This work examines the History of Muslims-Christian activities among the Igala people of Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State, from 1979 to 1992. The work examines the activities of Christians and Muslims. It also shows the relationship between all the religions that exist in the area since 1979 and ends up in 1992. The work defines the geographical location of the people of Ankpa. It has also discussed the advent of Islam and Christianity in the area. It examined the features of Islam and Christianity. The work highlighted the facilitating factors, mode and way of interaction. It gives suggestions and draws a conclusion. In the finding, it is discovered that in Ankpa Local Government Area, Muslims, Christians and traditional religion have been in peace since the introduction of the religions into the area but sometimes intra-religious violence do occur among them. The secret of this success is discovered to be hinged on mutual respect, accommodation, tolerance, dialogue and understanding among the religions in the area. Both Secondary as well as Primary sources were used to accomplish the write-up.
Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State was created out of the Igala native authority (INA) in 1979.1The Local government underwent a political subdivision when Omala and Olamaboro Local Government Area were carved out in 1989 and 1991 respectively. Ankpa local Government Area has a population of 267,353 according to the 2006 National census.2 Igala is the main ethnic group but has equally absorbed other ethnic groups such as the Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Agatu and migarant Fulani.
The main religions of the inhabitant are Islam, Christianity and traditional religion. The name Ankpa originated from the Red Scenery called ‘‘EKPA’’ meaning ‘‘RED’’ later turned to be known and called Ankwa by the Hausa migrant and Ankpa by the Colonial masters.4 From the earliest, both religions adopted a gradual, quietist attitude towards the culture of the people which saw them integrate, intermingle and contribute immensely to the development of the society.5 Muslims, Christians and traditional religion engage themselves in activities that promote good understanding between them.6 The attitude of flexible engagement with others was generally effective in Ankpa Local Government Area because all the religions presented non-violently and largely without compulsion.7 Through the positive religious activities which include marriage ceremonies, festivals and funerals are attended by other followers of religions depending on interest and commitment.
Before the coming of Islam and Christianity in the 19th century to Ankpa Local Government Area the inhabitant are traditionalists. People travel from other areas like Imane, Olamaboro, Omala and Enjema to Ankpa to a water deity called ‘‘Ojaji’’ meaning (head of a River) which they believe to solve their problems like diseases, witchcraft and other spiritual attack in the communities.9 In Ankpa Local Government Area, the activity between the followers of these religions is cordial but sometimes crises do occur between them. They are all duty bound to serve the community when a call for such work arises. In this way, the people interact cordially together. Islam and Christianity have played a very important role in the History of the people and the coming of both religions to the area has changed the pattern of living in the area by bringing social changes and positive transformation to the people.
1.1 Statement of the Research Problem
The basic factor that necessitated this research is to examine the activities of the three major religions of Igala people of Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi from 1979 to 1992. The researcher will establish the transformation that occurs among the religions and the coming of Islam and Christianity to the area within the period of this study and the level of its consciousness among the people.