I am outraged. I am just as incensed as any sane Nigerian over the dastardly killing in Sokoto of Deborah Yakubu, a Zuru lady from Ribah in Kebbi State, becasue she allegedly expressed an opinion which some youths found offensive. She is now no more with us. May God rest her gentle soul in perfect peace.
Since her murder, a case of barbaric crime against human life and decency we have seen a deluge of reactions mostly expressing revulsion, some calling for protests, reactions, even retaliation. Many have pilloried government and the security agencies for usual laxity and cover up, while a few have blamed Deborah herself for being reckless and careless knowing that she was living among “wolves who would devour her” for any seeming oppostition to their faith. Some are calling for justice, some others for revenge.
Be that as it may however, Deborah is gone. May her soul reats in perfect peace and may God comfort her parents, family and loved ones. We all must however agree that nothing, I mean NOTHING at all can justify or even excuse the slaughter and murder of anyone by a mindless mob like what Deborah has gone through. She may be considered careless, carefree or even reckless, name it, but no human being deserves to be treated like she has been treated. In cicilized societies, even the most hardened criminal deserves a fair hearing and trial. Deborah was certainly nothing near a hardened criminal.
This therefore is an issue which goes beyond religious rights to a hgher level of human rights. These really are what we must seek to defend; human rights and dignity. For this reason it really does not matter whether Deborah was ECWA, CAC Redeem, Catholic or even a Muslim person. She had rights and dignity which were criminally abrogated and impugned. That needs to be penalised and ultimately prevented from reoccuring. Her case should be used as a reference for clearing the backlog of such occurences in Nigeria and address the prospect of reoccurence. If we take our eyes away from that we lose it all.
Fortunately many credible Muslim teachers and scholars are beginning to speak as never before, criticising the assumptions and affirmations of fellow Muslims who endorse the crime. This therefore is a war of ideology interrogating itself, which I think will benefit us all. I think we as Christian must reflect and carefully coax and coopt this section of the Muslim community in order to achieve a greater victory for Nigeria and humanity. Such projects are not always best undertaken by protest marches and violent reactions. They require well thought out expressions, communications and strategies that will induce refection, convinceand persuade the general public so that this tragedy does not happen again.
I have personally spoken with Deborah’s Father and even with Leah Sharibu’s Dad. These are the main victims and dramatis personae of some of Nigeria’s recent debacles. I have also spoken with Bishop Matthew Kukah. They are all people of very deep faith who have a much wider scope to the problem at hand. Their perspectives are much wider and even wiser than the views and reactions of most of us outraged Nigerians.
I admire them and I deduce from them that this particular case, coming at this critical time in our political history, if handled well, can be the turning point for Nigeria to uncover the hypocrisy of our leaders and prospective leaders. (Check out the deafening silence of most of our prospective leaders). It can help us embark on genuine, robust public discourse and strategies for authentic change for Nigeria. Perhaps however, for that to happen, some of us need to step back from our anger so that we can truly ruminate and reflect on the way ahead.
Charting that course, while we continue to ask for justice is the task of concerned and alert Nigerians like you and me over the next few weeks. But we must do more! Let us have robust but positive propositions about how to build a new Nigeria on the blood of our “martyrs”. Many seem to be tired and averse to talk and discourses but whatever the problem may be you need a theoretical basis on which to build action….awareness through media, schools curricula, family, society, church, mosque, government, etc .. all wars and conflict in the world begin from an idea……
Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo
Bishop of Oyo