Is Nigeria an Islamic country or Christian country?
The question of religion has always spiked interest both from the local population and international researchers. While Nigeria has declared itself as a secular nation, meaning freedom for all religions, the reality is more complicated than that. There are numerous reasons to think of Nigeria both as a Muslim country and as a Christian country. Opinions vary from person to person, but what is the truth? Continue reading to find out about the religious situation in Nigeria!
Is Nigeria an Islamic country?
Nigeria is a country populated by different ethnic groups that speak different languages. It’s no wonder that we also follow different religions. The two most dominant of them are Islam and Christianity. While in most countries you would have one significantly outnumbering the other, here we have an equal 45% by 45% split, with the other ten percent following Indigenous beliefs. Muslims mostly reside in the Northern and Eastern areas, as well as representing half the population in the Western States.
Interesting fact: Islam was first documented in Nigeria in the 8th century.
One might ask “If the population is equally split, then why do some people call it an Islamic country?” There are several reasons for his opinion. First of all, Nigeria was ruled by Muslim leaders many years, and they shaped the state in a major way. Secondly, the current president of the country is also largely pro-Islamic, making several political decisions in favor of the Muslim community.
Interesting fact: Nigeria is currently the fifth country in the world with the largest Muslim population, consisting of over 77 million people. It stands only behind Indonesia, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
According to American studies conducted in 2016, which analyzed the trends of recent years, Islam will slowly become the prevailing religion in the next thirty to forty years. Their research shows that by 2050 the population of Nigeria will consist of 230 million Muslims and 154 million Christians.
One of the most important factors that suggest such an outcome is the higher fertility rate of the Muslim-populated states. Furthermore, studies also indicate that the difference in the fertility rate has only increased as years went by, as Muslim women on average have two more children than Christian females.
Having read all of that, you might think “So it turns out that Nigeria is Muslim country after all!” Well, it’s not that simple.
Is Nigeria a Christian country?
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While some studies suggest that Islam may prevail over Christianity, you have to remember that at the moment the followers of Christ also account for 45% of the population. And when a religion is held up by almost half of the population, you can’t just ignore them. While Muslims dominate the North and the East, Christians reside in the South and South-East States.
Interesting fact: Nigeria is populated by more Christians than any other country in Africa. About 80 million people of different churches reside in this country.
It’s also important to bring up the fact that while Muslim women have proven to be more fertile in the recent years, such statistics aren’t entirely reliable. The human body is a peculiar thing, and just as easily everything can shift again. Thus, it’s possible that Christian women will bear more children than their counterparts in the future.
Interesting fact: The first Christian missions were set up in Nigeria only in the middle of the 19th century. But as soon as the first churches were built in the country, the Faith spread very fast.
Another factor that favors the Christian side is that while more new Muslims are born, the conversion rate of Islam to Christianity is much higher than the other way around. However, the reasons behind this fact are still a mystery.
In conclusion, we must admit that despite numerous persuasive arguments on both sides, there can’t by a definitive answer to the question of whether Nigeria is an Islamic or Christian country. None of these religions can claim a significant majority, and the way the Nigerian constitution is written, things won’t change in the foreseeable future. In our opinion, that is for the best. Nigeria has to be a country for all people, both the Christians and the Muslims.
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