A Crying Economy in a Bleeding State: Effects of Religious and Ethnic Militia in Nigeria

A Crying Economy in a Bleeding State: Effects of Religious and Ethnic Militia in Nigeria

Uzoma Vincent Patrick Agulonye (Lisbon School of Economics and Management (ISEG), University of Lisbon, Portugal) and Daniel Adayi (Lisbon School of Economics and Management (ISEG), University of Lisbon, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8911-3.ch017
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Nigeria's multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-ideological nature is a complexity that should spur a synergy for development in all spheres. The theory of dissipative structures employed suggests that. Contrarily, the pursuit of individual group interests to the detriment of others leads to entropy that dissipates development and economic growth that its population needs. Ethnic and religious militia emerged in response to such problems and threats that has brought in consistent loss of lives and properties which whip the economy and country leaving the state bleeding. Militia internationalisation are important factors discussed as well. This chapter looks at the factors behind the emergence of these militias and the consequences their activities have on local economies of their regions and the national economy.
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In investigating the effects of ethnic and religious militias in Nigeria’s complex system, this chapter employs secondary data to explore relevant contents that helps to understand the subject and answer the questions around the subject matter of this chapter. The theoretical framework approaches complex systems and how complexity could cause productive developments. The people-centric nature of this study enhances an understanding of the effects of militia activities and state security lapses. Applying this theory to the Nigerian situation reveals that Nigerians can benefit from the advantages of its complexity rather than the current sad situation.

The chapter, therefore, attempts to answer these questions.

  • a.

    What factors created militias? And what are the responses?

  • b.

    How does the complex nature of the Nigerian state relate to militias?

  • c.

    What effects does militia activities have on the people’s economic life and the region?



Nigeria is the most populous black country in the world, with over 250 ethnic groups. The UN projected that the population would be 209 843, 780, and the CIA World Factbook put it at 219,463 862 by July 2021 (EASO, 2021: 20). The population is on a 3.2% rise with 41% less than 15years old (NBS, 2018: 12). It is expected to be around 264 million by 2030, with young people within 15-24 years of age making up 20.4 per cent of its population. Nigeria is the 10th largest producer of petroleum and the largest economy in Africa that relies much on oil and is exposed to price shocks. It has one of Africa’s most prominent military.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Dissipative: Has to do with the wasteful dispersal or destruction of a system or things by scattering it.

Ethnic Militia: This chapter uses ethnic militias for any non-state combatant actor pursuing an ethnic interest and membership.

Economy: Simply refers to the total sum of or the general economic activities of a person, group, society, region or state.

Militia: Is a group of armed or unarmed civilians carrying out military activities with or without state support and pursuing remote interest whether religious, political, ideological, ethnic or fanatical.

Multi-Ethnic: Refers to the existence of more many ethnic groups in a society or country.

Boko Haram: Means Western education is sin. It is a name adopted by a terror or religious militia group in Nigeria.

State: As used in this chapter represents a political entity with defined territory, government and laws either within a country or as a country. It also means the condition of something or an expression.

Religious Militia: Refers to any combabtant group that pursues extreme interest including attacks on non-members or people and things outside its faith.

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