Friday, October 5, 2012

Mubi Massacre, 52nd Independence Anniversary and the Problem with Nigeria

From 2009 till date, celebrations to mark Nigeria’s Independence and most national and public holidays have been marred by bomb explosions and killings of innocent citizens. On December 25, 2009, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian man then, educated in Mechanical Engineering at a prestigious University College, London launched Nigeria into international spotlight as a terrorist state, when he failed to detonate a bomb to blow-up a US Northwest Flight 253 with hundreds of passengers on board traveling from Amsterdam-Schipol airport to Detroit, Michigan, USA. Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, we later learned is the sixteenth and youngest son of a wealthy Nigerian in the name of Alhaji (Dr.) Umaru Mutallab, a staunch member of the Northern Oligarch and one of the huge beneficiaries of Nigeria’s oil wealth. Today, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab is spending time in the U.S. prison instead of working to give back to the nation that spent millions of tax payers’ money and oil wealth educating him in British universities.



Since then especially during most national holidays, Nigerians wake every morning worried and afraid where the next bomb explosion will go off. These bombings and irrational killings have been going on since Dr. Jonathan Ebele Goodluck, a southerner and Christian replaced late president, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua in May, 2010 and subsequently elected president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in April, 2011. In that same year, October 1, a bomb explosion almost derailed the 51st Independence Anniversary and two months later, on December 25, 2011, Boko haram sect unleashed the most deadliest, dastardly and despicable terrorist assault on innocent Nigerian Christians at the Saint Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger state and other coordinated bombings of churches in Jos, Plateau State and Damaturu, Yobe State, that killed many parishioners and injured hundreds beyond recognition. One horrifying photo showed the brains of a young baby totally blown out. Boko-Haram chose the most Holy Day of Christianity to inflict the worst evil, vile, barbaric, and satanic massacre of innocent church worshippers. It was not just an attack on Nigerian Christians but an assault on Christianity in general. It caused an outrage and provocation on the part of the Christian community, until today, many bombs explosions and killings have occurred and yet no meaningful arrest or dialogue has been made. 

And so this year, even though the 52nd Independence Anniversary was celebrated with low profile in the confines of Aso Rock, which is unusual, yet the jihadist sect went on rampage in at-least three northern States including the massacre at the Federal University of Mubi, Adamawa State, where 46 students were shot dead and several stabbed to death - all linked to the dreaded Nigeria's Islamic Jihadist sect known as "Boko-haram," which means "Western Education is Evil." The group is agitating for an Islamic-Sharia for the 19 States in the north.
  
The Christmas massacre and the U.N. bombing were deadly, but I think the Mubi massacre is probably the vilest and deadliest. It is sad that these kinds of internal terrorism currently assaulting northern Nigeria are sponsored mostly by outsiders. From al Shabaab- a radical group out of Somalia that is linked with al-Qaeda to Mali and Libya in the North - these countries are now besieged by al-Qaeda militants killing innocent people at random and the nations' security forces are unable to tame them.

This brings me to make this point that the real cause or root of Nigeria’s problem is religion. Many Nigerian writers, commentators, pundits and leaders of thought have proffered reasons for Nigeria’s problem and underdevelopment, such as poor leadership, corruption, amalgamation, ethnicity, tribalism, lack of patriotism, intolerance, ignorance, and others. I agree with all that and I have written extensively on those topics. But the more I read and study Islam, its core theology and beliefs, which are entrenched in Islamic political and economic life, and Muslim fanatics, the more I’m cautious to say that the real cause of Nigeria’s problem is deeply rooted in religion, religious ignorance, and religious intolerance.
  
Religion is the root cause of Nigeria’s failure as a nation. However, it does not undermine the other reasons that have been advanced for Nigeria‘s woes. I think those reasons are just the offshoot of the root problem. Currently, I’m working on a book entitled: “The Problem with Nigeria,” will seek to expand the discussion and include thorny subjects such as the origins of the inhabitants of Nigeria, ethnicity, tribe, culture, values, social norms and off-course religion and faith as some of the reasons behind Nigeria’s social, economic, political problems. But for the purpose of this piece, I’ll limit to the issue of religion and faith.

Religious belief has everything to do with a nation’s social, cultural, political, and economic development. It also impacts a nation’s core value system and patriotism. Religious intolerance and religious conflict is a big threat to the security, unity and prosperity of any country. Religious ignorance and intolerance breed violence. Religious ignorance, intolerance and violence are a big problem in Africa. In the continent of Africa, religious violence and ethnic cleansing are enormous. Religious violence has decimated more lives in Africa in the last 50 years than hunger, disease, accidents and even wars combined together. Africa and Middle East have been properly called a "Bloody Continent." They are a battleground between Islam, Christianity and traditional religions. Muslims and Christians kill each other in Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Senegal, Rwanda, Kenya, Mali, Burundi and other places in Africa and the world.

In addition to the bloody violence and conflict between these widely known religions, we have the pagans and African traditional religions with thousands of fetish shrines all around the country. These Fetish priests use hypnotism and witchcraft to deceive ignorant, debased and hopeless people looking for quick and magical ways to achieve success or solve their problems. Some of these fetish priests kill and slaughter new born babies for rituals. This same religious ignorance and intolerance is also rampant among Christians.
 
I’m truly convinced that the root cause of Nigeria’s crisis is religion, religious intolerance, religious ignorance and lack of national identity. Nigeria has no national patriotic values. Nigeria is simply a bunch of empires and kingdoms lumped to live together without any parameters to define what the new nation is or will be. In a nutshell, Christianity and Islam cannot cohabit – not in Nigeria’s case. There is no nation like Nigeria in the world with regards to practice of faith. Nigeria is apparently described a secular, multi-cultural and multi-religious pluralistic society in words but not in action. Sadly, the north sees and wants Nigeria to be an Islamic State.

Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke

Source: http://nigeriamasterweb.com/blog/index.php/2012/10/05/mubi-massacre-52nd-independence-anniversary-and-the-problem-with-nigeria

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