This paper interrogates the connection between colonial administrative policies, its urban planning strategies and contemporary conflicts in an African city. Urban design can shed light on the socio-political processes in the evolution of the city in Africa. Apart from the master-servant relationship that characterized Euro-African relationship in the built environment, colonial regularization, and rationalization of urban space foregrounded power relations between different African groups in the city. This promoted struggles for space between different African groups – indigenes and settlers. Relying on interviews, focus group discussions and archival sources, this article discusses the ways in which historical forces and colonialism, in this case, colonial administrative policies and urban planning ethos, promoted a certain spatial ordering and power relations among disparate racial, ethnic and religious groups and the grievances they invigorated underlie nascent ethno-religious conflicts in Jos. It does so because conventional explanations in the mushrooming literature on urban conflicts and violence in Nigeria have all too often presented the conflicts as though they are recent developments, inspired by the consequences of structural adjustment programme, resurgence of identity politics and the politics of local government creation.