wealth also can be important in marking social boundaries in rural areas.
In many ethnic groups, those who have accumulated enough wealth can buy themselves local titles. For example, among the Igbo, a man or a woman who has enough money may claim the title of Ozo.
For women, one of the requirements to become an Ozo is to have enough ivory, coral, and other jewelry for the ceremony. The weight of the jewelry can often exceed fifty pounds.
Both men and women who want to claim the title must also finance a feast for the entire community. Nigeria is a republic, with the president acting as both head of state and head of government. However, this pattern was broken on 29 May as Nigeria's current president, Olusegun Obasanjo, took office following popular elections. Under the current constitution, presidential elections are to be held every four years, with no president serving more than two terms in office.
The Nigerian legislature consists of two houses: All legislators are elected to four-year terms. Nigeria's judicial branch is headed by a Supreme Court, whose members were appointed by the Provisional Ruling Council, which ruled Nigeria during its recent transition to democracy.
All Nigerians over age eighteen are eligible to vote. Leadership and Political Officials. A wealthy political elite dominates political life in Nigeria. The relationship between the political elite and ordinary Nigerians is not unlike that between nobles and commoners.
Nigerian leaders, whether as members of a military regime or one of Nigeria's short-lived civilian governments, have a history of doing whatever it takes to stay in power and to hold on to the wealth that this power has given them. Rural Nigerians tend to accept this noble-peasant system of politics. Low levels of education and literacy mean that many people in rural areas are not fully aware of the political process or how to affect it.
Their relative isolation from the rest of the country means that many do not even think of politics. There is a common feeling in many rural areas that the average person cannot affect the politics of the country, so there is no reason to try. Urban Nigerians tend to be much more vocal in their support of or opposition to their leaders. Urban problems of housing, unemployment, health care, sanitation, and traffic tend to mobilize people into political action and public displays of dissatisfaction.
Political parties were outlawed under the Abacha regime, and only came back into being after his death. As of the presidential elections, there were three main political parties in Nigeria: It grew out of support for opposition leaders who were imprisoned by the military government in the early s.
The PDP is widely believed to have received heavy financial assistance from the military during the elections. The APP is led by politicians who had close ties to the Abacha regime. The AD is a party led by followers of the late Moshood Abiola, the Yoruba politician who won the general election inonly to be sent to prison by the military regime.
Social Problems and Control. Perhaps Nigeria's greatest social problem is the internal violence plaguing the nation. Interethnic fighting throughout the country, religious rioting between Muslims and non-Muslims over the creation of Shari'a law strict Islamic law in the northern states, and political confrontations between ethnic minorities and backers of oil companies often spark bloody confrontations that can last days or even months.
When violence of this type breaks out, national and state police try to control it. However, the police themselves are often accused of some of the worst violence. In some instances, curfews and martial law have been imposed in specific areas to try to stem outbreaks of unrest.
Poverty and lack of opportunity for many young people, especially in urban areas, have led to major crime. Lagos is considered one of the most dangerous cities in West Africa due to its incredibly high crime rate. Nigeria Table of Contents Relations between ethnic groups remained a major problem for such a large and pluralistic society in In precolonial times, interethnic relations were often mistrustful, or discriminatory, and sometimes violent.
At the same time, there were relationships, such as trade, that required peaceful communications. The most widespread communication was in the north between pastoral and agricultural peoples who traded cattle for farm products, and pasturage rights for manuring.
Farmers might also buy a few cattle and have them cared for by pastoralists. Emirate rulers who normally raided and pillaged among non-Muslim village groups often established peaceful "trust" relations with residents of one or two villages; those residents then acted as hosts and guides for the raiders, in exchange for immunity for themselves.
More subtle and peaceful exchanges involved smaller ethnic groups in the middle belt, each of which specialized in one or more commodities. In towns and along trade routes, occupations such as smithing, producing cotton, selling cattle, weaving, house building, and beer making were often confined to, or correlated with, ethnically defined units.
Ethnic conflicts in Nigeria - Only the working class can offer a way out
Thus, ecological and economic specializations promoted peaceful interethnic relations. Conversely, promulgating conflict, mistrust, and stereotypes in ethnic relations were droughts; competition for control over trade routes or allies; resistance to, or the creation and maintenance of, exploitative relations; and other factors.
The civil war taught Nigerians that ethnic conflicts were among the most destructive forces in the life of the nation. By ethnic conflict was suppressed and carefully controlled so that any outbreak or seriously publicized discrimination on ethnic grounds was considered a matter of national security. In the few outbreaks that occurred since the war, the federal government acted swiftly to gain control and stop the conflict.
Nevertheless, the way in which ethnic relations might threaten the security of individuals and groups was among the most serious issues in national life, especially for the millions of Nigerians who had to live and work in interethnic contexts.
Even in the more cosmopolitan cities, more than 90 percent of marriages were within rather than between ethnic units, or at least within identical regions and language groups.