Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bridget Agbahime: Public Lynching of Nigeria's Citizenship

   By Joseph Rotimi
Last week a senior, was lynched in a market in the northern city of Kano in circumstances that are yet to be clarified. As usual, the people doing the lynching were Muslims and the person being lynched a Christian.
(pix: broughtonplayers)
The story goes that a young man in the evening of a particular market day decided to go to the front of Mummy Bridget's shop to perform the customary washing done by Muslims before prayers. Irked by Mummy Bridget's resistance to performing ablution in front of her shop, an argument ensued and the young man in typical fashion escalated the confrontation into a mob action by making the Muslim call on other potential murderers to come for the killing feast. Efforts by saner minds to intervene and calm things down failed and the elderly woman was eventually beaten to death right in front of her husband.
Mob action and willingness to destroy Nigerians who profess other religions apart from Islam has been a recurring theme in Nigeria's quest for nationhood. The attitude of religious superiority is one of the clogs in the wheels of Nigeria's progress and the most ardent culprits are northern Muslims.
In 2001, a non-Muslim woman traversing the prayer ground during Friday prayers ostensibly triggered the Jos riots that resulted in the killing of thousands from which the city has not yet recovered. Teachers and youth corpers have been lynched for carrying out official assignments without any form of justice meted out to culprits.
The lynching of Christians or what northern mobs call "infidels" goes to the core of what the life of a citizen is worth in Nigeria. How many lives have to be sacrificed before meaningful actions are taken to forestall such occurrence, and why do organized mobs feel so confident in destroying other Nigerians at the slightest provocation? Why should other Nigerians live in fear of reprisals and death simply by acting out the rights of citizenship? Why does the average northerner think that southerners or non-Muslims are subhumans whose life can be extinguished without compunction?
When confronted with these questions, southern intellectuals and writers, especially those who think they have a stake in the Nigerian experiment bring up didactic improbabilities that suggest killing innocent people by northern Muslims is simple criminality that is similar to extrajudicial killings in other parts of the nation. They give examples of the Aluu four, the Abuja six and other nuanced occurrences to justify a clear religious and ethnic bias regarding killings involving Moslems/Hausa Fulani and others.
No other form of deliberate genocidal behavior in Nigeria reaches the extent and impunity of that visited by Moslems on non-Moslems. This is a country where the actions of a misguided cartoonist in Europe could result in you and your family being publicly barbecued alive on a whim, just because you are anything other than Muslim and/or Hausa/Fulani. We are gradually being forced to live according to Sharia laws and those who should know and defend the secularity of the Nigerian state are burying their heads under mounds of political correctness.
The Ramadan period appears to have brought out the worst in those bent on "dealing" with "infidels" in their midst. A carpenter having his lunch was nearly killed recently in Kaduna by Muslim youths who felt "disrespected" that he was eating during Ramadan. The government of Gambia has taken ridiculousness to the height of the macabre by banning ceremonies, music and dancing during the "holy month of Ramadan." This happens only in Africa, where the most self-hating species of humans on the planet abound. Not to be outdone, a Muslim body in Nigeria called MURIC (the Muslim Right Concern) has condemned this year's national youth service camp season as "unconstitutional" because the exercise happens to fall during Ramadan. Nigeria, according to these bigots should stand still for a personal proclivity such as Ramadan to pass. In the slangy west, this is truly a 'WTF' moment.
When you step back and view things from a neutral perspective, you will begin to appreciate the fact that on the average, the northerner understands his power and influence in the country. The northern oligarchy and their teeming mass of blind religious bigots act as if they own the country and therefore can do anything to anyone without consequence. For example, there are swathes of farmland and grassy areas in the north but you don't hear of Fulani men sacking villages in Kano, Sokoto, Daura, or Bauchi raping Hausa/Fulani women and children. The unwholesome tyranny is usually reserved for the "infidels" of parts of Taraba, Plateau, Kaduna, Benue, and the big prize - Southern Nigeria.
What Mummy Bridget said or did in Kano Market should not have mattered if the machinery of justice and equity of the Nigerian state was intact. But because Nigeria is unjust, iniquitous, and in a crucial sense, non-existent, the death of Mummy Bridget has become another signpost on the road of our collective journey into perdition, unless something is done to change course. Nigeria, as presently constituted, guarantees there would be many more Mummy Bridgets. Today, it is Mummy Bridget, but tomorrow it could be you.
*Rotimi is a commentator on public issues 

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