Jonah Jang and the Jasawa: Ethno-Religious Conflict in Jos, Nigeria
by Philip Ostien
Conflict between “indigenes” of particular localities, and “settlers” there, is widespread in Nigeria. Sometimes religious difference compounds the problem. This essay studies the indigene-settler tensions in Jos, the capital of Plateau State, which twice now, most recently in November 2008, have erupted into violent clashes claiming many hundreds of lives. The story of the 2008 outbreak is told against its background of ethnicity, religion, local history, local politics, the ambivalent state of Nigerian law on the subject of indigene rights, and, perhaps most harmfully and most intractably, corrupt and incompetent government. The conclusion suggests little hope for quick improvement.