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Abstract

With so much emphasis on religion as a source of conflict, the role of religion and by extension religious actors as strong forces in conflict resolution is usually overlooked. For a long time, research in the Conflict Resolution field failed to focus on the role religion plays in conflict resolution (as opposed to its role in making conflicts intractable) or specifically to the unique features and strengths of faith-based actors in conflict resolution. In Nigeria, as well as in Africa and other parts of the world, faith-based organizations (FBOs) have been increasingly involved in attempts to end conflicts and make peace. This study examines the role of FBOs in conflict resolution through a case study of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) since its establishment. It examines how (meaning through which mechanisms), and how successfully FBOs and the techniques they use for peace contribute to conflict resolution. CAN claims that since its inception, it has embraced dialogue as the primary form of resolution to disruptions in general and religious crises in particular. CAN is also interested in championing the interests of Nigeria’s Christians against what it sees as an “islamicization” of Nigeria’s polity and the question is to what extent are the goals of conflict resolution compatible with a partisan approach to Nigeria’s social issues. The study suggests that if the CAN must play a pivotal role in conflict resolution in Nigeria, it must develop a robust approach and step up its operations.

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