Religious Crisis in Nigeria
Religious Crisis in Nigeria - It is most suddenly and interesting that religion is such phenomena in human life, it’s an opinion that cannot be ignored ordinarily, even by their doubt, believe or not believing that God exists. This is because there is no other concept or phenomenon which moulds and controls man’s life as much as religion does.
Obviously both men and women in attempt to practice religion have given up not their possession but also their lives. Human being from time immersed born into wealth and destined to inherit great possession from their relation have renounced them and turned themselves into beggars from their religious beliefs. Thus religion has such a powerful grip on man that it cannot be ignored in human society.
In another development the concept of God is very cardinal to the issue of religion. Furthermore, the existence of God is an incomprehensible mystery that different religious conceive of him. It is not possible for any religion to hold entire knowledge of God, but each of them have their own fragmental and limited to the aspects they understood God. This as it were is a good analogy that illustrates, the way different people of different religious groups describes and try to conceive God in the aspect they perceive him. In actual fact it is impossible for any man or any religion to so grasp God in his entirety, since knowing him is mystery.
Religion has remained a core, largely divisive part of the politics of regions and ethnicity in Nigeria. Raw appeal to the religious persuasion of candidates for public office are common. The Bible and the Koran have become part of the staple of playing the divide and conquer strategy in the geopolitics of the country of almost 110 million largely boisterous citizens. It has been so even long before Nigeria’s political independence of October 1, 1960.
In fact, since the British colonialist, lord Lugard, led the amalgamation of the northern and southern regions of Nigeria in 1914, the Sokoto Caliphate, the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church and its variations have had ample leverage on who governs Nigeria. This reality was underscored by the power of the sultan of Sokoto since 1890s until the late and infamous Gen. Sani. Abacha came and plucked the previously influential Ibrahim Dasuki from the throne.
Fundamental Human Right
Nigeria’s human rights record remains poor and government officials at all levels continue to commit serious abuses.
According to the U.S. department state the most significant human rights problem are extrajudicial killings and use of excessive force by security forces; arbitrary arrests; impunity for abuses by security forces; prolonged pretrial detention; judicial corruption and executive influence on the judiciary rape, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners, detainees and suspects; harsh and life-threatening prison and detention center conditions; human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and forced labour; societal violence and vigilante killings; child labor, child abuse and child sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation; domestic violence discrimination based on sex, ethnicity, region and religion. Restrictions on treading of assembly movement, Press, speech and religion; infringement of privacy rights; and the abridgement of the right of citizen to change the government.
Twelve northern states have adopted the Sharia Penal code. Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara. The sharia penal code only applies to muslim. It provides harsh sentence for alcohol consumption infidelity and theft.
Christian Pastors in Nigeria have been accused of involvement in the torturing and killing of children accused of witchcraft. Over the past decade, over, 1000 children have been murdered as “witches”.
The 1999 constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria established the following fundamental Human Right for the country.
- Right to life
- Right to dignity of human person
- Right to personal liberty
- Right to fair hearing
- Right to private and family life
- Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
- Right to freedom of expression and the press
- Right to peaceful assembly and association
- Right to freedom from discrimination
- Right to freedom from discrimination
- Right to acquire and own immovable property
- Right to compulsory acquisition of property.
- Restriction on and elerogation from fundamental human rights.
- Special Jurisdiction of High court and legal aids.
According to the 1999 constitution every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
No person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religions ceremony or observance if such instruction ceremony relates to a religion other than his own.
No religions community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any place of education maintained wholly by that community or denomination.
Nothing in this section shall entitle any person on form, take part in the activity or be a member of a secret society.
Religious Crisis in Nigeria
Religion: Religion means different things to different people. It means one thing to the anthropologist and another thing to the psychologist. It means one thing to sociologist, another thing to the theologians and yet another thing to the Marxist etc.
Religion derives its meaning from Latin root words, namely Ligare-(Meaning to bind), Relegere (Meaning to unite or to link) and religio (Meaning relationship). Thus by implication of word “religion shows that it is essentially a relationship a link established between two persons, that is the human being and divine being believed to exist. It is something that links or unites human being with a transcendent being, a deity, believed to exist and worshipped by man. Therefore, religion is a relationship and a link between God and human being. For man the deity is a reality hence he believes on him and worships him. Hence where a belief is a deity is lacking there cannot be religion, since it has to do with transcendent being and human being.
Religion Crisis -Religious crisis is a disagreement or disunity between two groups or one religion and or different religious group that militate against coherent existence or practice within or without themselves. This situation has existed from time immemorial. For example conflicts can arise within Christianity or Judaism or Islamism etc. And in such occasions it has resulted to factions and denomination. In another development it could be Christianity versus muslims, which we experience much often in Nigeria.
For example Ibrahim T. Yaro in a Pamphlet titled “is this Islam? (1988) wrote as follows:
From time immemorial man had been communing with his Greater through prayers. But the mode by which this is done varies. However, one thing had always stood out very clearly and that is freedom which enables anybody to choose his or her own mode of worship.
These days, this freedom seems threatened by some religious zealots. They want to force others to accept their own mode of worship as the only acceptable one. Consequently it is widely accepted that of all religions in Nigeria, Islam maintained the record of being the most bloody and controversial by ways of demonstration of faiths. This assertion may be regarded as a historical legacy rather that an aberration. Right from time immemorial, Islamic activities have been associated with violence as a means of purification as an unification of its followers.
Unfortunately thus religion violence grows in intensity owing to the surprising doctrine that one who stubbornly dies in the course of fighting the infidels will inevitably find himself in “Alijesia” (Heaven or paradise).
One of the most recent religious crisis that happens in Nigeria was “Boko Haram” where Islamic fundamentalist was campaigning against anything western claiming that its adherent were not allowed by the Bauchi government to publicly practice their religion as well as win more souls to the seat.
In order to have a clear understanding of he whole issue, there is a need to dig down into the origin and concept of the doctrine of “Boko Haram”. The word Boko Haram may be seen as new from a shallow perspective, but the concept started of from northern Nigeria, when Europeans under the pretext of colonialism began to play double cards, by introducing their type of education along side Christianity in the muslim dominated north that was already operating on sound Islamic Jurisdiction, distinctive societal values and administration, as well as comprehensive Islamic educational system due to long time romance with the Arab World and the effects of the 19th century Islamic Jihad led by Sheik Usman bin fodia.
As a result of what the Northerners perceived as a play by Europeans to rubbish their religion values and replace it with Christianity in the first instance, and the ample evidence of practical steps to mask-and-serve chritianity in western education by Christian missionaries, the northern muslims began to declare that the education the Europeans claimed to be dispensing called Boko is haram. Which means “Boko” (European education) “Haram” (Forbidden). Therefore Boko Haram” means European education is forbidden.
Owing to this clash of dissimilar ideologies between Christian imperialists and the northern Muslim Communities, many parents had to withdraw and hide their children in order to save their belief and moral values from being contaminated. In some instance, it was agreed that this event is one of the major reasons behind the north’s poor participation in “Western Education” today.
After more than a century, those olden days local muslim folks that resisted “Boko” in the North, and without foot dragging declared it “Haram”, are today being vindicated by the altitude of our Boko trained workforce. Over the years, Nigerian graduates of Boko (Western Education) in almost all works of life have proved beyond any doubt that they are self centred and irresponsible in their conducts. They are the looters of public treasury, tacticians of bribery and corruption, promoters of injustice, election riggers, liars and assassinators.
Although both in 19th century and today’s Muhammad Yusuf’s Concept of Boko is Haram are essentially the same. The mechanisms of Yusuf argument are derived from something different from normal.
Analysis of both ideologies indicates that Boko Haram proponents appreciate the contribution of science and technology to human development and the need for muslims to get it through any means that does not compromise the injunction of Almighty Allah upon mankind. However, both Yusuf and his ancestors of the 19th century strongly reject what is seen as social vices wrapped-and-served as “western education”. We need education that will enable us build air-crafts, wireless electricity if permitted by the will of Allah, and not this one that teach us how to develop evil plan, how to snatch power, how to give and take bribe, how to commit interne fraud and propagate all sorts of social vices and injustice on the earth.
Boko Haram is a simple protest over the perceived and apparent moral decay associated with western educational system, and the need to indoctrinate the fear of Allah alone and de-emphasize the pursuance of evil principles and practices that tow the system and our lifestyle in the negative direction.
Pitifully, this it the simple justice that many people couldn’t do to Yusuf’s profound argument on western education system. Simply because the man does not agree to decorating fraudulent empire! For example, Allah has forbidden any gathering in what so ever, where men and women mingle together freely in the same environment except under transient abnormal circumstance that one doesn’t have any control over. But in our universities, men and women mingles together, and it is against the will of Allah.
Sheik Muhammad Yusuf looked around for remedy against the evils associated with our educational system, against the evil of election rigger, against the evils of corrupt judges, against the evils of our security organizations, against the evils of treasury looters, against perversion by some muslims and traditional rulers (who benefits from the 19th century Jihad), but found it no where within the sphere of the Westerly influenced system.
This is because from the parliamentary to judiciary, to executive and the securities, they are all products of the same rotten Boko System. In this type of system, authorities cannot provide anything meaningful for their subjects. If these authorities are responsible the couldn’t fly abroad just to check their BP, while other citizens are at the mercy of decayed infrastructures.
Yusuf began to device and implement what he believes is the best solution to counter the mess of our own brand of Westernization. First, he started by enjoining people to do only those things approved by Allah no matter how such may appear in the eyes of the custodians of corruption, and keep away from anything disapproved by Allah, no matter the material benefits attached. He urged muslims to stick to the Quran and the Hadith of the prophet, read it constantly, memorizing it, understanding it and putting it in practice. Certainly prophet Muhmmad SAW has enjoined muslims on importance of military training and the need to keep arms at all times. Unlike other muslims Sheik Muhammad Yusuf did not ignore this particular command of the prophet SAW. Others may think that Yusuf and his followers were wrong for carrying arms against the state, and they could have remained within the system and fight for political and social reforms. It was learnt that member of the sect had been planning a demonstration in Bauchi for a long time but were not given the chance because of the fear by government that their doctrine, if allowed to be practice publicly, would cause religious crisis, considering the fact that the teaching were completely contrary to those of other Islamic sects as regards peaceful coexistence.
The sect members in there hundreds trooped to Dutsen Tanshi police station in the early hours of the day and attacked it. They destroyed everything they could lay their hands on but could not break into the armoury. The police fought the Fundamentalists to a standstill and overpowered them, while over 100 of them were arrested.
The president Yaradua in dealing with Boko haram proponents ruthlessly, by instructing his security forces to TAKE WHATEVER MEASURE THEY FEEL IS NECESSARY: to crush them was so unique and unusual. However, many of them were overwhelm by the Nigerian Securities forces apparent demonstration of cruelty, and the elaborate media coverage the event enjoyed, as if it was intended to showcase the practicality of some particular Nazi theories on Nigerian citizens. On that fateful day 26th July, 2009, the trouble escalated in the afternoon, before the close of the day, over 100 people suspected to be sharing the ideology of Boko haram were killed by Police and the Army, with some outrageous figure of mass arrests.
The same incidence occurred in Maiduguri, in Potiskun and other Northern towns and cities. When Yusuf and his lieutenants were over powered, the subsequent days, the death toll was already on four digits. Muhammad Yusuf was not declared wanted or alive. Eventually he was caught alive by the army and handed over to police authorities alive shortly after, the police remembered Yaradua’s directive and saw it was necessary to kill him right away without being tried. They gave him multiple shots at close range, and declared him dead, thereby bridging his fundamental human right.
In Bauchi for example, only few out of the over 100 killed, where neutralized in active combat, over 60% of the killings was done on house-to-house meet and hit clearance operation, under the orders of the president. Some were first arrested by security agents, and then later shot dead. Because the rule of engagement spelled
“ TAKE WHATEVER MEASURE YOU LIKE”, the security forces operated out of combat ethics and demonstrated a sort of market place discipline. It was just like a vengeful operation.