Fading Boundaries: Religion, Violence and Spatial Mapping of Nigeria’s Jos North Urban Centre

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:15
Oral Presentation
Amidu ELABO, Princeton Theological Seminary, USA
This paper argued that the vulnerability of localities in Plateau State, Nigeria, to political manipulations and reoccurring conflicts is grounded more in primal spatial ideologies than economic and political aspirations, even though these factors are equally important. Historically, the exogenous agents of colonial expedition imposed a western spatial framework on the indigenous spatial forms. As a result, “native” lands were demystified and de-ethnicized within the context of globalisation to satisfy capitalist and hegemonic ambitions which in turn have led to the creation of identities devoid of cohesive communal qualities in the African sense. In the light of such reconfiguration, presently there seems to be an ongoing (re)ethnicization and de-ethnicization of geographical boundaries in ways that appear to sustain the practice of territorialisation and the capacity for religious othering in the city of Jos North. Also, such spatial transitioning combined with waves of ethnic migrations have given rise to renewed ethnic pride and ancestral affinities fused with religious loyalties in the face of growing local ethnic diasporic communities in the city. Thus, this study by exploring the spatiality of Jos North urban existence re-interrogate existing political worldviews that political leaders draw on as they experiment with democracy since the transition from military regimes to civilian rule in 1999. Such condition also begs the question about the extent that such worldview engenders integration as well as allow ethnic migrants (that are a minority) to cultivate a deep sense of belonging and spatial rootedness. By drawing on ethnographic data and with the aid of ESRI ArcGIS (Geographical Information System software) to represent the city’s religious spatial formations and transitioning, the argument of this paper will be grounded in critical spatial theories.