Peace-building in Nigeria : a missio-political critique of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN)'s relationship with the Plateau State within the context of violent conflict in Jos, Nigeria (2001-2010).
This study focuses on a critique of the nature of church-state relations that exists between the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) and the Plateau State, Nigeria, with a view of assessing the extent to which the nature of this relationship influenced the experience of violent conflict within Jos, Nigeria, especially from 2001 to 2010. This study argues that when there is a confusion of roles and lack of clarity in their relations, whereby it facilitates violence and inhibits the development of the people, thereby denying them fullness of life (John 10:10 NIV). Only when Church and State understand and use power, “as being everywhere, diffused and embodied in discourse, knowledge, and ‘regimes of truth,’ making us what we are, and not concentrated, not possessed, not coercive or an instrument of coercion, not concentrated in structures, not episodic, not sovereign, and not an act of domination” (Foucault, 1998:63-68), will their relations be constructive and foster the well-being of all the citizens of Jos, Plateau State. Power ought not to be construed as a negative force that is utilized to discriminate and exploit the powerless, but should be a positive and constructive force that promotes the well-being of all within society (Foucault, 1991:194). If the exercise of power fails to promote life through peaceful and common participation of all its citizens in the decisions that affect their well-being, it inevitably becomes destructive. Based on the research question that undergirds the study, I utilize a systematic literature reviews method to assess the existing literature on church-state relations with special emphasis on relevant literature from the Nigerian context, covering the colonial and post-colonial contexts, as well as the wider sub-Saharan African context. The study explores the historical models of church-state relations that have emerged from the history of Western Christianity as a background to explain how they promoted or inhibited peace-building in their contexts. This served as a sign-post to the evolution of the nature of church-state relations that existed between the COCIN and the Plateau State during the colonial and post-colonial periods of Nigeria’s history. The study is a critique of the prevailing model of church-state relationship in the socio-political and economic context of the Nigerian State. The aim was to assess the extent to which it promoted or inhibited peace-building in Jos, and how it influences their current relations and peace-building process in the State. In search of an improved peace-building process in Jos, the study suggests a Suum-Ngi model of religions-state relations as an alternative African model for relations between religions and Plateau State as a replacement of the extant Church and State model that has served only to foster violence.
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