Sunday, 24 November 2019

As the Call for UNN to Deny Witches a Venue to hold their Conference Intensifies: Intolerance; A Case for Juju Men and Witches —by First Baba Isa

24 November 2019 

Today, I focus on fellow Nigerians who practice traditional religion to drive home this point. These persons have consistently suffered the brunt of our wicked intolerance and against the provision of the constitution, the government does nothing to protect them. 

We mock their beliefs. We attack them. We destroy their shrines and burn their objects of worship in the name of family and community deliverance. 

Just go to our villages and see what people are doing in the name of God. In fact the first thing a young man will do after he claims God has called him to be a pastor is to look for one shrine to burn or one old tree to uproot. Some trees that are over 100 years old have been uprooted, with total disregard for its economic and tourism value, in the name of community deliverance. 

Maybe we are just afraid of them. Deep inside, we are scared that their God is mightier and stronger than ours. Like my friend, Immanuel, puts it, "Never mind having a Supreme Father, never mind all the assurances of safety in the Bible by that Father, the Nigerian Christian is the most afraid creature on earth. Sleepless in his fear of something he declares has no power, suspicious of every noise within range. "Killing", casting and binding in a tautology of chants against an agency whose apparent immortality never compels a rethink."

We consider them evil because they don't believe in a God who will give them virgins in heaven, we hate them because they have refused to follow our God who has a son without a wife, we curse Ogun and his worshippers in the name of Jesus the Israeli, who fellow Israelis have refused to worship till date. 

We burn the shrines in our backyard but spend billions of dollars to go to Israel and Saudi Arabia to worship in foreign shrines. We mock Amadioha worshippers, call their practice primitive but go to Saudi Arabia to stone the devil who is represented by a big black rock and go to Isreal to soak in the river Jordan because a carpenter's son was baptized there over 2000 years ago. 

Whatever we do in the name of religion is not the point here, it's ok really, but can we just leave them to do them. Who or what they want to worship is their constitutional right. Stop burning their shrines. Stop attacking them. Stop infringing on their right to worship. It's wrong. It's not fair. 

I know that when a piece like this is written, fanatics will declare that the writer has backslidden. But if you truly study the Bible and Quran, you will see that these books preach tolerance. Jesus and Mohammed lived amongst people who didn't believe in their God or way of worship, they did not destroy them. What's wrong with us? 

At times I wish there is some sort of appliance that we can just place on our chest to gauge humans tolerance level before they are allowed to operate in the public space. 

Intolerance is the highest level of stupidity but sadly most persons confuse it for intelligence. Religion more than anything else has inflamed this intolerance. 

We have been taught that once we don't like it or understand it, it must be wrong and illegal. We have been taught to respect the only things we love and understand. We have been taught that persons that are intelligent are those who agree with us, so he must be a fool if he doesn't agree with you.

Well, since there is no appliance to measure intolerance, you can adopt this simple method to check it for yourself: when you feel a certain kind of anger and repulse for the way someone else worships his God, as long as it doesn't hurt you legally, then you are being intolerant. Stop it before it stops you. 

- By First Baba Isa (FBI), a Legal Practitioner and writes from Abuja.

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