How do we know when our approach to solving conflicts is right? All too often, the world’s response to violence is more violence. But we are called to live as peacemakers and to walk on the path of righteousness and justice (Matthew 5:9; Psalm 23:3).
Nigeria is incredibly diverse, with various ethnic and religious groups. This complexity has its challenges, as groups are sometimes pitted against one another. But there is also a strong commitment to co-existence within Nigeria’s pluralistic society.
The U.S. response to Nigeria, as it faces multi-layered violent conflicts and armed actors threatening the nation’s unity, has primarily been to provide military assistance. This approach is counterproductive and has spawned additional violence.
Experience and research show that militarized approaches not only cost more, but they are also less effective than nonviolence. Peacebuilding efforts address root causes, mend relationships and build trust.
As Christians, we hope for a time when nations and armed actors “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Micah 4:3).
This issue of the Washington Memo provides an overview of U.S.-Nigeria policy and suggests strategies to overcome violent conflicts through nonviolent peacebuilding and trauma initiatives. These kinds of programs will help lead to a healthy and peaceful Nigeria.
- Beyond warplanes, to holistic peace
- U.S. policy: Humanitarian assistance
- U.S. policy: Arms and militarism
- Looking ahead
- Peace clubs help defuse tensions
- Worship resources: Unity in diversity
- Facts about Nigeria
- POLICY PRINCIPLES