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Maud GAUQUELIN. Understand the "Jos Crisis" in Nigeria

At first, the " Jos crisis", as Nigerian and foreign media have named it, seems complex and confusing. It is however possible to untangle the reasons for this explosion of violence that took place on 27 and 28 November 2008 in the capital of Plateau State, North of Nigeria. Early December 2008, interviewed by RFI, Daniel C. Bach stated that the main cause of these clashes is to be found in the unequal right to "indigeneity" between the Beroms and Hausas in Plateau State.

The distinction between “indigenes” and “allogenes”, i.e. between locals and immigrants, establishes what amounts to a "right of blood". For inhabitants of Jos like the Beroms and others, a certificate of indigeneity gives them privileged access to scholarships, public employment and land. A solution to the problem would be, according to D.C. Bach, to redefine this right so as to identify all individuals, whatever their background, as Nigerian citizens. In fact, the origin of this lies beyond the scope of this constitutional inequality. In order to shed more light on this problem, in a context where information and foreign media relays are rare, we have interviewed Evangelical Christians, the main Christian movement in Plateau, where the Governor of the State, David Jonah Jang, belongs. These data enable us to understand why the question of indigeneity must not obfuscate the religious aspect of the problem. This constitutes the ideological foundation which transcends the "ethnic" and "political" factors.


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