The outrage last week over the gruesome murder of Deborah Yakubu in Sokoto State by some cannibals masquerading as protectors of the religion of Islam, exposes the underpinning injustice in a system that is permanently in a state of flux.
As a practising Muslim, I was tempted to the brink of renouncing my religion, especially when I saw the hypocrisy being displayed by some eliteS who ought to speak out in very lugubrious manner, to condemn the actionS of those felons.
I was further dismayed by the action of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who initially tweeted to condemn the heinous crime, but hurriedly deleted his tweet because some people were condemning his.action and threatening not to vote for him in the upcoming presidential elections.
Senator Shehu Sanni’s comment which was like an endorsement of such gory act was very disappointing. Reading through some statements of those who are lettered but may not be steeped in Islamic knowledge, I felt the tinge of religious conspiracy against the Christian folks. Sheikh Gumi offered me some elixir by his insight into the subject matter of blasphemy and his condemnation of the murderous death of poor Deborah.
While Sheikh Gumi represents the Islamic point of view, Atiku Abubakar represents the political point of view, his deletion of the statement of condemnation was the denouement of a systemic rot that has pervaded Nigeria.
Nigeria is a Deborah; the metaphorical verbiage of a poor girl seeking knowledge and a decent society, but cut short by cannibalistic tendencies of broad-day assassins, wearing the garb of Islamic fundamentalists. It was a contest between barbarism and civilisation; some kind of primitive and outmoded behaviour at a time of globalisation and technological awareness.
Now that Deborah has been killed, like many others before her that faced same tragedy, what has changed? I find it inhumane, unassailable and utterly non-plussed to reconcile the mob action with what Islam truly professes as a religion of peace.
But again, when you check the tempers of fanaticism and fundamentalism, and you reconcile that with the caveat in the statement from the president; you will understand why this primitive behaviour is, and will continue.
The preachment of the presidency about blasphemy was utterly unnecessary even when the presidency later talked about a probe into the incident. Its position is bifurcated; with a slight connotation about the repercussion of blasphemy and the other, a declaration of probe.
As serious as the protests were, the presidency was in its habitual taciturnity in delivering its position on the criminality.
What is bad should be utterly condemned as bad. It is better to call a spade, by its very name; a spade. Fundamentalism does not promote a religion, it takes away from its beauty, and impugns on its image. Fanaticism sustains a small army of irredentist worshippers, who often times, become mechanical in their actions in the name of religion; but killing someone because he/she disparaged the epitome of your religion, is the height of wickedness!!!
Nigeria is a Deborah because she is died of deliberate falsehood against her. The details of Deborah whatsapp chats that we have read do not convey the weight of blasphemy. Even if it were to be established that her statements were blasphemous, no one is in a position of God or Allah to deliver judgment on her.
It is morally cruel, wicked, unconscionable, and reprehensible to take the life of another simply because certain incoherent statements were made against the originator of your religion. Even those who ought to be enlightened about these doctrines, fell into the cesspit of being accomplices in the narratives. It is the reason why Atiku Abubakar quickly deleted his statement and turned around to explain the reason; “oh, I didn’t approve the tweet before it was released”. Now, where is the one you gave approval for?
He took us on the long routes of his previous experiences in the ugly narrative that dominated the religious discourse when they were in office post 2000. Could that be the reason why he doesn’t want to get involved in this one, or because a lot of people were condemning the tweet and threatening to with-hold their votes? Either way, he showed a leadership weakness; O yes, weakness amid political greed and avarice.
Leaders must be sure of their position on issues and take a stand no matter how “unpopular” it may turn out. That is why I have much respect for the Sultan of Sokoto, who was unequivocal in his condemnation of the dastardly act. His condemnation may not be popular amongst those gangs of killers, fanatics and fundamentalists; but as a leader of the body of Islam, he spoke in clear terms.
Does any one know the life in the hereafter? Why does anyone think he can act on behalf of God in matters that are beyond his comprehension? How do you define blasphemous conduct? How do you mete out instant judgment as though you are God’s judges?
How come God does not visit similar anger against those who commit sins everyday, every hour and minutes? Are you pleasing God or Allah by killing fellow human simply because you are not pleased with his/ her utterances? On judgment day, what are you going to tell God as the reason for your action? Must we all behave in same manner?
Can we all sleep and put our heads on one pillow? Religion is based on the individual’s belief system. And there are so many religions the world over. How come it is often people who associate themselves with Islam that are quick to raise arms against anyone who in their estimation has indulged in blasphemy? Why is this act not peculiar with other religions; Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and others?
Why do we allow this murderous conduct to keep staining the image of Islamic religion and faith, and yet we are unable to rein in the chief perpetrators? Can we sustain this argument to a plausible end? I was almost tempted to conclude that formal education is at the root of this recurring practice, but realising that this Deborah incident happened within the precincts of a College of Education, makes me undone.
That is supposed to be a citadel of academic excellence and learning where the students would be exposed to some form of civilisation. The reality has become a contradiction. How does one reconcile this? We still need more and more education for the ordinary folks out there to minimise the university of uninformed persons parading the streets and waiting for their next victim. We need.to engage the civilised Islamic scholars to help in teaching the right, robust, civilised and informed doctrines about the society we now live in.
When a growing child is exposed to the teachings of one scholar on social media, who has been propagating death for anyone against Islam, then you know we have a huge task on our hands.
The said scholar is still roaming about without arrest. The audacity of his proclamations is a tinder box waiting to explode some day; because the system in place has become enabler to such devilish preachments.
Our security agents have been looking the other way; pretending they are unaware of the preacher’s inciteful messages. Deborah’s gruesome killing is one fallout of such terrible preaching. Nigeria is a Deborah, often helpless in the face of tyranny. Nigeria, just like Deborah is suffering from crass injustice, marginalisation and politics of exclusion.
Those who ought to speak out, maintain conspiratorial silence. Those who speak out are quick to deny their statements for political reasons and other considerations. Injustice is competing with marginalisation. Religious bigotry is competing with secularity. Politics of inclusion is suffering at the altar of greed and egocentric emanations.
Favouritism, cronyism and selective amnesia dominate our socio-political discourse, using religion as the plank to champion parochial interests. Deborah went to seek knowledge, but WAS cut short by those who do not want a disruptor of a decadent system, flourishing in ignorance and fundamentalism. This is the story of Nigeria!! They use religious fanaticism as a bait to hack down their opponents. Deborah might have been a long target simply by being a brilliant student in her circle of classmates.
They might have been waiting for a day she would say something different from their belief, to visit their long held collective anger on her. Nigeria is being raped everyday, with ceaseless blood flowing every where in the name of banditry, kidnapping and organised crimes. Nigeria is like an awkwardly overgrown adult struggling to walk straight, overburdened by numerous negative indices.
Those who ought to take up the gauntlet are accomplices whose body language usually betray them So, when we cry for Deborah, such a beautiful girl whose journey of life was terminated by her religious oppressors, we should also cry for Nigeria, such a beautiful country with flourishing opportunities and potentials, but is being run aground by acts of corruption, injustice, marginalisation, domination, and numerous abuses.
Those economic predators and buccaneers just like the fanatics, would continue to give us a bad name and image. Finally, the culprits must be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Human societies are run by laws, discipline and regulations. We cannot allow such madness to go without consequences, no matter the pressure. The discourse must be sustained and the verdict must be unequivocal to serve as deterrent. What happened in Sokoto last week was enough to plunge the country into conflagration of no discerning dimension.
It was an act of God that the country is still being able to hold itself together till date. Religious wars are often the worst forms of contestations, just like ethnic wars.
Those who witnessed the Rwanda genocidal wars should please avail those religious bigots the opportunity to watch the pogrom. But in a country where life is cheap, dying is seen more as an act of bravery than cowardice. It is the reason why those fanatics are quick to bare their chest for the bullets of death. So painful. So awful.