Monday 27th March, 2017
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Keeping God out of this orgy of bloodletting! (1)

Keeping God out of this orgy of bloodletting! (1)

Nigeria has, unfortu­nately, stepped once again into a season of blood-letting, when the killing of Nigerians by fel­low Nigerians has become as commonplace as the slaugh­tering of chickens for Easter or the Sallah. We seem to have slid back to the inglori­ous past when Nigerians in the Plateau and surround­ing areas were involved in an incestuous orgy of killing, when people who had lived together for decades suddenly discovered that they had be­come jousting “indigenes” and “settlers”. What was a bloody contest for farmlands and means of livelihood was suddenly baptised as religious crises between Muslims and Christians – adherents of two religions that officially preach peace, love and peaceful co-existence. On that occasion, leaders of the two religions, intent on ensuring that the religions, and hence, their God, was not made a scape­goat in a mundane conflict, allowed common sense to reign, as they were able to rein -in the gladiators that were shedding blood and claiming they were doing it on behalf of their religions and their God . Yet, in spite of the bigotry of evil people on both sides of the religious divide, there has never been a time when Muslims and Christians opted to fight each other over anything in this country.
In fact, the first time that what looked like religious killing happened was when with the arrival of Boko Ha­ram militancy, the members started to terrorize Nigeri­ans, claiming that they were doing it in name of Islam, as their mission was to force ev­erybody into accepting their variant of worship – what­ever it was. The early com­plexion of the Boko Haram outrage which concentrated attacks on churches and other places of Christian worship seemed to give credence to the fact that Christianity was the targeted victim. Many Chris­tians were taken-in by the claim until Muslim leaders, scholars and clerics stridently disowned what Boko Haram was doing as being totally unIslamic, and, therefore, the sect could not be acting on behalf of the religion that ex­pressly forbids killing people in cold blood and of destroy­ing places of worship.
As the Boko Haram outrage became more indiscriminate, it turned out that more Mus­lims were being affected by the terror they sowed. It also became easier for everybody to accept that the sect could not be acting on behalf of Is­lam or of Muslims when they were destroying mosques and killing Muslims as indi­viduals and groups.
As Boko Haram sect was being systematically de­graded, after it had inflicted enormous physical and psy­chological harm on Nigeri­ans of every creed and race, it became obvious that Boko Haram was nobody’s tool to harm anybody or any group. Yet, in an ironical way, Boko Haram became an instru­ment – albeit a negative one – of bringing the people of the two religions and Nige­rians of different ethnic hue closer. After the devastation which the terrorist group has wreaked on all sections of the country, it would be idiotic of anybody or group to still per­sist in the delusion that Boko Haram is a Muslim weapon against Christians. It was even becoming clearer, as such re­ligious leaders like the Sultan of Sokoto and Cardinal John Onaiyekan had continued to harp upon, that Nigerian Muslims and Nigerian Chris­tians were not fighting each other. If they were, the two men would have been aware, having, from their days as co-chairmen of NIREC taken great steps to ensure entente between members of the two religions.
Having said that, it has not been as easy to completely stop some leaders of the two religions who had been seek­ing greater relevance by stok­ing the smouldering embers of sectarian violence, through bigotry and exploitation of the emotive gullibility of their members who are not as in­formed. For these religious leaders on both sides of the divide, instead of using their positions to bring the people of different faiths together, they persist in vituperating high doses of inciting sermons to their gullible and impres­sionable followers who are too ready to accept that every political, economic or social problems they encounter are caused by the adherents of the other religion. In poverty stricken and lowly developed society as ours, religious senti­ments can be more incendiary than any form of fuel.
The present and persistent crises in Southern Kaduna which has taken several un­necessary lives, has become another ready and unfortu­nate tool in the hands of peo­ple who find it convenient and expedient to stoke and manip­ulate the embers of religious sentiments for their dirty vest­ed interests. Unfortunately, the Southern Kaduna crises is an issue of failure in the capacity of the government to enforce law and order. Ditto for the unchecked violent activities of the murderous herdsmen across the length and breadth of the country.
Instead holding the Buhari administration responsible for its woeful failure to unleash its enormous law enforcement machineries to protect the people by isolating criminal elements and punishing them. Rather than locate the blame and culpability where they belong, it has become conve­nient for some to drag religion and God into the ongoing and unbridled orgy of incestuous bloodletting.
In coming parts of this se­rial, we shall examine the dy­namics and ramifications of the Southern Kaduna crises and see why we must excuse God from the matrix of the evil that men are currently do­ing there.

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