By Bayo Fasunwon
Nigeria was on global news for the wrong reasons last week and it is so disheartening. While people had gathered in groups discussing the various political maneuvers and intrigues that would herald a new government of the people, the discussions changed abruptly with the premeditated, gruesome murder of a female student, Deborah, of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State. Once again, the excuse for cutting her life short by a mob of fellow students, and others was that she ‘blasphemed’ against a religion to which she was not an adherent.
Not only was she gruesomely murdered, her body was set on fire, implying that the power to send body and soul to hell now rests in the hands of fellow sinful creature. This act provokes certain questions on the rationality of humanity in service to God and humanity. While the barbaric act in itself is shocking and repugnant to natural justice, it also reveals a nation not governed on the principles of the rule of law.
From a rational point of view, if Deborah had contravened the salient laws guarding a religion, expectedly such infringements should have been identified and the culprit brought to justice legally. Therefore, even within the provisions of the Sharia law, she ought to have been arrested, arraigned, and judged. However, such was not the case, as bloodletting men stood as accusers and judges over the matter. While ruminating on this abuse of law, the statement credited to the Imam of National Mosque Abuja, Ibrahim Maqari, that Muslims have some red lines, which must not be crossed especially as regards the dignity of the Prophet, identifies the nature of infringement to which justice could be legally sought. He however goofed by twitting further that “If our grievances are not properly addressed, then you should not be criticized for addressing them ourselves.”
In other words, Nigerians are being incited to seek for ‘justice’ by themselves when grieved. In this case, there was no evidence that grievances were reported according to the processes of law, neither was it on record that it was not being addressed. The cleric has carefully chosen his words to include the word ‘properly’, a word that lacks proper definition and interpretation. So for those who feel that the grievances of herdsmen attacks, corruption, maladministration, nepotism, kidnapping, banditry and other vices are not being ‘properly’ addressed should insurrect and gruesomely kill whosoever is perceived responsible? One wonders if the Sheikh, who would crossed some other people’s ‘red lines’ in the past would have been alive today.
As politically expected, many had condemned in words the gruesome act. The President, Muhammadu Buhari had insisted that perpetrators should be brought to book, while the Sultan of Sokoto is saddened by the unfortunate occurrence and called for peace, and the Police who were overwhelmed and could not prevent the death of Deborah had made arrests concerning the matter.
These developments however does not excite one, as precedents have shown that despite all the statements and paper work, this grievance would not be ‘properly addressed’. This conclusion is because this would not be the first time that perpetrators of these heinous crimes get away with their illegal sub human devotions. In the end, the victims get the blames while the murderers become heroes and walk free on the streets. Mere condemnation, as we experience during terrorist attacks in the country, has not in any way deterred the wicked; only true and effective justice would. The video, brazen self-confession and voices of the murderers are on global view, only true justice would matter, and of course due compensations to the family by the institution and Sokoto State government would suffice.
In addition, the swift tweet credited to a frontline Presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, could have been applauded as the enlightened perception of a true Statesman who intends governing a true secular nation. However, when the threat by bloodsucking responses threatened his political ambition, the good tweet was retracted, disclaimed, and disowned. Therefore, when it comes to speaking the truth, politics silences right opinions. It is also observed that various political hustlers of both religions have decided to keep mute and sacrifice the soul of a Nigerian on the altar of political ambitions.
Religion in its intent and purposes was designed to transform the natural man and conform it to a behavioral pattern that distinguishes him from lesser beings. It was mostly designed to usher men into the metaphysical relationship with the supposed Creator, and therefore make him an exact image in thoughts and acts with the unseen God. Taoism and devotion to Buddha has been the foundation for the development of the Asian Tigers. The devotion to religion has been harnessed for the development of the tripartite man and used to ‘fill their earth and subdue it’.
It has also been the foundation for the disdain for corruption, and the issuance of capital punishment by some. On the foundations of Christianity, Europe has developed her welfare and humanitarian attitudes, and has influenced their commerce and industries making them global Lords and conquerors. The United Arab Emirates have harvested tenets of Islam to create an environment that is open to the whole world, and made it destination points for both the believers and unbelievers of the Islamic faith. In a past article, it was explained that even Saudi Arabia is willing to imbibe certain liberal ideas that would greatly benefit the country and her people, and they have started.
In Nigeria, rather than being instruments of peace and progress, religion has become an instrument of control and weapons of destruction rather than development. Insurgencies would have been nipped in the bud, if only religious fanatics in the security organisations in Nigeria had not acted as moles and supported their ‘religion brothers’ in destroying the nation. Round pegs have found themselves in square holes, simply because they worship the same God as the recruiting officer, and the nation suffers in the end. Rather than allow religion become a unifying force for development, it has become the centrifugal force that destroys our centre.
Should a man really fight for God? When Gideon destroy his family altars, the rallying point of the people and eternal hope, the whole village decided to do what their holy grail proposes – kill him! The father however reasoned that man need not fight for a true God. He reasoned that God ought to fight himself in that matter, and hence Gideon became Jerubaal. In many matters in this country, adherents fight for God n matters where God ought to fight for Himself; and we call on God to fight for us in matters for which we ought to fight for our emancipation. Nigeria is a country of misplaced priority. Would one join numerous others to wish that Deborah’s soul rest in peace? Traditional religion believes that such a soul so brutally separated from its flesh can never find peace until her murderers are torn in pieces.