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Open letter to the extremists

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Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.
– Barry Goldwater

Sir: I have kept an eye on your speeches every time there is a heart rending crisis with a religious flavor in Nigeria. Far removed is the herdsmen attack on helpless people in Benue State. There are too many to call to mind in this medium. I am shocked at the brazen disrespect to the dead and the half-truths bandied by your members every time you choose to respond to CAN over unjustified deaths. Answer back you must, the same way you would have attacked CAN, if cases of deathly raids were linked to a Christian militia group. And CAN, then, must reply respectfully.

Many plain folks have accused foot soldiers with leanings to you for starting many distresses in Nigeria leading other groups to defend themselves, unfortunately. Many of your members seem to be guided by emotions. If a Christian militia attacked Sokoto, Kano and Katsina villages and killed Muslims, wouldn’t Nigeria be a boiling cauldron?

Your members seem to be so full of themselves when they make ill-mannered statements about CAN. Doesn’t it bother you that there are 13 poor states out of the 15 poorest states in Nigeria? Aren’t your members aware that the north but for the working together with all Nigerians irrespective of religious leanings cannot provide services for its people all by itself? So the north, however hard you try to disguise it, needs the rest of Nigeria as much as the rest of Nigeria needs the north.

Muslims influenced Spain’s architectural landscape, the inroads made by Muslims in astronomy and mathematics when Europe was in the dark ages after the fall of Rome, are all in the public domain. Not forgetting how Islamic poets shaped literary history.

Christians and Muslims have influenced world civilization for the common good but members in Nigeria love to bicker to pull the wool over the eyes of followers.

Even in warring Lebanon, Christians and Muslims are able to go out to eat together, go to opposite religious festivals and share stories of both to their children. They even inter-marry.

Your own idea of building Nigeria is by out-cursing one another saying whatever you want without fear of consequences. The ugly moments between Muslims and Christians is no thanks to the subscription of religiosity and not spiritual. Most people pretending to be Muslims and Christians are nonbelievers. They don’t know and fear God.

Your followers see you as heroes. I do not. A true hero can speak to the hearts of all (enemies and friends), away from being emotional because reason takes flight when people are emotional, pursue causes that gladden the hearts of all, serve all first then be served and be humble.

In your world, the system should work better for your acquaintances and wealthy people and your idea of welfare is to forcefully grab lands without dialogue even when it resulted to large gashes on the heads of landowners leading to deaths.

Why do you find it hard to trust other Nigerians and are forever-and-a-day wary about other people who are not like you and why do you always assume that people of other faith are always after you?  Is the whole of life not premised on interdependency?

After war efforts come peace efforts but it is difficult to maintain peace efforts after wars because most warriors do not have the temperament to sit in the conference room and worse yet, most of them are not idealistic. They are no ideologues.

Simon Abah, Abuja.


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