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From Chibok girls to Deborah: Any lessons learnt?

By Ayo Oyoze Baje
24 May 2022   |   3:24 am
“Where has our humanity gone?” “Does human life really matter here?” “Is religion no more your personal relationship between you and your creator?” “Can we really judge others on behalf of God or Allah?”

“Thou shall not kill”(Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17).

“Where has our humanity gone?” “Does human life really matter here?” “Is religion no more your personal relationship between you and your creator?” “Can we really judge others on behalf of God or Allah?” “What shall we tell our maker about our actions on the Judgment Day?” These were few of the burning questions that troubled my humid heart on the recent cruel, callous, crude and conscienceless murder of a female student, who was a Level Two student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, Ms Deborah Samuel, by her school colleagues for alleged blasphemy.

According to credible media reports, the late student had cautioned those who posted what she considered as “useless information” on a Whatsapp Group platform created basically to share information about their studies as she was said to have asked the sender, in a voice note shared by her fellow students, to send important information, pointing out that “this group was not created for you to send useless information.” So, how did her traducers react when she traced her good grades to the salvaging power of Jesus, the Christ?

Deborah was dragged out of the college’s security post where she was hiding from her assailants, stoned to death and her copse then set on fire in a very barbaric manner! This was confirmed by ASP Sanusi Abubakar, a Police Command spokesman, who stated that the enraged students “forcefully removed the victim (Deborah Samuel) from the security room where she was hidden by the school authorities, killed her and burnt the building”! The incident sparked outrage and condemnation across the country.

That this horrifying incident took place in the 21st Century Nigeria is not only heart-rending and mind-bending but underscores how some citizens have descended to the lowest ebb of morality, by taking the laws into their hands, and justifying it! As yours truly has severally opined, value the lives of others as you value yours. If you don’t want to be killed, don’t kill fellow innocent citizens.

Both the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran have a meeting point on the highest regard for the sanctity and protection of human life, stating that: ‘’Thou shall not kill’’.  When Cain killed Abel his brother and became a fugitive, denying the whereabout of a fellow human being he had brutally murdered out of sheer jealousy, God was specific in His response. Said He: “The voice of your brother’s blood has cried out unto me”. This expressly means that we all shall be asked to account for every drop of fellow human blood we have spilled, secretly or openly. And it doesn’t matter our reasons for doing so-for self-aggrandizement, revenge, power, wealth or religious purposes. That brings one to the responses of concerned members of the public on this outrageous crime against humanity.

On its part, Afenifere, pan-Yoruba, socio-cultural group in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, stated that the above reports indicated that the victim did nothing wrong in reminding her colleagues that the Whatsapp platform was meant for information like “past questions if there is a test or an assignment. It therefore, described the incident as unprovoked, unwarranted and barbaric.

While Pastor Tunde Bakare explained that he had read the Quran from cover-to-cover and nowhere is it stated that Prophet Muhammed approved the killing of those against him, even those who at one point or the other insulted and even tortured him, one Captain Jamil Abubakar, the son of a former Inspector-General of Police insisted that the punishment for Blasphemy is death! He is an experienced pilot and President of JMD Foundation, a non-profit organization who wrote this in a tweet on Friday night, May 13, 2022.

But popular Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, says Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did not kill non-Muslims who insulted him during his lifetime. Gumi said no one is allowed to take laws into his or her hands in Islam, adding that the best way Muslims can show love is by obeying the teachings of the prophet. He added that no religious law can be applied in Nigeria since the country is a secular state.

“Some Muslims in Nigeria that want to defend Prophet Muhammad should be ashamed of themselves because they are corrupt. The best way to go if we want to defend the Prophet is to follow his teachings,” he said.

“We the clerics need to wake up and teach the Muslims their religion. We must leave this state of ignorance, we have turned like animals. We the Muslims are not the only ones in this country. If we now begin to kill people, they will say it is even from the leader of our faith, Prophet Muhammad that we have learnt it. They will say their religion is a religion of bloodletting. At a time we are trying to draw the attention of people to see the beauty of Islam, we are now scaring them away.” Gumi spoke during a religious teaching class at the Sultan Bello Mosque, Kaduna.

Of course, this should be food for thought for all. Indeed, it has become an imperative considering the physical assault and psychological trauma some Christians have suffered in the hands of some misguided fundamentalists and fanatics.

In retrospect, on the night of 14–15 April 2014, 276 mostly Christian female students, aged from 16 to 18 were kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram from the Government Girls Secondary School at the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria.

Not much has been heard about the voicless victims. But one of the girls, Ruth Ngladar Pogu was freed and reunited with her family as reported on 8th Aug 2021.That was after a man she is said to have married in captivity surrendered to the Nigerian military, according to officials. The couple currently has two children.

That also brings to mind the long-winding, harrowing travails of Leah Sharibu, another young, Christian girl who was kidnapped along with 110 classmates of hers at the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State on  February 19, 2018 by Boko Haram, the Islamist terror group. However, about a month later, all the other schoolgirls were released, apart from Leah, for refusing to convert to Islam as the terrorists has demanded. She was only 14 years old at the time and she has been held ever since.

While remembering her on her birthday, Father Simon Ayogu questioned how the Nigerian authorities have been handling this critical matter: “It is a rather inept government that has not been able to provide security for its citizens. A government should use this situation as a wake-up call to review its suitability and its capability and take decisions to do its job well.”

With all the listed calamities, added to the recent killings of security personnel in Imo and Anambra states; the anger in the land over economic hardship while the political juggernauts purchase nomination forms running into billions of Naira, it is patently obvious that Nigeria currently sits on a ticking time-bomb. A religious upheaval will certainly break whatever remains of the fragile fabric that still holds us together. The time to act is now!