This kind of incidence drags down the level of national discourse. But then, in truth, we may not deceive ourselves that we have attained the levels that other nations have while living with millions of minds that remain bestial and in a state of suspended animation when it comes to religion and tribalism/ethnicity. There has to be an away. The Nigerian state must show who is the boss, otherwise, we will submit our certificate of statehood back to the United Nations and carry on as beasts of the wild. Not only have we screwed up our economy and society through myopia, sheer incompetence, and mismanagement, but we have failed to communicate with and lift up millions of minds to see things properly and understand the true meaning of civilization. Civilization, mind you, is the ability to live in large communities and tolerate diversity and diverse opinions. We admit that we do not want society to go into a tailspin whereby everything and anything is permitted. Yes. But one of the ‘anything’ that must not be permitted too, is for anyone or a group of people to get up and UNDER ANY DISGUISE, kill a fellow human being… not for religious purposes, economic reasons, or that they have committed a crime. We cannot focus only on western excesses like sexual perversions, can we?
Thomas Hobbes described that primitive state of being where life was nasty, brutish, and short. In that state, nobody had a specific right to anything. A thief was not a thief. A killer was not a killer. A robber was not a robber. He was just acting on survival instincts and so could attack anyone to collect whatever they had just to satisfy himself. Everybody sought to defend themselves and to kill and maim while doing it where necessary or whenever it catches their fancy – such as to prove who was stronger. It was the Dark Ages, though every morning and afternoon, the world was as bright as it is today. The sun shone to illuminate life. But humans refused to see it. Anyone still deliberately living in the Dark Ages should be outed for such a reason. At some point, human beings came together and decided to vest their rights to self-defense in the state. Therefore, if someone wrongs you, rather than stabbing or killing them, you report to the state to do justice on your behalf. The world decided to move on from the nasty, brutish, sad, and short ways of existence. Alas, in Nigeria, with tens of millions of people in a dark state of mind, enveloped by fanatic adherence to a religion that creates no space for deep interrogation of their actions, we are in deep trouble.
On Citizen Deborah, the Nigerian state must show who’s the boss. Thankfully, Buhari is not running for the presidency in 2023. I have noticed how almost every aspirant has not spoken on the matter of the dastardly, bestial, and animalistic lynching of Deborah, the Sokoto College of Education student. But I think there must be intelligent ways of engaging this particular issue. For instance, we have heard how street lynching by a mob is unislamic. We have heard verses quoted to explain what is required of the Muslim Ummah if someone is said to have blasphemed. There is judicial precedence up to the Supreme Court, where people have also paid the supreme sacrifice in the proper hands of the laws of the land, for taking laws into their hands and killing someone for blasphemy. The mob does not replace the khadis and grand khadis of our shari’a courts. All of us have now become scholars, and that is good. But can we rein in the recalcitrant fellows? The ones who went on a rampage damaging properties and threatening people, giving a very bad name and face to the religion of Islam? Can we get so-called enlightened people like Captain Jamil Abubakar, former Pilot, and son of a former Inspector-General of Police, blue blood if ever there was one, that he could not summarily support street urchins to grab anyone, cudgel them to death, and set them on fire?
Can we rein in the many Imams, Ustazes, and Alfas that we have heard justifying this act of murder, some even praising it and raining curses on the dead lady? Can we convince Bashir Ahmed, Buhari’s youngest presidential aide, who had once declared his support for summary killing as a price to pay for blasphemy, that he needs to reread his Qur’an and banish the thought of mob killing from his heart? Can millions of folks who still remain vehemently stuck in the 8th or 9th century be convinced that the world has changed and whereas we will not want to adopt the extremities of immorality and unbridled freedom which drives people insane, we must also never remain in a primitive era where there were no institutional structures to ensure a good level of order, decorum, sanity and protection of humans and even animals from such trauma as we saw bestowed by the mob on Deborah? Can we even teach those 34 lawyers who gleefully appeared in court for the killers that they are not helping society to grow? Or we ask which version of the Holy Books they read that makes them dismiss the death of an innocent – yes innocent – woman with the wave of a hand? Can we also get our people to imbibe the idea of being sensitive to other people’s feelings and religions and cultures in general? We now live in the information age where news travel so far so quickly. But we may have neglected to teach our children and wards that the world out there is dangerous and not everyone is totally balanced mentally. Have we told our children and wards as they go out there to be careful in their speeches and conduct? Or we have left them to figure it out themselves?
And there are other killers in our failed nation. Before this nasty act by these crazies, the latest outrage in town was about the killing of two lovebird soldiers. The perpetrators, somewhere in the East of Nigeria, also got that on tape. They recorded it for the world to see as they commented about the wages of sin against their cause. They were members of a separatist group. After raping the rather beautiful and voluptuous lady with many bruises on her body, they proceeded to slice her head off while she still breathed and then placed the head on her body. She scowled as she was beheaded. What a fate to befall someone in this world. The crazy men then proceeded to slice off her vulva. It is a moot point to argue whether Buhari has lost control of this country anyway.
In the southwest of the country, we also have the phenomenon of lynching petty thieves. A couple of months ago, I recall seeing two such charred bodies in Mile 2 on approach from the Oshodi Expressway. It had been a long time I saw such. And just a few days ago, we saw as another person – this time a sound engineer – was lynched and burnt up in highbrow Lekki in Lagos. In the southwest too, we have crazy people who daily kidnap and kill people for ritual purposes. This happens everywhere in the country but is rife in this region. The government MUST draw a line over any of these. Granted that the religious one gets the most attention. Some of those who commended or ignored the killing of the soldiers in the east, and the many policemen and other paramilitary workers that have been killed by the dozens, are today amplifying and playing ‘civilized’ over the Sokoto incident.
Something tells me that in this social media age, we can achieve something with the Deborah event. Luckily these terrible events are few and far between. With the dissemination of information these days, we can banish such bestiality. Granted that there are problems in every country (knife crimes among black teenagers in the UK, gun crimes in the USA – also often among black people), we are in a peculiar situation here. Our reputation is already shot to pieces. However, we cannot solve the problem by burning down our country. Every country has its own issues. If we ran to the USA for instance, to complain about this issue, they will be mocking us if they give us an audience. On the same day that these street urchins here were killing Deborah in cold blood, a certain Payton Gendron, just 18, in even colder blood, murdered 10 people in Buffalo, New York. He targeted blacks. Countless such incidences happen there. The USA should probably be asking us how our society is relatively more peaceful than theirs.