By Hussaini Hussaini
There were gruesome murders of one pregnant Muslim woman, Harira and her four innocent kids, and six other innocent Northerners killed in Anambra State. There was also arson on goods and livestock worth millions of naira belonging to Northerners in the southeast. As per Daily Trust Newspaper reports of May 24, 2022, and other sources, all the crimes were carried out by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). However, there was a habitual dead silence of other media houses. One of the victims, a Northern Christian, was said to have been killed and disfigured by the terrorist for his “offence” of being a northerner and securing a job in the southeast.
We are in a country where God in His infinite Mercies sandwiched diverse tribes and religions to live with each other. This, some may call a colonial act of 1914 in which the regions of the geographical location that was to become Nigerian were amalgamated. I see it ordinarily as a divine opportunity for success.
This amalgamation would have served a positive purpose for Nigeria post-independence if the citizens had united themselves for genuine national (not regional or personal) interest, just as the Europeans united themselves in sharing Africa as a spoil of war on the table in the Berlin Conference.
Unfortunately, Nigeria has been so divided by strives with ethnic, religious, and political colouration since its independence. We witnessed the happenings that led us to January 15 and the counter-coup of the 1960s down to the civil war. Those sad events should have served as lessons for us to think about how to live with one another in peace since divisions and strives had severally proven to be futile in solving our respective problems.
However, turns of events have shown that the gap between us has kept widening. Even the people at the helm of affairs and presumed outstanding intellectuals such as the leadership of the legal profession are taking sides and showing extreme bias in addressing issues that can touch the roots of our unity as a country. A typical example is a press release of May 17, 2022, by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) president, Mr Olumide Akpata. He took time to condemn the happenings in Sokoto over the killing of Debora Samuel. She blasphemed and uttered abusive, vulgar words against the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
In the same statement, Mr Akpata passively mentioned some killings of innocent Nigerians, including a military couple killed in the south by the terrorist organization, IPOB. Mr President held the brief of IPOB terrorists by referring to them as “Unknown Gun Men” as the southern media hypocritically cloned them. However, the NBA President made it clear through his press release that the statement and the cancellation of the scheduled NBA-Spidel in Sokoto were in honour of Debora, not the late military couple who was in a sane environment supposed to be national heroes.
To Muslims, who form the majority inhabitants of northern Nigeria, their lives and that of their families and everything they own should go astray if that loss will prevent any slur on the honour of Prophets Muhammad and Jesus, Mary, or any other prophet of God almighty (may peace be upon them all). In order words, Debora would not have been attacked by any mob if she’s only accused of killing a Muslim in their private affairs in Sokoto, just as some Igbo kidnappers who killed a Muslim Colonel a few years ago in Kaduna; and the Christians who killed Gen. Alkali in Du village in Jos.
Blasphemy committed by Debora is one of the highest abuses and attacks on the Muslims, which was capable of putting the entire region in flames. Still, our Bar President found it very worthy to state that his statement and postponement of NBA-Spidel was in her honour without showing any concern about the root of the evil. Idolizing Deborah without equally condemning blasphemy in all its ramifications is abuse and over trivialization of the sensibilities of the Muslim community, most significantly, the members of our noble profession.
All the Muslim leaders who spoke on the Debora issue, such as the Sultan, Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir, and Prof. Mansur Sokoto, have condemned mob action as they equally condemned the intolerant and provocative act of blasphemy. This would have been a fairer pattern of address to be employed by our President as a leader. Four years ago, I wrote two published articles to condemn blasphemy and mob action.
Ebikebuna Augustine Aluzu Esq responded to Mr Akpata’s statement thus: “in honour” is she an NBA Member?”. He concluded: “…People get gruesomely murdered in Nigeria daily. If NBA wants to stand against jungle justice, it should not be selective”. The NBA President would have done better if he stayed within his mandate fairly. However, since Mr President has chosen to throw his hat in the ring, what goes around comes around, they say. Hence, we will patiently await the personal reaction of the NBA President on the recent killings of northerners in the southeast.
Hussaini Hussaini wrote from Abuja via email@example.com.