Is Nigeria Still A Secular State? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Is Nigeria Still A Secular State?

Olympic games;Adewumi Oni; Public Affairs Analyst; 1st October
Posted: Jul 15, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Adewumi Oni
The brown soil of Gbazango-West area of Kubwa, a satellite town in the FCT was defiled in the early hours of Saturday 9th July 2016, as Pastor Mrs. Eunice Mojisola Elisha was gruesomely murdered while on her morning cry round. Pastor Elisha was reportedly killed by suspected Islamic fanatics who are yet to be identified, let alone arrested. This is happening barely a month after an Igbo woman was killed in Kano on the pretext of blasphemous utterances against Prophet Mohammed.
It is very disconcerting that these two murders happened in the city capitals where you would expect rapid response from law enforcement agencies. How the murderers managed to attack her, beat her and slit her throat without any interference by any security agency in the Federal Capital Territory still remains a mystery. Kubwa is not so much of a village, so any claim of remoteness to city center holds no water. So much for security in the Federal Capital Territory!
These religious killings and several others that we have witnessed in our beleaguered nation bring to mind the question, ‘Is Nigeria still a Secular State?’ From all indications, it is appearing as if it is a crime to be a Christian in the Northern part of the country. Over the years, Christians have been persecuted and murdered in cold blood in the North and nothing concrete has come out of the investigations of the police officers neither has there been serious steps taken by the government to check these.
The irony is that in the Southern part of the country, the relationship between the Christians and Muslims is more cordial and there is little or no incident of such killings. One then wonders if the Muslims in the South are different from those up North. Do they read the same Quran? You would often find Muslims in the South saying Quran does not support killing of innocent people, whether or not they are Islam faithfuls, while those in North will kill, maim and destroy properties at the slightest provocation or excuse. Where is religious tolerance in all of these?
Has the country become an Islamic nation? Why can’t people worship whoever they wish to in peace? Why must I suffer because I don’t belong to your faith? Who made one faith better than the other? Don’t we all have the same right to choose any religion?
Just last week the whole recoiled in terror as we watched the murder of two black men (Alton Sterling and Philando Castle) by White policemen in the United States. Blacks all over the country took to the street and social media protesting these unlawful killings and adopting the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’. The unfortunate thing is that even as world leaders including our President condemned these killings, our leaders in Nigeria are yet to understand that Christian lives matter in Nigeria, that pagan lives matter and that every live matters for that matter.
The speed, depth and scope of investigation by the Nigerian Police whenever such killings or religious destructions take place leave so much to be desired. This may have emboldened the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to keep finding the next victim. If Nigeria were to be a secular state as stated in the constitution, then morning cry by Pastor Elisha should not have earned her death ticket. If her crime was preaching near a mosque, then public address system should be banned in every religious centers, including ban on calls for early morning prayers by the Muslims.
The truth is that every live matters and our Security agencies should elevate themselves beyond religious, tribal or political lines and guarantee the safety of lives and properties of Nigerians regardless of their tribe, religion or affiliations. Our land has been wholesomely defiled with many unlawful killings whether by religious fanatics, ritual killers, angry mob, or even the law enforcement agents. Little wonder there is almost zero correlation between the number of religious bodies and economic progress in the country. A nation filled with hands tainted with blood cannot make any progress until she repents. The cries of the innocent will continue to overshadow the prayers of such nation.
The Federal Government must also demonstrate visibly that Nigeria is still a secular state by ensuring that the killers of the Igbo woman and Pastor Elisha are fished out and the full course of law allowed to take place. Enough of these waste of precious lives.
Oni writes from Mowe, Ogun State