Public Preaching: El-Rufai And Ambode’s Decisive Steps | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Public Preaching: El-Rufai And Ambode’s Decisive Steps

Nnedi Ogaziechi
Posted: Jul 19, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Ogaziechi Nnedi

“Many of the world’s problems have been caused by “superficial differences of religion and nationality” ~ Dalai Lama.

In a highly traumatized world that seems to dish out tragedies almost on per second basis, Nigeria seem to have more than its fair share. The people woke up last week to the news that one Mrs Eunice Elijah, a 42-year-old mother of seven had been hacked to death by unknown assailants. According to reports, the late woman is a pastor’s wife who spent most mornings preaching around their home at Gbazango in Abuja, the nation’s capital city.

The reports also had it that both her megaphone and mobile phone were found close to her body. This obviously means that whoever her attackers were, they were not interested in robbing her; at least at that time of the morning when she probably had in her possession only those two items.

This is a death too many in a country where human life seems to be losing its essence so fast. Just like the thousands dying all over the country for no fault of theirs, the death of Eunice would soon be history as another tragedy might just be around the corner.

The irony of the whole incident is that, the husband and the children would be ‘consoled’ and ‘prayed’ for and advised to take heart because, ‘God knows best’. They would be advised to leave everything to God and friends and well-wishers would pray that such a thing never happens to anyone in this country again. Whether that prayer is crassly delusional or realistic would soon play out in another part of the country.

Nigerians are tragically too religious (all pun intended). With more Churches and Mosques than any other country with the same population, both the leaders and the led seem too willing to push most MAN-MADE problems to God to solve, and this is precisely why there seems to be an unending set of crisis/conflicts in the country.

His Holiness, Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, in response to a question by German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle about whether people should pray following the November 2015 Paris Terror attacks, strongly spoke against humanity trying to literarily ‘pray away’ man-made problems saying, “…it is illogical, God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place”.

There has been rumours and counter rumours about why and how Eunice, the daughter, sister, aunty, wife, mother and Nigerian citizen lost her life but that is not the focus here as there are agencies whose job it is to unravel the mystery surrounding her death.

However, because it is time for us all to be more realistic and for those that have the mandate of the people to do everything constitutionally right to protect the citizens, it is pertinent at this point to take a closer, non-partisan look at the moves made so far by two governors, El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State as regards bringing some semblance of sanity to religious practices in their States.

Interestingly, both governors are not atheists, governor El-Rufai is a practicing Muslim and governor Ambode is a practicing Christian. Governor El-Rufai had about four months ago sent a bill to regulate religious preaching to Kaduna State House of Assembly. The bill seeks to punish anyone who violates the law.

IN December 2015, there were reports that the Lagos State government had sealed off about 53 Churches, Mosques and hotels across the State over noise pollution and other environmental nuisances. According to the General Manager of Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA, Engr, Adebola Shabi, the complaints of residents necessitated the actions.

Expectedly, both the Kaduna and Lagos States’ actions, even though not totally a novel law, have attracted some condemnations from people who feel that the status quo should remain.

But the truth be told, Nigeria has been turned into one big tower of Babble. There is no country in the world where citizens are subjected to the level of noise pollution being experienced in this country. In a country without statistics and where certain religious leaders from Christianity and Islam see themselves as alternate leaders, the objection to some level of sanity would attract some objection.

However, the state must at all times protect lives and property of citizens even when citizens object. The mandate to serve and protect by leaders in positions must be enforced even when certain institutions and individuals try to assume powers that are constitutionally not theirs.

It is time for those in positions of authority in this country to rein in all religious and traditional leaders who through actions or inactions expose either their members or the larger public to danger at any level. Religion should be made to work for the people and not the other way round.