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Chinyere’s consolation to Deborah’s family

By Editorial Board
01 July 2022   |   4:10 am
The humanitarian gesture of citizen Chibuzor Chinyere in donating a mini estate and a car to Garba Emmanuel, the father of Deborah Samuel, who was killed in Sokoto for alleged blasphemy...

Apostle Chibuzor Gift Chinyere PHOTO: https://independent

The humanitarian gesture of citizen Chibuzor Chinyere in donating a mini estate and a car to Garba Emmanuel, the father of Deborah Samuel, who was killed in Sokoto for alleged blasphemy, is a deep manifestation of love, care and humanity to the recipient of the gift and his entire family. It is a highly commendable example of basic preaching to love one’s neighbour as one loves himself. And for those who think neighbour refers only to someone nearby, this particular instance has shown that neighbours could be miles apart.

Deborah Samuel, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, was stoned to death, and burnt on the school campus on…. for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammad through a WhatsApp exchange she had with fellow classmates on issues relating to their studies. Sadly, the whole truth in the blasphemy allegation may never be known to the public, given the circumstances of Deborah’s death. It is certain, however, that her killing amounted to extra-judicial murder for which her killers should have been brought to book, as they not only deprived her of any hearing – fair or unfair – they constituted themselves to be the accusers, the prosecutors, the judge and the executors, in a most flagrant violation of the constitution and other laws.

Moved by the incident, a popular Port Harcourt-based cleric and the Founder of Omega Power Ministries (OPM), Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere offered and gave Deborah’s parents a mini estate of 14 flats and a Toyota Corolla car for Uber business to Garba Emmanuel, Deborah’s father. Apostle Chinyere also promised Deborah’s seven siblings “automatic scholarships” and relocated the family to Port Harcourt. The estate was registered in the name of Deborah’s family immediately.

No doubt this magnanimity will not bring back Deborah from death, but it is capable of giving great succour to the parents and family; and therefore deserves the commendation of all and sundry, who desire ‘peace and unity’ in Nigeria. Chinyere said the gesture was to alleviate the effect of the loss of a great daughter. He decried religious intolerance, saying Nigeria will be one of the best parts of the world if people shun religious intolerance. “We all need the love which is the primary thing in life. There is no need to kill ourselves because we are all created by God, whether Muslim or Christian,” he said.

This gesture is more significant because although Deborah’s killing sparked outrage across the country with many calling for the swift prosecution of two suspects arrested in connection with the crime, there was very little corresponding action by government, and even less sympathy from the immediate Muslim community except the Sultan who stoutly condemned the killing. Indeed, charges brought against the two arrested culprits related to conspiracy and causing public disorder. Even then, some Muslim youths also demanded their release and went on violent protest in which they vandalised and burnt market stalls, churches and structures perceived to belong to Christians, prompting Governor Aminu Tambuwal to impose a curfew on the state.

Heart-broken and in understandable despair Deborah’s mother, Aileri Emmanuel, had said that she would never send her remaining seven children to school because of the barbaric murder of her daughter. In her words: “I have no demands; I don’t want anything but one thing I know is that my children will never go to school again.” The deceased’s father, who was a security guard with the Niger State Water and Sanitation, also lamented that he used his whole savings to send his eldest child (Deborah) to school.

The question arising is: where is religion without love for others and value for human life? The idea of being a good neighbour should have a special meaning to Nigerians because of their high religiosity. So, it is absurd that people could kill one another in the name of religion, against the backdrop that religion teaches love of neighbours as ones-selves; and love for humanity. In the midst of the agony that greeted Deborah’s family, Chinyere’s act of benevolence, which has moved the Emmanuels from sorrow to succour, exemplifies a quotation from the book of authority: “love thy neigbour as thyself.”

So, the unfortunate death of Deborah Samuel which damaged her family, threw the family and many humane patriotic Nigerians irrespective of religious divide into sorrow; has also brought succour to her family through the kind gesture of Chinyere. Similarly, Chinyere’s gesture shows that Nigerians can actually be their brothers’ keepers. Hopefully, Chinyere’s action, which brought succor to the family of Emmanuel may cause Deborah’s mother, Aileri Emmanuel to have a rethink of her statement that she would never send her remaining seven children to school because of the barbaric murder of Deborah. Therefore, every Nigeria should emulate the magnanimous heart of Chinyere for improved national cohesion, because loving our neigbours as ourselves is the truth for regulating human society and a determinant of social morality, which is a major essence of religion.

Irrespective of our ‘many religious voices,’ it is still ‘one world’, which Nigerians need to have a better nation that they desire, where all can live happily, maximise potentials and self actualise without the fear of being maimed, killed or kidnapped. Religious leaders should continue in this trajectory of lifting and encouraging damaged people to heal; and bringing succour to those in sorrow in order to strengthen national unity. They should also look inwards within their congregations and neigbourhoods to identify and help the needy and less privileged people, because right living and empathy from true worship and purposeful leadership cannot be divorced.

Therefore, achieving national cohesion and peace-building require matching words with action and leadership by example. As such Nigerian public office holders and religious leaders should go beyond rhetoric and sermons; and match words with action: living by example; lifting and encouraging damaged people to heal; and bringing succour to those in sorrow.