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APC And Surrogate Politics Of Timid Leaders

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Political Leadership Recruitment: Appeal To APC Leaders

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Salihu Moh. Lukman

Events in APC require constant vigilance by all committed party members and leaders. Without doubt, the days ahead, leading to the March 26, 2022 National Convention, will define both the survival, the democratic orientation and the quality of leaders of the party. Whether APC will produce both party leaders and candidates for the 2023 elections who can justify the trust invested in them, depends a lot on how all the current leadership challenges facing the party are resolved. Beyond electing new leaders and setting the stage for the 2023 electoral contests, how APC navigate through attempts by some of its leaders, including His Excellency Mai Mala Buni and his collaborators, to block the convention from either holding as scheduled or electing new leaders who support and respect decisions taken by broad section of leaders and members of the party will be the main test.S

Since Monday, March 7, 2022, when His Excellency Abubakar Sani Bello and the other ten members of the 13-member APC Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) announced their resolve to ensure that the March 26 APC National Convention hold, there have been deliberate attempts to question the legitimacy of decisions taken by the APC. Media reports are deliberately planted to suggest so-called confusion in the party. Some party leaders and members have declared opposition to His Excellency Abubakar Sani Bello and the CECPC and are mobilising Nigerians to only recognise His Excellency Mai Mala as the only person who should preside over the affairs of the party. While some can disclose their identity in declaring their opposition, some timid leaders who are not so courageous, do so using surrogates.

Perhaps, it is important to recall that the decision to set up the CECPC with His Excellency Mai Mala as Chairman was taken by the APC NEC of June 25, 2020. With the initial tenure of six months, the NEC of December 8, 2022, extended it expectedly by another six months. From six months, it became one year, and as it turned out to be, it is now endless, with the risk of eventually terminating the political life of the party. All these happened because both President Muhammadu Buhari, other party leaders and members trusted that His Excellency Mai Mala will provide honest leadership and implement every decision taken, leading to the emergence of new leaders for the APC. Had His Excellency Mai Mala lived up to the trust invested in his leadership of the party, at the minimum APC Convention would have been history and there wouldn’t have been any debate questioning the legitimacy of any serving chairman of the party.

READ ALSO: Fresh Crisis In APC As INEC Fails To Recognise Bello As Interim Chair

The fact that His Excellency Mai Mala has consciously and deliberately led APC to the present embarrassing situation, is most unfortunate. One would have expected that both His Excellency Mai Mala, his associates of surrogate supporters and timid leaders will be more concerned about what should be done to resolve all the leadership challenges facing the APC. In fact, anyone who loves His Excellency Mai Mala should be more worried in protecting his honor as a political leader by ensuring that he doesn’t become a letdown who stand opposed to majority decisions of party leaders and members. Ideally, if His Excellency Mai Mala shared the vision of all the founding leaders of the party of making the APC truly democratic and progressive, it will be expected that he will be willing to make every personal sacrifice to demonstrate his support for the decisions of the party. That was the legacy demonstrated by Chief Bisi Akande, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Chief Tony Momoh of blessed memory and many founding leaders of the APC.

Remarkably, that was also the legacy left by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. With all our grievances against Comrade Oshiomhole’s leadership, APC members and leaders must acknowledge that once the mood in the party tilted against his leadership, he accepted the decision of the party and made the personal sacrifice to recognise the leadership of His Excellency Mai Mala. Faced with similar rising opposition to his leadership, His Excellency Mai Mala and his associates of surrogate supporters and timid leaders are now using all manner of campaigns in the media to undermine the capacity and effectiveness of the party to initiate processes of leadership change. Although no words have been heard directly from His Excellency Mai Mala, many so-called close associates, including Sen. James John Akpanuduedehe have declared their opposition to decisions and actions taken by the APC since Monday, March 7 when His Excellency Abubakar Sani Bello and all the other ten members of the CECPC resolved to provide collective leadership to organise the March 26 APC National Convention.

Painfully, APC has found itself in a situation whereby people who are once trusted with leadership are now using surrogate supporters to undermine decisions taken by, if not destroy, the party. Those of them who are leaders are timid and lacks the courage to speak openly. Instead of speaking openly, they prefer to sponsor others to do the dirty jobs for them. Part of the most important lessons which the party must learn out of all the unfolding reality are two. The first is that every trust invested in any leader must be qualified. Specific to the leadership of the party, every leader must be accountable to organs of the party. What happened to APC under the leadership of His Excellency Mai Mala was that the decision to dissolve all the organs of the party at all levels created the unfortunate gap, which was exploited by His Excellency Mai Mala and his associates to derail the process of rebuilding the party. Related to that was also the fact that members of the CECPC were not able to assert themselves early enough to ensure that both His Excellency Mai Mala and Sen. James John Akpanuduedehe are accountable to the CECPC. A combination of all these made it possible for His Excellency Mai Mala to imagine that he has the power of prerogative over decisions taken in consultation with party leaders, including President Buhari.

READ ALSO: APC Dumps Buni, Appoints Bello As Sole Administrator

The second lesson borders on issues of political leadership recruitment. The assumption that what is required to endorse, sponsor or nominate any person to emerge as a leader is being innocuous. Although, being innocuous may not have been the reason why His Excellency Mai Mala was chosen as the Chairman of the APC CECPC, it may have also been a strong consideration. Certainly, his experience as the National Secretary of the APC between 2014 and 2019 would have been the most important recommendation. In addition, his good relationship with all party leaders and President Buhari must have been the most important recommendation. Combinations of all of these must have convinced all those who nominated him that APC will be safe in his hands. No one would have ever thought that this is where his leadership will take the party to. With His Excellency Mai Mala, if anything, being innocuous is proved to be much more dangerous.

This highlights the need for thorough background checks before people are invested with leadership responsibilities. The whole essence of screening is supposed to facilitate processes of background checks. Unfortunately, this has been reduced to some lousy checks of educational qualifications of aspirants for political offices, often reduced to verifying certificates obtained. This shoddy approach to leadership screening is responsible for why there are many people occupying leadership positions who are not qualified to hold those positions expect with reference to so-called educational qualification. Experiences in managing responsibilities in previous assignments should be the reference point in terms of how much trust can be invested in any person. Perhaps, had a thorough background check been done on His Excellency Mai Mala before emerging as National Secretary of APC in 2014, the party may have been saved from its current travail long ago.

Be that as it may, however, one would have expected a humble Mai Mala to have made some efforts to measure up to the challenge of providing selfless leadership to the party. Instead, what keeps coming out is that His Excellency Mai Mala together with his associates of surrogate supporters and timid timid leaders turned the party into their personal estate. From Anambra to Ekiti, Osun and all the bye-elections whereby the party presented candidates for elections, there are endless allegations of extortion of money directly from aspirants. Similarly, there are already allegations of deals with some presidential aspirants, including someone who is yet to join the party. Part of the deal also alleged that His Excellency Mai Mala is negotiating to emerge as a running mate to the so-called would-be candidates. Other allegations, include an attempt to arm-twist first-term governors with offers of automatic tickets for second term. Innocent senators and members of the House of Representatives are also being offered automatic tickets for 2023 electoral contests.

READ ALSO: Rescuing The APC: A Task For All Party Leaders

Through all these dishonest methods, His Excellency Mai Mala was able to recruit the audacious surrogates and timid party leaders working to undermine decisions to hold the APC March 26 National Convention. As part of the plot, they are now circulating a letter from INEC, signed by Rose Oriaran-Anthony, Secretary to the Commission, in which the legality of both the March 26 APC National Convention and the March 17 APC National Executive Committee (NEC) are being questioned. From all available information, the APC CECPC led by His Excellency Abubakar Sani Bello has effectively already responded to this letter from INEC through which they are able to affirm both the sanctity and legality of both the March 17 and 26 APC NEC and National Convention respectively. Both INEC, and by extension, all Nigerians must be reminded that both the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act recognise the authority of all the relevant organs of the party to manage its affairs. This was affirmed by the Supreme Court judgement with respect to Ondo State election, which further affirmed the authority of the APC CECPC to manage and direct the affairs of the party.

Therefore, INEC and all Nigerians committed to the democratic development of the country must not play into the self-serving scheming of His Excellency Mai Mala and his associates of surrogate supporters and timid leaders working to undermine decisions taken by the APC. All APC leaders and members must rise to the challenge of bringing His Excellency Mai Mala, his surrogate supporters and associated timid leaders to account for the bad name they are giving the APC today. His Excellency Mai Mala and Sen James John Akpanuduedehe should explain why they failed to initiate the implementation of decisions to hold the APC National Convention. Related to this, they should explain why they failed to bring to the notice of leaders of the party the court injunction served on the party since November 18, 2021 restraining the party from organising the national convention.

There are known collaborators of His Excellency Mai Mala who have colluded with him to ensure that all attempts to organise the APC National Convention are blocked. Three governors who are known and must also be called upon to account for their roles in undermining decisions to organise the APC National Convention are His Excellency Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, His Excellency Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and His Excellency Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State. There are other party leaders, including Sen Uzo Kalu who have actively supported His Excellency Mai Mala to undermine the decision to organise the national convention of the party. The March 17, 2022 APC NEC should initiate processes of disciplinary hearing in line with provisions of the APC Constitution to sanction all these leaders if found guilty.

READ ALSO: APC Convention: Mutiny By Yahoo Yahoo Politicians

Every step must be taken to ensure that APC emerges stronger, and no future leader of the party can attempt to undermine the decisions of the party. Unlike other parties, especially the PDP, who allowed individual leaders of their parties to undermine collective decisions, APC is working to strengthen its structures to ensure that internal democracy translates to collective leadership. All past National Chairmen of the party, notably, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and Comrade Adams Oshiohmole have demonstrated capacity to make personal sacrifices to support the vision of the party to emerge as a distinctively democratic and progressive party. His Excellency Mai Mala and all his surrogate supporters and timid leaders must therefore be called to order if APC is to return to its founding vision. May Allah (SWT) guide the March 17 APC NEC to initiate all actions that will guarantee a successful March 26 APC National Convention. Amin!

Dr. Lukman is a freelance APC campaigner.smlukman@gmail.com

 

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Opinion

The Treacherous Notion Of Insulting Religious Sensibilities

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The Treacherous Notion Of Insulting Religious Sensibilities

By Leo Igwe
I have been campaigning vigorously for the release of Mubarak Bala, who has been jailed for insulting the religious sensibilities of Muslims, some Muslims in Kano. In the past two years, I have engaged the notion of contempt for religion as a crime or an offence that warrants any sanction or penalty. I am of the view that criticizing religions and highlighting their misconceptions, shortcomings and absurdities is a moral and intellectual duty. I have encountered many religious apologists and fence-seaters who have tried to defend the notion that insulting religion is a transgression that should be punished. In this piece, I want to reiterate the implausibility and unintelligibility of the treacherous notion of insulting religion.

As expected the brutal murder of Deborah Samuel for making supposedly blasphemous statements has reawakened the debate on insulting people’s faiths. I have seen some educated Nigerians tacitly justify this obscenity implying that the alleged remark by Deborah Samuel constituted a punishable transgression. Sometimes they put it expressly stating that they do not support making disparaging remarks about others’ religious beliefs. Look, those who try to justify the notion of insulting religion either do not understand the nature of religion or are not good students of history especially the history religions in Nigeria and Africa. Do not get me wrong, I understand that people feel hurt when their well-cherished religious or philosophical views or icons are challenged, criticized, questioned, or ridiculed. But that is what is, and what it means to live in a free and open society.

READ ALSO: Bakare Condemns Killing Of Sokoto Student, Urges Unity

And this open-society feature is not peculiar to any people or culture. In a pluralistic society like Nigeria, people hold diverse views and opinions. These views may be offensive, hurting, or insulting to others’ beliefs and sensibilities, positions, and propositions. Some people’s religious sense is others’ religious nonsense. A person’s religious food is another’s religious poison. Clear and simple. People are bound to find other people’s religious or philosophical views and opinions objectionable and disagreeable. That is normal and should be expected. Nobody should expect to live in a society where there are no opposing or contradictory views and ideas. So instead of urging against insulting other people’s religious beliefs and sensibilities, which is a pretext for oppression, repression, and suppression of other religious and irreligious ideas, a case should be made for tolerance -tolerance of other religious and non-religious ideas and notions. A case should be made for respect for the rights of others to freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of expression, not respect for others’ religious notions. Ideas should not be respected. Human beings should be respected.

It is disingenuous to accuse people of disrespecting a belief or a religion, or to expect everyone to respect a particular religious icon. That is tyranny. That is a totalitarian tendency. Religious doctrines are to be believed or disbelieved, debated, confessed, and professed. Religions are made to be entertained, embraced or abandoned, renounced, examined and analyzed, accepted or rejected. In matters of faith, respect or disrespect is a factor of belief or disbelief. Christians who treat the Bible with respect do so because they believe that it is the word of God. Muslims respect Muhammad because they believe or are made to believe that he is the messenger from Allah or the greatest prophet of all times. Now, non-Christians and non-Muslims do not share these beliefs.

How does one expect an individual to respect a belief or doctrine that he or she rejects? What does it mean to insult a belief, that one thinks is mistaken, false, or untrue? Unfortunately, religion is replete with myths and misconceptions about the universe, nature, and how nature works. Many religious teachings are outdated and incompatible with many scientific and philosophical views. To be specific, how does one expect non-Muslims to treat the prophet of Islam with respect when they do not believe in his prophethood? How does one think that a non-Christian who is of the notion that Jesus never existed would treat Jesus with respect? The mistake many believers make is to expect non-believers to treat and respect their beliefs, objects, and personalities as they do. And as Germans would say: Das gehts lieder nicht(Unfortunately, that is not possible). That is not applicable. That is not healthy for society. Yes, that is not how religions operate.

READ ALSO: The Killing Of Citizen Deborah, Our Own Malala

Now think about it, the religions which demand respect are Christianity and Islam. Meanwhile, these are not the only religions and philosophies that exist in society. Why is it that believers, Muslims in this case, feel entitled to not be offended? Meanwhile, they espouse views and notions that going by their standards insult religious and irreligious beliefs and icons of others. For instance, Muslims claim that making disparaging remarks about the prophet of Islam is a red line. Understood. They claim that nobody should cross the redline without serious consequences. Fine. But in their everyday preaching and profession of faith, they cross the redlines of others; they make disparaging remarks about prophets and propositions of other religions and philosophies. In their profession of faith, Muslims dismiss other gods as non-existent; they downgrade other prophets. Don’t Muslims know that the recitation of Shahada is offensive, insulting, and provocative to many out there?

Muslims tell us that they love their prophets more than their parents, in fact, more than any human being. They tend to forget that people of other faiths and beliefs have a strong emotional attachment to their religious and philosophical icons too. And if people were to respond violently as Muslims often do to those who scorn their faiths and beliefs then there would be no peace in the world. There would be no Muslims or Christians, no believer or non-believer to respect or disrespect religions and philosophies.

It should also be noted that Christianity and Islam are faiths that missionaries, jihadists, and scholars from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia introduced to the region. These two religions owe their spread and dominance to the activities of those who ‘insulted’ and still ‘insult’ African traditional religious gods, prophets, and beliefs. So how does one make sense of the fact that the religions whose members ask that their icons be respected are out there relentlessly lampooning other religions and beliefs as a matter of divine mission and mandate? For centuries missionaries and proselytizers have in some cases, through physical and structural violence, and impertinent insolence toward African traditional world views and identities been furthering the cause of Christian and Islamic faiths.

READ ALSO: The Killing Of Nigerian Christian Student Has Everything To Do With Religion

The idea of insulting other gods, religions, and beliefs is embedded in the religious enterprise. Insulting religious beliefs is not alien to religions. Every religion blasphemes against other religions. Each religion claims to embody absolute truth and divinity as opposed to other religions that are fake or inferior, or custodians of minor/marginal gods. Interesting no religion is monolithic. Every faith is characterized by a plurality of views and doctrines; by competing and opposing sects, denominations, and traditions. These traditions have doctrines, and they make propositions that other faith traditions consider insulting or disrespectful. So insulting religious beliefs is part and parcel of the religious business. It is what religions do as a matter of fact. Instead of urging against insulting religious sensibilities, which is often a demand from members of a particular religion wherever they are in the majority, tolerant pluralism should be encouraged and fostered. Believers and non-believers should be urged to condone other religious and irreligious views. If anyone finds a view offensive or insulting, the person should challenge it, criticize it, scrutinize it, denounce it, examine it, and yes debate or debunk it. People of all faiths and beliefs should learn to accommodate and civilly engage positions and propositions that insult or disparage their faiths or beliefs whether they are in the majority or in the minority.

 

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Opinion

The Killing Of Citizen Deborah, Our Own Malala

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The Killing Of Citizen Deborah, Our Own Malala

By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

Last week the video of a body set ablaze by a mob went viral on social media. It was preceded by the still picture of a lady dressed in red lying on the ground in a grotesque manner. Life was no longer in her. She had succumbed to savagery and jungle justice by overzealous morons who accused her, found her guilty and executed her in a most barbarous manner reminiscent of the Stone Age. She died a most horrendous death at the hands of her class or school mates. She was stoned to death by students at a College of Education. The barbarous act was carried out by some teachers of tomorrow. What kind of educators would these teachers be in future? Do they recognize Nigeria? Do they realise that Nigeria is not an Islamic Republic, that is, supposing an Islamic Republic will tolerate such a murder? How are the killers better than bandits or terrorists currently plaguing the northern part of Nigeria? We have allowed a monster out of religion, fighting wars for God who obviously did not ask us to fight for Him!

It turned out that it was the body of Citizen Deborah Yakubu, a student at Shehu Shagari College of Education Wamako Sokoto, who had been murdered because, according to her traducers, she blasphemed the name of Prophet Mohammed. In a class WhatsApp platform, she had complained that the platform had been inundated with religious posts and that the platform should be used for what it was created for. Her traducers claimed she made some uncomplimentary remarks about Prophet Mohammed. Later a sweaty nincompoop, with the dark looks of a savage, released a video in which he claimed gleefully that he was the one that killed the lady in question. This in 21st century Nigeria? This is unacceptable. It is indicative of the deep division between world view of extremists in the north and the rest of the country.

READ ALSO: Obi For President, Zulum For Vice President

The ugly news has not been carried by cable network stations. If it happened in Afghanistan or the Middle East, her death would be on the airwaves. Fortunately, and appropriately, the Sultan of Sokoto, leader of Muslims in the country, has spoken against the murder. But he should not stop there. We expect him to personally get involved and ensure that the killer is paraded before the press as a common criminal. Except he does this, we would see the condemnation as mere lip service. The irrepressible Father Matthew Kukah has also condemned the murder and called on the government to fish out the perpetrators for the right punishment, stating that ‘’the only obligation that is owed her immediate family, her fellow students and the school authorities is the assurance that those who are guilty of this inhuman act, no matter the provocation, are punished according to the laws of the land’. Writer Gimba Kakanda wrote on a Facebook post: ‘the barbarism that transpired in Sokoto today has no basis in Islam, and it indicts us all. This culture prevails because past self-appointed punishers of blasphemers got away with their crimes. Whether in Islamic jurisprudence or our secular law, there’s no place for jungle justice, no matter how any offended mob feels’.

But the misguided zealots don’t feel any remorse. Some posts which followed the gleeful announcement on social media are instructive. The killer whose photograph is prominently displayed on social media boasted: ‘I killed her. I burnt her. You can see the matchbox I used in setting her ablaze’. One Muhammed Mode Gagi wrote, just as Bilyaminu Ladan, Sirajo Isiya and Balkisu Umar Ibrahim that: ‘You have done well, may God increase the status of Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w). Sufiyenu Yabo then concluded it: ‘Praise be to God. May Allah reward you with paradise! Which God? My question is if the head of Muslims has called it murder, from which book did the young Muslim boys and girls learn that to inflict jungle justice on a woman who supposedly blasphemed is carrying out a divine injunction?

I must state from the outset that no one has the right to insult another religion, either directly or indirectly. Christianity and Islam are the two major religions in Nigeria. Adherents must know their boundaries. To insult Prophet Mohammed is unacceptable. But it is also unacceptable for an individual to take the life of another citizen in the name of religion. This is how religious wars start. Pause for a minute and imagine what it would be if Christians in Sokoto decide to take the life of a Muslim youth in vengeance. Or if in the Christian-dominated south a Christian family carries out a reprisal attack. An endless cycle will start, the end of which no one can predict. Therefore, the Sokoto State government must rise to the occasion and bring the culprit to book.

READ ALSO: The Killing Of Nigerian Christian Student Has Everything To Do With Religion

There had been other killings in the name of religion in the past. In 1995, one Gideon Akaluka was decapacitated by Muslim fanatics for blasphemy. Nothing came of it in the form of punishment on her killers. In June 2016 Mrs. Bridget Agbaheme was brutally murdered by suspected Islamic extremists in Kofar Wambai market Kano state, over allegations that she blasphemed the name of the Holy Prophet. Except the government takes a decisive action against such criminals, more of such acts will occur in future.

The killing is most incendiary. It is provocative. It could trigger off sectarian war. As we know, religious wars are difficult to contain. The Christian Association of Nigeria should get actively involved to ensure that Deborah does not die in vain. Justice must be pursued to serve as a deterrent. The NBA and allied associations must rise to the occasion. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) has urged NBA-SPIDEL not to hold any conference in the state where a Nigerian citizen has ‘been brutally murdered and burnt to death…we should make a statement to the government by cancelling the conference and hold it in a neighbouring State in the North’.

What has given Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai an international stature? It is the attack on her person by religious extremists because of her stance on education. Deborah is our own Malala, and she should be accorded that status. Her death at the hands of ignorant and defiant zealots diminishes all of us. I expect the president, the state governor and high-ranking state officials from the North to condemn the killing and order the arrest of the killer. The college management should suspend the suspect pending full a investigation. There will be no love lost between the killer squad leader and other Christian members of the class and indeed all other Christian students in the college. Some acts, small as they are, help to define a nation. Except the government punishes the killer, the government would inadvertently be promoting the emerging narrative that there is no ‘One Nigeria!

POSTSCRIPT: After submitting the essay, further developments made me return to my submissions. The culprits were appropriately arrested, leading to mass protests. There have been riots in Sokoto, with houses and property belonging to non-Muslims being targeted. Alhaji Atiku has withdrawn his condemnation of the killing of Citizen Deborah. He has lost votes, thereby. The state government has imposed a 24-hour curfew. But soldiers ought to be drafted to quell the riots that have led to the destruction of lives and property. This is no way to grow a federal republic! Government must stand firm! Mr. President must condemn the arsonists.

Professor Eghagha writes from the Department of English, University of Lagos.

 

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Opinion

The Killing Of Nigerian Christian Student Has Everything To Do With Religion

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The Treacherous Notion Of Insulting Religious Sensibilities

By Leo Igwe

Humanists are outraged by the gruesome murder of a female college student in Sokoto in Northern Nigeria. Such a horrific act is a sordid reminder of the threat of Islamic extremism in Nigeria. Muslim students at Shehu Shagari College of Education accused a Hausa Christian, Deborah Yakubu, of blasphemy; they beat their colleague to death and burnt the corpse. Ms. Yakubu reportedly protested against posting religious messages on the student Whatsapp platform. Her protest angered some Muslim students who mobilized and subsequently killed her.

The brutal killing of Ms. Yakubu is not an isolated incident. Many Muslims and non-Muslims adjudged to have insulted Islam or its prophet have suffered a similar fate in the region. In 2007, some Muslim students in Gombe lynched their female Christian teacher for desecrating the Quran. There have been other violent attacks and murders of alleged blasphemers in Muslim-dominated areas in Kano, Niger, and other parts of Islamic Northern Nigeria. Persons accused of blasphemy have been sentenced to death by sharia courts in Kano. Others like Nigerian Humanist, Mubarak Bala, have been given long prison sentences. Muslim clerics and state officials have openly and publicly endorsed the execution of blasphemers.

Police Arrest Two Over Killing Of Female Student For Blasphemy

The late Deborah Yakubu

For instance, in 2015, Islamic theocrat, Bashir Ahmad tweeted this comment after a sharia court sentenced nine persons for blasphemy: “I cannot pretend or keep silent. I support the death penalty for blasphemy. That is my belief and I will never support #SaveKanoNine”. So it is patently untrue and misleading for anyone to say that the brutal murder of Ms. Yakubu and other blasphemy-related attacks, sanctions, and bloodletting in Northern Nigeria have nothing to do with religion. No, they do. As the case of this Christian woman has shown, these bloodletters are usually motivated by their religious belief in the prophet of Islam; Islamic teachings and orientations, and by their quest to placate Allah and inherit the paradise in the hereafter.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Two Over Killing Of Female Student For Blasphemy

So if Nigeria wants to end these horrific attacks and killings, it should take a critical look at how Islam is professed and practised in Northern Nigeria. Nigeria needs to determine if Islam is a religion or a death cult; if muslims operate within the law or above the law and if Islamic privilege is a state policy. Look, Islam has a history of violence and bloodletting that persists. The government must admit that jihadist Islam is entrenched and pervasive. Boko Haram militants are not only in the Sambisa forest. Islamic extremists exist and operate in several mosques, courts, police, and army stations. Boko Haram jihadists and their sympathizers are not a small minority as some people claim. They populate government houses, schools, colleges, and universities.

So it is high time Nigeria confronted this big elephant in the room, that is Islamic extremism. Muslim leaders should stop living in denial; they should stop pretending that jihadist Islam is not a huge problem. Muslim leaders should stop deceiving the world and saying that blasphemy killings and attacks have nothing to do with religion, in this case, Islam. No, these killings have everything to do with Islam as practised in Northern Nigeria. And the way Islam is preached and practised in Northern Nigeria must change. The government must address this toxic tendency and habit that makes muslims value their religious and prophetic icons more than human lives. Nigeria must tackle this savage and dreadful inclination of muslims to kill, attack or maim others at the slightest provocation. Nigerian authorities should monitor the activities of Muslim clerics because these religious actors use their preaching and Quranic indoctrination programmes to radicalize young Muslims and turn them into merchants of hate, violence, death, and destruction. The government should protect the rights of those who criticize the teachings and traditions of Islam and its prophet because it is through a critical examination of Islamic doctrines and practices that these extremist ideas and tendencies could be exposed and expunged.

READ ALSO: Female Student Burnt Alive Over Blasphemy

Nigeria should take measures to end impunity and ensure that those who indulge in blasphemy-related attacks or killings are brought to book. Those who carry out these barbaric acts should not go scot-free. They are murderers and criminals and should be arrested, prosecuted, and jailed to serve as a deterrent to others. Usually, when muslims attack or kill for blasphemy, no arrest is made, in cases where arrests are made, nobody is prosecuted; and in situations where some are charged to court, they are later acquitted. This culture of impunity must end if Nigeria must make progress in this 21st century. There should be serious consequences for blasphemy-related attacks. The Nigerian government should repeal blasphemy laws because as long as there are provisions that criminalize insults on religion, freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression will not be guaranteed and these savage attacks in the name of Allah or Prophet Muhammad will continue.

 

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