Tosin Tunrayo Olonisakin, Sulaiman Olanrewaju Adebayo


Throughout the history of mankind, preference and preservation of one's kin or kind has been evident, an up-close observation of this behaviour birthed such theories as kin selection, social identity theory, realistic group conflict theory and reciprocal altruism. The sense of ''weness'' and ''theyness'' has largely precipitated most devastating wars and conflicts that have besieged the world, though incompatible goals or scarce resources are usually fronted as responsible. Such wars and conflicts have been called by different names like racism, xenophobia, nationalism or ethnocentrism. The term xenophobia has particularly gained wide recognition most especially in the wake of South-Africa’s crisis in the past. Nigeria has equally experienced such conflicts in the past and still does, however the magnitude of the violence in Nigeria has been played down due to the term used to describe such violence; sometimes it is called prejudice or discrimination or sometimes ethnocentrism or hegemony. This paper makes the argument that the phenomenon of xenophobia exists in Nigeria, may be more common than we realise and also may be an adaptive mechanism employed by people for personal and group survival. Examples of xenophobic acts in Nigeria are discussed and theoretical explanations for their existence and perpetuation are addressed, together with recommendations of managing their occurrences.


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xenophobia, religious crisis, inter-ethnic conflict, moral disengagement, norm of anonymity, political crisis, homo-interaction, Nigeria


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