By Ishaq Habeeb
I know emotions are tense at the moment, and people are understandably choosing their words carefully not to appear fanatical or “un-woke”, but as we condemn the lynch mob that murdered Deborah in cold blood, let us also condemn her recklessness to save the next Deborah from other such murderous lynch mobs abound.
Deborah was only right to caution people to stop posting irrelevant, least of all, religious messages to a school platform, comprising people of varying faiths, formed solely for sharing academic updates, but dead wrong and at once suicidal, to speak blasphemously about a man whom she – should – know (since she spoke the Hausa language, a tribe, about 80/90% of whose natives are Muslims) majority of the group members, hold in the highest esteem.
Sadly, in Nigeria, you only need to become an Admin of a WhatsApp Group – with a clear cut mission – to know how practically impossible is it to govern Nigerians and have them obey simple rules.
I understand that it is hard to blame the dead in moments like these, but there are young people here who are reading our takes on topical issues, and our takes to shape their ideas and actions.
So, condemning only the lynch mob while ignoring the victim’s manifest, brash and unbridled lack of respect for other people’s revered personalities is, to say the least, lynching the stark truth to appease our emotions, and that is both shortsighted and dangerous.
We must do well to avoid living in half-truth denial and speak the whole truth from both sides so that young observers will not go around believing it is okay to do what Deborah did and that the only person to blame squarely is the lawless lynch mob.
Obviously, we can’t reason lynch mobs out of jungle justice(s). Still, we can reason with our living sister Deborahs to study their environments and always be mindful of their utterances, and this isn’t limited to people’s belief systems. It cuts across all strata of people’s lives endeavours. A stitch in time, as they say, saves nine.
Conclusively, as the regional coordinator of a Pan African movement, I’ve had to, on several occasions, scold/remove members for posting Friday/Sunday messages to the movement’s WhatsApp platform, even though it has a self-defined purpose and a strict rule against posting ANY irrelevant and PARTICULARLY religious messages.
As an admin, I’ve been called many atheistic names privately by those shambolic recalcitrants for simply doing my job, as clearly spelt. I fear if they could have their way, perhaps, I may as well face Deborah’s fate.
Ishaq can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org.