Lagos, the most populous city in Nigeria and economic hub of the country, is a mirror of complex ethnic and religious configuration of the Nigerian federation. This diverse ethnic and religious character, among other factors, makes Lagos a hotbed of violent ethnic conflicts. This condition is exacerbated by mutual fear and anxiety among various ethnic groups, particularly Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo, about domination, coupled with the pervasive feeling by some groups that other groups are the cause of their socio-economic and political misfortunes. In this setting, hopes and aspirations that antagonism and possible triumph may guarantee socio-economic benefits have often turned minor disagreements into violent conflicts, in which ordinary people are foot soldiers and greatest victims. The core problematic of this research is to investigate the fundamental causative factors and implications of ethno-religious conflict in modern Lagos, Southwest Nigeria. Thus, this paper is a historical inquiry into the basis and impact of Yoruba-Hausa inter-ethnic violence on human security in contemporary Lagos society. The study also explores the opportunities for the attainment of sustainable peace and security within Nigeria. This study posits that the ethno-religious emotion and conviction that continuous antagonism and ultimate triumph against a particular ethnic group(s) assures socio-economic progress is false. The paper concludes that the best recipe for sustainable human well-being, peace and security for Nigerians is to collectively launch a sustained legitimate advocacy against corruption and abuse of public office rather than wasting precious human and material resources on divisive and counter-productive violent ethno-religious conflicts. The study adopts the historical method of data collection and analysis.
Keywords: Ethnicity, Religion, Poverty, Conflict, Human Security, Peacebuilding, Nigeria