PROLIFERATION OF RELIGION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES ON THE SOCIETY (A CASE STUDY IN AKWA IBOM STATE)
This study examined the spread religion and it consequences in the society with the striking and an interesting phenomenon in human life. In the history of religion in AkwaIbom State, it is in evitally bound up with the activities of the missionaries who had been an active in what is known as Nigeria for decades before the British declared southern Nigeria is a protectorate in 1900. In 15th century A.D, the Portuguese tried to spread Christianity but the ambition fizzed due to lack of poor means of transportation language barrier, inadequate funding. In 1807 1833, the British men moved gradually through the aid of slaves trade along Niger and the Cross River in which it was latter abolished by the lander Brothers. Hence, as it spread, Christianity religion absorbed and adopted a large number of element and practices from other religious sources. Since the Christianity experience many reverses during its expansion, the teaching is based on universal wise which is the general commandment. It is therefore, the need to focus attention on the spread of religious and its consequences for higher advancement in studies.
The history of Christian mission in the southern part of Nigeria is in essence the story of the development by various Christian denominations and individual missionaries of Thomas Fowell Buxton’s doctrine about the civilization of Africa. The well digested plans of Christian philanthropists in England for the Nwadialor: Christian Missionaries and Civilization in Southern Nigeria, 1841-1960 174 welfare of Nigeria resulted in the 1841 Niger expedition, having in view the twofold object of striking the slave trade at the root, to introduce industry and legitimate commerce in its place, and of spreading Christianity among the people, as the surest means of elevating Africa in the scale of nations. One of the greatest projectors and master-minds, who framed the plans of that great enterprise with deep foresight and profound thought, (Sir Fowell Buxton), termed the sum total of that which was needed for the benefit of Africa, the Gospel and the Plough — in other words, Christianity and industry. These two words are worthy to be written in letters of gold, and preserved in caskets of silver, According to Ifemesia (1980), consequently, “the British apostles of civilization mobilized all the agencies of civilization- Government agencies, commerce and Christianity into the interiors of West Africa during their civilizing mission in 1841” (p. 87). The role of the Christian missions in the spread of European civilization in southern Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized. It is therefore the task of this paper to highlight the contributions the Christian missions made, especially from the nineteen to the twentieth century towards the development and civilization of the area. It is on record that civilization in Nigeria started around the mission houses. This becomes plain as the importance the Europeans of this age attached to Christianity as a political instrument for furthering the development of commerce and industry is called to ftiind. It is to be remembered that Christianity had a purifying and humanizing impact on the “pagan” and imperialistic vices and violence of the ancient Roman Empire. To this, we (1985) noted that: In the dark ages of the 8th and the 9th centuries, Christianity stood singularly firm in the west as the sole symbol of light and guidance and as the pledge of brighter prospect for the future. The rigours of the feudal oppressions, the disabilities
AkwaIbom State: AkwaIbom State occupies a total landmass of about 8000 square kilometers with a coastline of about 129 kilometers long. The state encompass the Awa Iboe River basin, estate part of the lower Cross River Basin eastern half of the Imo River stamp, it is bounded on the east by the cross river state, on the south west by river state and to the west and North west by Abia State and on the south by the Atlantic ocean.
Lying between latitude 40331 and 50331North and longitudes 70351 and 80251east, she falls within the tropical zone with a dormant vegetation of green foliageof trees, shrubs and oil palm trees belt.
Learning out the intricacies and technicalities of their respective subject matter and methodology, we note that many phenomenon in geography and history involve the interactions or interfaces of time and space. Time and space are exhibited in such historical phenomena as the evolution and spread of man, the renaissance movementin Europe, European colonialism in Africa, and ongoing crisis in the Niger Delta.
With a grow rate of 2.8, Nigeria has one of the fastest growing population rate in the world. urban population growth rate of ten reaching 3.5% by far exceed those in rural areas by 1991 census, AkwaIbom State recorded a total population of 2,409,613 persons. The 2001 census gave a figure of 3,920,208.
Population is a vital development of region.
In some areas river and coastal erosion and even land erosion precipitated by population pressure on land result in the reduction of size of total land. AkwaIbom is the fourth smallest state in area extent among the states of Nigeria after Lagos, Anambra, and Imo States
Climate is one of the many factors that impinge upon life of man in the environmental and man reacts or responds to these impingements. The impact of weather and climate on man has always been of enormous significance. Many activities of man and his behaviours are influenced by one or more elements of climate. In tropics, it is the rainfall, temperature, wind, relative humidity. Etc. All these demonstrate the characteristics, climate of AkwaIbom State in generally stated.
Originally, this region belonged to the humid tropical forest zone of south Nigeria. The national vegetation of this region resulted from the interaction of climate and humidity and rain fall and soil.
The oldest geological facies in AkwaIbom State belogs to the late cretaceous (Nsukka formation) and early Eocene (Imo clay shale group). The older Benin formation of the coastal plain sand, date as Oligocene-pleistocene. This formation covers the entire dissected area of northenIkono, Ibiono, and parts ofItuL.G.As. lateritic profile or red and brownish earth characterize the materials over the bedrock of AkwaIbom State, below this iron stained layers both the pallid and mottled zone are well developed, consisting of iron-stained stands.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The study investigates the spread of religion in AkwaIbom State. Specifically the research aimed at the following objectives:
(1) To trace the origin and the spread of Christian religion to AkwaIbom State.
(2) To evaluate the growth and development of Christianity (religion) right from its past to present day in AkwaIbom State.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This work will be used as a reference work in the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and by churches as well as a other denominations. It may also stimulate further research work in other parts of Nigeria and beyond. Through the recommendation of this study, the leaders of the (CAN) in AkwaIbomwill be properly armed will solution and strength in solving some of their historical problems so as to enhance qualitative and quantitative growth of the religion in AkwaIbom State.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study is limited to the spread (proliferation) of religion in AkwaIbomState. It seek to investigate the spread, rise and expansion of Christianity which have been engulfed since the time of colonial rule. There are some limitation encounter by the researcher during the course of this research work. Beside the constrains of finance and distance to principle parties involved, and the unwillingness of the parties release classified information, the time available, related material form, the problems of bad road.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION
In carrying this research work, the descriptive research and survey methods were adopted. The researcher made use of content or documentary analysis of secondary materials which includes the usage of library and library works of other authors on subject matteruse employed, internet, conference magazines and newspapers. Also interview were conducted on key officers of the Qua Iboe Church with few other congregation from another churches, this serves as the techniques for gathering the needed data for the study..