The major religions in Nigeria are Christianity, Islam and Traditional religion. All these entail the worship of a Deity (God) and have different pattern of belief system.
In a recent survey conducted, the country comprises of 50% Muslim population, 40% Christians and 10% belonging to other religious affiliations.
In this article, we discuss about Christianity, Islam and other types of religions in Nigeria today and their belief.
This religion was founded by Jesus Christ nearly 2500 years ago and has spread throughout the world.
The history of Christianity in Nigeria could be traced back to the 15th century when the cities of Benin and Warri came in christian missionaries from Portugal.
Christians are mostly found in the South east, South-south and in the South-West. There are various denominations making up the Christian populace and they are 31% Protestant, 10% Roman Catholics while other church denominations is about 10%.
From the above statistics, most Nigerian Christians are Protestants. Most of these popular Pentecostal churches in the country include:
- The Redeemed Christian Church of God
- Winners’ Chapel
- Christ Apostolic Church
- Deeper Christian Life Ministry
- Mountain of Fire and Miracles
- Christ Embassy
- The Synagogue Church Of All Nations
- The CommonWealth Of Zion Assembly (COZA)
- The Redeemed Evangelical Mission and
- Foursquare Gospel Church.
All these churches have branches in every state of the federation and are still growing in terms of popularity. Christianity in Nigeria is also affected by ethnicity due to the way it was introduced in different regions of the country.
Most Yorubas for instance, make up the large Anglican population while in Igboland, you will find more of Catholic followership and so on. On the other hand, the Middle Belt of Nigeria where the minority ethnic groups in Nigeria exist also have both Christians and Muslim converts in that region.
Majorly, Christianity in Nigeria is divided into the following denominations:
- Presbyterian and Reformed
- Other Protestant
- White Garment Churches.
While it is true that Nigeria boasts of the largest Christian population in Africa, the same cannot be said of other religions.
Nothern Nigeria is a predominantly Islamic region but have a handful of Christian converts. Through missionary, books and teachings, churches are preaching to northern Christians so as to win more converts for Christ.
Islam is a religion founded by Mohammed, a prophet from the Arab speaking part of the world. Those who follow his teachings are referred to as Muslims.
According to Wikipedia, the history of Islam in Nigeria could be traced back to the 9th century at the Borno Empire during the reign of Mai (king) Idris Alooma (1571–1603), he allowed for the teaching of Islam while the teachings was further propagated throughout the north by Usman Dan Fodio before the advent of colonialism.
Since Polygamy is part of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, it helped increase the Muslim population in the North via early marriages. The effect of these has made Nigeria the largest Muslim population in West Africa today.
You can also find Islam in South West Nigeria amongst the Yorubas but not in the east.
Just like Christianity are divided into denominations with different belief systems, so is Islam divided into groups. The two major groups of this type of religion are the Sunni Muslims and the Shia Muslims.
Sunni Muslims are majorly those who belong to the Sufi brotherhoods or the Maliki School of Jurisprudence. They follow the Qadiriyya, Tijaniyyah and Mouride movement while the Shia muslims (minority) are said to have about 4 million followers of the Nigerian population.
The Shia leader in the country is Ibrahim Zakzaky who is currently held by the government.
Most Northern states where Sharia law is practiced as part of their legal system was gotten from Islamic teachings.
There are other groups not mentioned that are known for their radical extremism. These groups are Jihadists in nature and they are the Boko Haram sect, Maitatsine, Darul Islam, etc.
This type of religion has to do with cultural related practice. It existed in various regions of the country even before the arrival of Christianity and Islam in the country.
The worship of local deities like Sango, Ifa, Ogun, Amadioha, Idemili etc are all traditional religion worshippers that believe in smaller gods who exercise dominance in communities and must be offered sacrifices to appease such deities.
Other religions in Nigeria
Atheism is the disbelief in God and it is a religion spreading fast in Nigeria. This type of religion was gotten from the western countries and it is no surprise that members in this group are former Muslims or Christians.
Hinduism speard into the country through the Hindus missionaries from India and other Asian countries. Many Nigerians have since converted to Hinduism but are in the minority.
Those who follow this belief system obey both the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Bible and Prophet Mohammed in the Quran. It is the mixture of Christianity and Islam practices.
The Grail movement in Nigeria follows the works of Abd-ru-shin who claim that there are things not known even by the Christian doctrine and the Islam teaching in the Quran.
The Reformed Ogboni Fraternity
The Ogboni Fraternity was founded in Nigeria by Ven. Archdeacon T. A. J. Ogunbiyi in 1914. Today the movement has expanded with more than 600 lodges in various states in Nigeria.