In case you missed it, Talle Mai Ruwa is the latest victim of fanatical religiosity (blasphemy), only he doesn’t make it out alive.
The middle-aged resident of Darazo local government area, Bauchi, was burnt to ashes and charred bones by his neighbours for allegedly insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad – an act considered blasphemous and punishable under Nigeria’s blasphemy laws.
Talle was declared fit to be executed by the local clerics and summarily executed after he was accused of the crime and dragged before local Islamic clerics for questioning. His mother watched, alongside a cheering crowd of adults and children.
This is not a retelling of a medieval witch execution story, it is a tragedy in the year of the lord 2021.
Nigeria fails its own again
Allegations of blasphemy, blasphemy trials and sentencing to death or lengthy sentences on charges of blasphemy are common practices in Northern Nigeria.
And, the existence of blasphemy laws in Nigeria has been a matter of endless dissertations, especially when you consider it is a phenomenon that exists in a secular democracy. This has, however, not led to introspection and action on the part of the federal government.
The reason is simple.
For as long as these laws exist – with Shari’a states in the North allowed to hand down executions for its violation and the secular federal government able to pass two-year sentences for same – the federal government presumes all will be well. The conservative Muslim North is appeased at all levels of power after all, and anarchy can be hoped to be averted.
The case of Talle Mai Ruwa, who until his death was a Muslim, and that of many non-Muslims like Mrs Agbahime who was murdered in Kano following a false accusation of blasphemy prove the contrary.
Fanatics aren’t appeased with concessions that grant them a legal basis for their murderous crusade, history is replete with proof of this.
Unless the Nigerian government by its inaction is siding with fanatics to the detriment of citizens who disagree with these fanatics, it is about time Nigeria strikes its blasphemy laws at all levels of government.
It is long overdue for the promise of religious freedom – which also protects freedom from religion, to be guaranteed to all Nigerians, heathens and believers alike.