The rampaging threat of evil
Of all days, it was on an Easter Sunday terrorists under the aegis of ISIS thought appropriate to detonate bombs to rip through several churches in Sri Lanka. The disaster occurred last Sunday. Reports say the blasts swept through churches and hotels in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka and surrounding community of Negombo and the eastern city of Batticabra. At the last count, 300 persons, among them 45 children and 35 foreigners lay dead. About 500 across the island were injured.
The significance of the commemorative worship across the globe, in all Christendom was lost on the terrorists. It was a calculated attack to inflict the most damage, taking the congregants by surprise, and at their most unsuspecting moments. An attack, a horrendous one at that, would be the least on the mind of anybody celebrating a special event in remembrance of the Day the Lord Jesus Christ arose from physical death. “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is myself.” –(Luke 24: 39). His death on the Cross was to anchor His Word firmly on earth so that mankind could have conviction in the Truth of the Word, putting the seal on it as the key to our salvation and eternal life in the Spiritual Realm, more commonly called Paradise.
Anchoring the Truth was His Mission, the Son of God Who was without sin. Christians regard the Day as a day of victory of good over evil, and victory of Truth over falsehood and prevailing hypocrisy and dogmatism of the time. He was seen in His ethereal body, finer raiment which had encased His Divine Core and His Disciples had to first be made clairvoyant to behold Him in full bodily form bearing the crucifixion wounds. (“Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, but He disappeared from their sight. So, they said to each other, ‘weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:31-32). Easter Sunday is, therefore, an occasion for joy that He left the Word of Truth in which is contained explanations about the Will of His Father as well as an occasion for deep reflection.
These were the moments the terrorists jolted the world; they were moments they punctured and turned to death and sorrow for those who had gathered in churches in Sri Lanka. Reports say there were eight blasts altogether.Last month, 50 people were shot dead at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. These were Moslems who had gathered to bow their spirits in worship of our Maker, the Almighty. It was believed that a man who had links with White supremacy groups did the havoc. Some weeks before then, three African-American churches were set on fire in Louisiana in the United States.
Although the cause of the Notre Dome Cathedral disaster in France last week has not been ascertained, it is reported that the country has witnessed a rise by 17 per cent in arson and vandalism against churches and Christian symbols. What did Saudi Arabia do as its own way of stemming terrorism? On Tuesday the Saudi authorities ordered that 37 people be executed for “adopting extremist ideologies and forming terrorist cells as well as spreading chaos and provoking sectarian strife.”
Sri Lanka had fought a separatist war that lasted about 30 years and which ended only 10 years ago. The Tamil Liberation Tigers were pressing to tear away from Sri Lanka. Such several attempts at self-determination have been known to result in wars as world leaders are yet to grasp the reasons for nation states and how they are to arise. They are seen largely for now as no more than vehicles for material fulfillment, instead of conscious instruments to facilitate the attainment of spiritual development goal— which is the whole purport of life on earth. After the civil war, Sri Lanka’s tottering economy recovered rising two-fold, from $42billion to $87billion, within the decade, with tourism accounting for 11 per cent of the GDP. The country, according to reports, has the highest per capital income in the whole of South Asia. Pope Francis, condemning the Easter Sunday attack in Sri Lanka, what he called ‘cruel evil’, said: “I entrust to the Lord those who have tragically died and pray for the wounded and all those who suffer as a result of this dramatic event.”
All said, what could be the underlying causes of misdeeds and evil encircling the world today? Back home in Nigeria, the bells of insecurity in several parts of the country are tolling loud enough for everyone, even the deaf, to hear. Sixteen persons, among them an expectant mother, were killed last week during a naming ceremony in Numa Village, in Akwenga Local Government area of Nasarawa State. The local government chairman, Samuel Mashi, said gunmen came into the village about 10:00 p.m. and started shooting sporadically during a naming ceremony. “Unfortunately, 16 people were killed in cold blood for just no reason,” he said. Last month, in the same local government area, gunmen killed people in Merte and Nandem communities.
Troubled prominent men have come out to express concern at the turn of events in the land and the direction the country is headed. Irrepressible Senator Shehu, receiving groups from Birnin Gwari, Chikun Local Government areas and representatives of Zamfara indigenes resident in Kaduna, said the entire Northern region was currently under siege and was being faced with various security challenges.
In his words: “Today, the entire Northern Nigeria is under siege. In the North west it is armed bandits, North Central is experiencing herdsmen attacks and North East is ravaged by insurgents. In Kajuru, it is Muslims and Christians against one another, in Birnin Gwari, it is banditry and kidnapping and along Kaduna-Abuja Highway, it is kidnapping. I must say the issue of Birnin Gwari reflects the fears and dangers we are facing in north West today.”
The delegation had come to him to present a protest letter for onward transmission to the Senate. The leader of the delegation, a coalition of Birnin Gwari associations, Nasir Khalid, said several communities had been under attack of bandits and no fewer than 40 drivers had been killed in the last three months while several communities in Kaduna, Zamfara and Katsina had been ransacked. He accused various governments of paying lip service towards addressing the situation.
Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah did not mince words in expressing his pains. He remarked that killings had taken place in 20 out of 36 states of the Federation and other abnormalities are indications that Nigeria is at a breaking point. Said he:“Mr. President, we are at a breaking point. The country is at such a breaking point. The country is at such a dangerous and precarious level that it could snap any time and anywhere. You can feel, see, and touch the pulse. So, Mr. President step up, offer us solutions not excuses or complaints. Leadership is an exercise in problem solving. Cabal, mafia, cult, or whatever, it is your call, Sir. Nigeria hangs dangerously on a precipice. You have to lead us to reclaim our country and to restore laughter and hope to our people. Today, our nation is sinking deeper, and deeper into the abyss of despair, melancholy and depression. No matter how we wish to pretend as a nation and a people, the evidence that all is not well stares us in the face.
“The killings are even more numerous, widespread, senseless and violent than last year. Only last week a newspaper reported that in 20 out of 36 states, hundreds of Nigerians are being held by kidnappers in different locations with families being left to their fate. International human development weighing agencies are coming to the same conclusions about the suffocating and crippling levels of misery and destitution in Nigeria.
“Mr. President, it is becoming increasingly difficult, even for the most optimistic of citizens to see beyond these clouds of frustration. Ironically, the victims of these tragedies are your constituents.
They are Northerners, they are Muslims and they gave you the greatest votes. Social media messages by your aides cannot make up for your physical presence, as people are grieving daily. These only serve to reinforce the feeling of distance and alienation between you and the victims of these tragedies, your children. Looking back, I do not think that any honest citizen will dispute the fact that things have not changed for the better for our country and its citizens. Please, sir, do not allow anyone to deceive you. There is no need for us to spend too much time about quality of our elections, since the truth is that even the best elections will be useless if they do not improve the quality of human life.”
This is in part Bishop Kukah’s Easter Message.Are the solutions in sight beyond Buhari’s pronouncement that, indeed better put, he has directed security forces to fish out the culprits and they would be made to face the wrath of the law? The police on their part are promising to leave no stone unturned to find the culprits and get them prosecuted. The same old hat, many would say. If the citizens begin to see measures by the government as a beaten track, it is indicative of gradual loss of faith in government’s pronouncements. That is even more dangerous.
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