Justice is the first condition of humanity and even though the arc of the moral universe appears long, it will always bend toward justice. A few days ago, the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar reminded the world once more that the young blood of a young Christian girl whose life was terminated by Islamic fundamentalists was yet to be accounted for and that justice may never be served in her case.
In May this year, a young Christian woman by name, Deborah Yakubu was lynched by a mob in Sokoto State. The headless mob began their hopeless mission by ruthlessly stoning her to death and subsequently setting her ablaze and making sure she burns to ashes. These terrorists made sure that Deborah’s death was a horrifying one and that her last minutes on the planet were agonising. And what was her ‘sin’? She was accused of ‘blasphemy’ by the religious ‘Nazis’ she shared a class with after she demanded that her classmates leave religious chatter well alone and concentrate on their class project on their class group on social media. It was such a painful experience.
Shortly after her untimely death, only platitudinous statements that are bursts of hot air lacking empathy, not to say vigour was issued by the Nigerian elite class and politicians. From President Muhammadu Buhari, who had in the past spoken tongue-in-cheek about religious extremists like Boko Haram, his spinless Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who has failed to stand up for Christians ever since he was handpicked to become the number two citizen in Nigeria. Not one politician or religious leader could offer any real substance and say it as it was meant to be said.
For the Presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, it was even worse. A strong statement was issued on his behalf condemning the murder on his Twitter handle and as soon as he was threatened by his Northern voting block, he asked that the harmless tweet be immediately deleted.
All Nigerian politicians could offer were mostly tepid words of condemnation that carry nothing close to the anguished memory parents of Deborah – Garba and Alheri Emmanuel – were thrown into and must now have to bear for the rest of their lives following the meaningless homicide of their daughter. Seven months after, the world appears to have moved on and the madness is not showing signs of slowing down. For Deborah’s parents, they have left everything to God, as Christians often say, as it’s to be expected of people condemned to a life of pain by their own inability to help themselves. But then, if Deborah’s parents, like hundreds of millions of Nigerians outraged by that murder, were helpless, was the government also helpless? Never. They were not! Over the years, too many of these cases that are never prosecuted have occurred and they were all allowed to fade off without consequences.
It is true that under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government, life has become so cheap and meaningless, however, nothing justifies taking the life of another over statements which considered blasphemous by someone else’s religion. To begin with, Nigeria is a secular society, and laws related to blasphemy are alien to the constitution which by the way is also fraudulent. For many decades, Nigeria has continued to breed Lilly-livered terrorists who believe that they can do anything including killing for the God they worship with impunity and get away with it.
Sincerely speaking, of all forms of organised religions being practiced in Nigeria (which by the way are fraudulent), Islam appears the most problematic. As controversial as this sounds, it is the incontrovertible truth. Every year, there is always a report of how people were maimed for alleged religious blasphemy in their own country and this should not be allowed to continue.
In view of this, if Nigerians are serious about their plans to end these horrific attacks and killings, it is high time they take a critical look at how Islam is professed and practiced in Northern Nigeria. They must ask themselves questions about whether or not Muslims even operate within the law or above the law. The government on its part must admit that jihadist Islam is entrenched and pervasive and it has remained ferociously problematic. Today, Boko Haram terrorists are not only in the Sambisa forest as they are widely believed to be. Islamic extremists now live, exist, and operate in several mosques, police, courts, and army stations where their only motivation is to spread their ideals. Boko Haram Jihadists and their sympathisers are not a small minority as some people claim. They populate government houses, schools, colleges, and universities. This is the truth that many Nigerians have sadly refused to get used to.
It is sad that nobody has been arrested and prosecuted for the murder of Deborah Yakubu but even sadder is the fact nobody will. The reasons for this are not far-fetched. Nigeria as presently constituted is managed as a theocratic neo-feudal state. Every major decision that has been taken about Nigeria was taken along these lines. A look at the fraudulent 1999 constitution paints a full picture of the gloom and the bleak future Nigeria faces if she does not dismantle the terrible contradictions.
Nigeria’s path to development passes through dismantling the religious construction of the foundation of the Nigerian state. For decades, Nigeria has continued to appease religious fundamentalists who also make up the Fulani Oligarchy. These tiny bunch of supremacists are the people who run Nigeria. It is not surprising that neither the Inspector General of Police nor Governor Tambuwal has done anything to arrest and prosecute those who killed Deborah. Doing so will annoy religious fundamentalists who act as demigods who feel they own Nigeria.
This is the truth and somebody has to say it!
Nigeria is presently trapped in backwardness and unproductivity because it has continued to intermingle with the religious and ethnic stains that have continued to hold her down. There is nothing wrong with professing one’s religion, at least legally, but everything is wrong when religious garbage becomes unofficial state policy. If this trend is not reversed, Nigeria will remain on the lowest echelon of advancement.
So back to the question, will Deborah Yakubu ever get justice? The answer is an emphatic yes! She will but that will be when Nigerians, especially the none Muslims unify themselves in calling for the abolishment of the 1999 constitution which is full of contradictions on religion. She will get justice when Nigerian especially the Christians among them decide to speak in one voice and insist that the theocratic foundations binding the Nigerian state be dismantled.
In conclusion, Nigerians must understand that blasphemy-related attacks and killings will never stop unless there is a deterrent for such behaviours. Those deterrents can not appear by magic. Nigerians must demand them with every legal weapon available to them, including civil disobedience, social media campaigns et al. Their collective destiny is in their hands and they must make the best out of it.