Riots in Kaduna Nigeria in January or March of 2000 and government action and reaction to the rioting [NGA35264.E]

A proposal to adopt Sharia law in Kaduna State resulted in religious clashes between Christians and Muslims on 21 February 2000 in which between 200-1000 were killed (Americans United for Separation of Church and State 1 Apr. 2000; AFP 11 Mar. 2000; DPA 29 Feb. 2000; The Economist 4 Mar. 2000; The New York Times 1 Mar. 2000).

"Some of the protesting Christian youth smashed vehicle windshields and disrupted flow of traffic in the Kaduna metropolis" (P.M. News 21 Feb. 2000; The Washington Post 22 Feb. 2000), and a mosque was burnt down (DPA 29 Feb. 2000). In retaliation, "many homes, banks, shops and businesses belonging mainly to Igbo traders from eastern Nigeria were looted and vandalised by Muslim rioters" (AFP 11 Mar. 2000).

In Aba, "trouble began when the bodies of Aba natives were shipped from Kaduna. Aba residents, furious over the deaths, attacked Muslim Hausa who live in the city and burned the mosque" (ibid.). Violence was also reported in the nearby towns of Owerri and Umuaha (ibid., 29 Feb. 2000).

President Olugusen Obasanjo appealed to both Christians and Muslims "to desist from violence" and the government sent elite troops to Aba (DPA 29 Feb. 2000), a town about 370 miles east of Lagos (The New York Times 1 Mar. 2000). Kaduna state governor Ahmad Maikarfi imposed a dawn to dusk city wide curfew and the military and police were put on high alert (The Washinton Post 22 Feb. 2000.). About 33 policemen who allegedly complied with looters were reportedly arrested (AFP 11 Mar.2000).

Additionally, President Obasanjo and Muslim leaders from the north informally agreed not to succumb to calls for the implementation of strict Islamic law (The New York Times 1 Mar. 2000). After the riots, Kaduna Christian and Muslim leaders reportedly agreed to work together to restore peace and religious tolerance (The Toronto Star 25 Feb. 2000).

By April 2000, order had reportedly returned to Kaduna and the state government was working out the damage suffered by residents of Kachia (Kaduna) with a view to assisting them (Post Express 20 Apr. 2000).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 11 March 2000. "33 Policemen Arrested Over Sharia Riots in Nigeria." (NEXIS)

_____. 29 February 2000. "Bodies Litter Streets in Southern Nigerian Town." (NEXIS)

Americans United for Separation of Church and State. 1 April 2000. "Christian-Muslim Violence Erupts in Nigeria." (NEXIS)

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). 29 February 2000. "Nigeria Again Scene of Heavy Clashes Between Christians and Moslems." (NEXIS)

The Economist [London]. 4 March 2000. "Nigeria Falls Apart Again?" (NEXIS)

The New York Times. 1 March 2000. "Nigerian Leaders Agree to Hold Off Enforcement of Muslim Law." (NEXIS)

P.M. News. 21 February 2000. Bashir Kalenaiye. "Nigeria: Kaduna Boils Over Sharia Muslims, Christians Kill One Another." (Africa News/NEXIS)

Post Express [Ikeja]. 20 April 2000. Okey Ifionu. "Kaduna Government to Assist Sharia Riot Victims." (Africa News/NEXIS)

The Toronto Star. 25 February 2000. "Hundreds Killed in Nigeria Clashes." (NEXIS)

The Washington Post. 22 February 2000. Gilbert Da Costa. "Twenty Killed in Nigerian Sectarian Riot." (NEXIS)