Killing in the Name of the Devil- By Yushau A. Shuaib
The victims are clearly innocent. Trembling all over, wonder what they could have done wrong after living peacefully with their hosts for years… With fear written on their faces, tears forming in their eyeballs and trickling down their cheeks, they look in horror at their tormentors who are menacingly wielding dangerous weapons. Before they could say their last prayer for God’s mercy, the heartless vagabonds mercilessly descend on them with clubs, sticks, machetes and guns. They are killed like snakes, rats or thieves and their places of worship and abode are not spared from flame.
The marauders have once again rained an orgy of violence, not in the name of the Almighty God or any just cause, but in the name of the devil, probably influence by undesirable godfathers, selfish elites, drug addiction, illiteracy and endemic poverty. The devil has registered itself as a major contender for the nation’s future by the dastardly acts in Maiduguri and Onitsha cities in Northern and Southern Nigeria.
The erroneous impression that the genesis of the crises was as a result of protests over provocative Danish cartoons on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) couldn’t be tenable because, respected Muslim and Christian clerics had condemned the controversial pictures. In fact renown pastors had described the cartoons as blasphemous while professed sharia states in Nigeria, especially Kano, had previously staged peaceful demonstration with official sanction on Danish goods and services before the latest development.
Any religious person must be very pained by those associating religion of peace with killers of Maiduguri and other places. As a proud Muslim, I can affirm that my holy Quran does not promote this senseless and un-Islamic attitude. In fact Nigerians, wherever they are must also feel terribly disappointed at the reprisal killings of fellow citizens in Onitsha. Having lived amongst the Igbos at Asaba, an axis to the commercial city during my service year, I can attest to their hospitality and friendliness. Nobody should therefore allow parochial attachment to becloud their sense of reasoning to associate those ferocious acts with any religion or ethnicity.
The Devil needs another name but not religion or tribe to hoodwink the world. It is unfathomable that the resultant deaths from few days of altercation in Nigeria are counted in three digits, while casualties put together in other parts of Arab, Asia and even European countries, over the cartoons, recorded fewer deaths. That is strangely abominable.
Unlike past retaliatory attacks, which used to draw somewhat proportionate casualties, the current attacks in Onitsha were far more in number than those which attracted the reprisals. This unfortunately has clear coded signal that nobody, be it individual or group has the exclusive monopoly of violence to be unleashed on innocent souls whenever they are bloodthirsty in their attempt to loot.
If it is not the work of the Devil, how come the incidents coincided with the week of intense debate on Third Term imbroglio and the Public Hearing on the Review of the 1999 Constitution? Why should it happen in the very week the police were rumoured to embark on strike and at the time hostage-takers kidnapped nine expatriates in the Niger-Delta?
The innocent victims of recent massacres, unlike the VIPs of our nation who prefer to live in highly secure and protected cities of Lagos and Abuja or abroad, are patriotic Nigerians who left their places of origin to live in other towns, far away from home, to further strengthen the bond of our mutual coexistence. Most of them, as poor as they might be, have dwelled in their host communities for ages, promoted intermarriage and established their presence as law-abiding residents.
The marauders too, are unfortunately victims of morally corrupt environment that is occasionally remote-controlled from dubious and suspicious quarters. They are the victims of poor family background who could not provide them with basic education; they are victims of broken homes, whose parents could not bring them up properly; they are victims of fake preachers of dooms, who quote outside the scriptures; they are victims of drug addiction, that influence their level of insanity; they are the victims of sectional leaders who manipulate them to settle scores with opposition and above all they are the victims of a system that could not rehabilitate them adequately as they remain tools of political godfathers who deploy them to wreck havoc during electioneering. They have become monstrous and useless vagabonds that are better consigned to life in jail than allowed in a decent society.
Surprisingly most of the suspects and the victims are neither the children of the rich and mighty nor relations of highly respected citizens and custodians of our culture because the selfish elitist groups know how to protect their wards. That is if they live within the vicinity.
Probably out of fear and to sustain loyalty of followers, some leaders adopt subtle and cheap language to comment on the mayhem instead of condemning it in the strongest possible terms. The holy scriptures have several verses that denounce those horrendous anomalies. Even our cherished cultures are rich in expressions that could be deployed at this moment of tribulation and vengeance. The constitution gives every citizen the right to live in any part of the country, as they desire. We should be able to distinguish those who love our nation and can protect its oneness from those that have hidden agenda and surreptitiously clamour for its disintegration.
We must all rise with one voice to protect our nation from the antics of the devil who always desperately looks for the cover of creeds and other cleavages to wreck havoc. Let every right-thinking person condemn the senseless killing in the North and the reprisal attack in the South. Until when we have the guts to voice out publicly against those devils and the system to have the courage to quickly mete out hardest punishment on the perpetrators, our nation may not be safe from incessant reckless violence from vagabonds and looters.
Muslims and Christians must know that the religions preach mutual coexistence and brotherhood. We need to understand the true teaching of our faiths and that of others to appreciate the true words of God on unity and tolerance, not only to guide us spiritually and morally but as weapon for the day we may likely run into ambush of rioters where we could convincingly disguise to escape an untimely death.
The Punch March 1, Leadership March 1, Daily Sun March 3, Vanguard March 6, Financial Standard March 13, Daily Trust March 14, Daily Champion March 14, 2006
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