I was interviewed by the Atheists Republic Cape Town on their ‘Meet the Atheists’ segment. Below is the full clip on their You Tube channel. Enjoy!
On May 12, 2022, Deborah Samuel Yakubu, a 200 level Home Economics student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto was lynched by her fellow students on allegation of committing Blasphemy.
Deborah was dragged out of the security room where she was hiding, by a mob. She was mercilessly beaten, tires thrown around her neck and set ablaze by her colleagues, young Islamic fanatics.
Each time I tried to write about this case, I usually freeze, unable to manage more than a few words. I just stop because I feel a hopeless sadness pierce at my heart. A total confusion and perplexed at the sanity of the perpetrators and of those who still hold religious beliefs so dearly that they would harm others or even kill for their God or religious beliefs.
Deborah Yakubu was accused of committing Blasphemy against Islam/ Prophet Mohammed on a WhatsApp group. It is not very clear exactly what she said that her murderers considered blasphemous and worth lynching her over. Some have said Deborah, as a Christian, credited Jesus for helping her pass her exams. Some said she allegedly made a comment on WhatsApp, criticizing the religion-related posts that Muslim classmates discussed in the study group she believed should have been reserved for academic purposes. Whatever it was, it was allegedly deemed to be blasphemous, especially as Sokoto State, where the college of Education is located, is an Islamic state, although it is still part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is a Federal State and constitutionally a secular State, although the culture and behaviours suggest otherwise.
Nigeria has 32 States that make up the Federation. The North is largely Muslim while the South is largely Christian.
There has been public outcry in many parts of Nigeria following this dastardly act, with many calling for Justice.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Amnesty International (AI), the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) all condemned the dastardly act. You can read the many statements from different organisations in this Guardian report.
Catriona Laing, British high commissioner to Nigeria, called for the prosecution of the killers of Deborah. She tweeted, “I condemn the murder of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto, and urge the police and relevant authorities to ensure the perpetrators of this horrific act are made to face justice in line with the law.”
The Nigerian Bar Association announced that its conference that was scheduled to hold in Sokoto State from Sunday, May 22 to 26, 2022, has been cancelled because of the murder.
In a statement, signed by NBA President, Olumide Akpata, he said ” The NBA is deeply worried not just by the chilling news of the murder of Miss Deborah Yakubu, but also by the sudden and sad turn of events and the deteriorating security situation in Sokoto State.”
Akpata also expressed NBA’s concerns regarding the charges preferred against suspects that have been arraigned for the gruesome murder of the student.
“We are, however, worried by yet-to-be-confirmed reports reaching us that the suspects have been charged with mere breach of public peace in an episode that cut short Deborah’s life in her prime,” he said adding that the NBA is opposed to a “banalisation of the situation.”
Breach of peace? Really? A gruesome murder was committed in public, and they are charging the suspects with “breach of peace”? Words fail me.
Humans have been perpetrating unfathomable evils since they started creating Gods in their own image. The evils committed in the name of religion since time immemorial are just incomprehensibly evil, abominable and unfortunately still celebrated in the two precious holy books of Christians and Muslims.
I never met another Atheist before I became an Atheist. As a young teenager enthusiastic about her Christianity and about winning Bible quizzes, I simply read the Bible in all its entirety and knew there and then that my morality is far superior to that of the God portrayed in the fictional but gruesome holy book. I could not in all consciousness continue to worship or celebrate a sadistic God that was portrayed as responsible for the murders, genocide and jealous killings of even children.
Is it any wonder that some people who worship this God want to be just like him? I mean, what would God do in this circumstance if he were in that WhatsApp Group? Most probably get jealous, angry, throw a tantrum, and set the alleged blasphemer ablaze himself.
Well, it wouldn’t be a first, no matter what the religious believers say, be they Christians or Muslims. The Abrahamic God is not exactly known for His even temper and kind heartedness towards those who have any other God besides Him. Afterall, believers gleefully inform us that their God is busy preparing an everlasting burning fire where unbelevers like myself will burn in hell forever. How are sane people with empathy even capable of loving anyone, be it God or man, who is capable of thinking such evil deed, let alone carry it out? I say, show me your God and I will tell you who you are.
Deborah was an ardent Christians. I have seen some wonder why her God, the Christiaan God, did not step in and prevent her murder, smite the Islamic fanatics and show himself as the true God.
It is futile asking this type of question. It reminds me of the age-old question of Epicurus
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
It has been three weeks since the gruesome lynching and it seems Nigerians have already moved on to the next story on social media, the suicide of a successful single middle-aged woman. Another sad incident I shall write about in my next blog.
Until then, please try not to lose your humanity in this often inhuman world and definitely do not lose hope in humanity even though this seems to be the most difficult thing for me right now.
My heartfelt condolences to the family of Deborah Samuel Yakubu.
My heart breaks! Why are Black people so much hated everywhere?
I woke up to the hashtag #africansinukraine trending on social media and right now it is difficult not to rage at the world, at racism and how sad this all is. And they say White Supremacy is a thing of the past!
This makes me wonder; if we ever had a world crisis where people had to be rescued, I wouldn’t be surprised if the sign “No Blacks until all White people are safe” is openly displayed and a Policy to that effect openly implemented.
We say Never Again then things like this happen and we know yes, it can happen again. The true test of character and allyship is not when we are comfortable but when we are in a difficult situation.
Is it any surprise we don’t read about these things on the news, no mainstream media coverage? If not for social media, many would deny that such is happening right now. I despair for humanity. In fact, I am close to giving up on humans. What a sad world we live in.
It’s Black History Month and the theme this year is Proud To Be. I am Proud of everything that makes me Black.
I am proud of my Black Heritage.
I am Proud to be African.
I am proud to be an African Woman.
I am proud of the hospitality of my people.
I am proud of the creativity, the arts, rich culture and music that we have generously given the world which unfortunately are often appropriated without acknowledgement of the Black origin.
I am proud of the contributions of my people to Science and Technology.
I am proud of the exuberant nature of my people and the way we express ourselves with all our body gestures.
I am Proud of the renowned hospitality and welcoming nature of my ancestors.
I am Proud to be a Black African woman.
Africa is the cradle of life, it is the continuent that keeps giving even though they keep exploiting its human and natural resources, my people are resilient and continue to radiate hope.
They say Black is bad and not good enough, yet they refuse to return the beautiful Artefacts they stole from us that today still grace their museums.
They say Black is ugly yet they go under the knife to look like us to copy the very physical attributes they called ugly.
Still we rise because we know, and we know that they know, Black excellence is real, Black is beautiful. in and out.
To forget our history is to assimilate the lies of the colonisers and exploiters.
I know my history and this is why I Am Proud To Be. #HappyBlackHistoryMonth
As part of my celebration of Black History Month 2021 and in keeping with its ‘Theme ‘Proud To Be’ , I recited the poem ‘Africa my Africa’ by David Diop and shared with my work colleagues as a BHM video compililation project. Enjoy!
Africa my Africa – David Diop
Africa my Africa
Africa of proud warriors in ancestral Savannahs
Africa of whom my grandmother sings
On the banks of the distant river
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins
Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields
The blood of your sweat
The sweat of your work
The work of your slavery
Africa, tell me Africa
Is this your back that is unbent
This back that never breaks under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying no to the whip under the midday sun?
But a grave voice answers me
Impetuous child that tree, young and strong
That tree over there
Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers
That is your Africa springing up anew
springing up patiently, obstinately
Whose fruit bit by bit acquires
The bitter taste of liberty.
It’s my 46th year on planet earth today! I still remember the day I was born, okay, maybe I exaggerated a bit. The years I do remember makes me feel like I’ve lived three livetimes already because I have truly lived.
I’ve experienced life’s twin fountains of pleasures and pains, love and loss, happiness and sadness, good health and bad health but I knew they were all part of the deal called Life.
I am very grateful for where I am today and for the people that have been part of my journey through different stages in my life. Those that passed through it and those that are still part of it. You all contributed whether positively or negatively to my experience in life so far and those experiences, good or bad, have contributed to my emotional and mental growth.
Life is a beautiful story as long as we keep writing our pages and chapters in our own words, on our own terms and live it unapologetically.
I raise a glass today and toast everything that makes me the extraordinarily fierce, passionate, mentally and emotionally intelligent, discerning, sexy, strong, independent, beautiful black woman I am today. To many more years of living life with a passion.
My birthday is not complete without my annual birthday dance. This year I celebrated with the beats from motherland and danced to the music of the legendary King of juju music, King Sunny Ade. What better tune to shake my original land cruiser to than the beats of KSA.
Emi o ba won wa, emi o ni ba won lo…
Happy Birthday to me.
This video of the strained relationship between Haiti and The Dominican Republic broke my heart, and the comments on the video further tore it apart…and I thought I was over human’s inhumanity to human.
The evils of colonialism, slavery, genocide, racism, xenophobia, colourism and capitalism continue to fuel bile, hatred and unhealthy competition for basic human needs such as food, shelter and freedom to human dignity, which no human should have to compete for in this day and age.
The world has enough to provide basic human needs for everyone, however, sadly we live in a world where 1% of the population own such stupendous wealth that could help eradicate poverty if redistributed to build a better world for all, while the remaining 99% scramble for what is left in a bid to make ends meet.
Unrepentant, non-remorseful former colonial powers would rather put their former colonies in debts than pay repatriation for all the economic, political and human rights abuses they committed against these people they terrorised for decades.
The people who are left to pick up the pieces of their lives are expected to somehow have miraculous super powers to fight their way out of poverty caused by centuries of colonialism, slavery, economic and environmental exploitation, which today are still fuelled by racists policies, xenophobia, colourism, corrupt politicians and contempt for anyone they thought of as below them. it is indeed a sad world we live in.
Treating fellow humans like animals, using sticks on them, denying them basic human rights just because you view them as different than you, denying them employment or treating them unfairly because you are in a position of power speaks volumes about the kind of person you are.
What makes us decent human beings is not measured by how well-spoken or how well dressed we are, it is how we treat people who are less privileged than us, especially when no one is watching. It is not just how we treat them but what we truly think of people we consider different from us because of their race, colour, class, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.
As a black woman who live and work in mostly white dominated areas, it is shocking how different one is treated even by those who would never consider themselves racists but whose conscious or subconscious actions towards me reek of pure discrimination and racism.
Humans, we’ve got a long way to go to be truly an equal society, however every step toward that goal matters. Take a step and several more today towards creating a better world for all and that include your neighbours, colleagues and these immigrants you consciously or subconsciously view as beneath you.
Examine and check your White privilege.
Examine and check your class privilege.
Examine and check your gender privilege.
Examine and check your sexual orientation privilege.
Treat people different than you the way you would want aliens to treat you if they ever came and colonised this planet we call home.
As much as I try not to be so bothered with the ignorance displayed by fellow Nigerians daily, sometimes some things come up that one can’t in good conscience ignore because they are issues too important to ignore. The online assault on Miss Anambra by the homophobic, ignorant, religious extremist Nigerian mob is one of these issues. Now I must put my two cents in.
Since the alleged sex tape of Miss Chidinma Okeke, the winner of the 2015 Most Beautiful Girl in Anambra pageant competition, was leaked, there has been heated debate, fury, condemnation and all sorts of righteous silliness.
The sex tape showed Miss Anambra sexually pleasuring herself with a cucumber in the company of another lady, identified as her friend, Miss Adaobi Nzekwe, who was also a beauty queen, third runner up of the face of democracy, Anambra, 2014.
The tape was released without the consent of Miss Chidinma Okeke. She initially came out to state that she was not the one in the video and that the sex tape was released as a revenge porn. It was also alleged that she was drugged and the video filmed under duress. If the video was filmed under duress and she was drugged, this must be totally condemned. Forcing women to make porn videos to use as a sort of hold or collateral against them is horrible.
In a message posted on her Facebook page Chidima Okeke wrote- [Read more…]
Enjoy the sights and sounds of UK Black Pride, 2016 , through my lens and dance steps!
This police officer was really digging it at UK Black Pride, 2016. Transforming our community…for the better.
UK Black Pride 2016-Transforming our community with so much fun and positive vibrations.
UK Black Pride, 2016: Transforming Our Community.
Working it has never been so much fun! Work, work, work , work….
EDITED (16/03/2016)- Latest reports coming in are pointing to the fact that the pictures accompanying this story, which were taken from comments left on the alleged victim’s Facebook wall and news-reports, are not that of the alleged victim. Investigations are ongoing to authenticate the story.
Trigger warning- Graphic pictures: Blood and violence.
For some time now, for the sake of my mental health, I have shied away from reporting any news or write about anything from my home country, Nigeria. There is only so much sadness I can handle and that country has left me heartbroken one time too many. However, when I saw this horrible news of tragic homophobia on my timeline, I knew I had to say something about this. If anything could jolt me out of my silence on Nigeria and its nefarious issues, it is certainly another tragic homophobia, biphobia and transphobia case.
From news filtering in, the victim, Akinnifesi Olumide Olubunmi, was accused of homosexual activities, he was beaten up by youths in the community on 17th February 2016 and later died on 18th February 2016 from the injuries sustained. [Read more…]
A woman has allegedly given birth to a bible and a baby girl in Osun state, Nigeria. Just another baby born holding a holy book. Last time, it was a baby allegedly born holding a Quran. There was also that case of a baby born holding prayer beads, this time it is a baby born with a bible, all in Nigeria.
I wonder why they are never born with a cure for cancer, a recipe for the best Jollof Rice or at least a lottery ticket that would change the lives of their prayerful parents! Such bullshit stopped being news to me a long time ago, and this malady wouldn’t have caught my attention if not for the sad fact that it was given national coverage on NTA as prime time news! Yes, it made national news coverage on paper and TV, not as satire or a joke but as real news!
According to NTA, Adijatu Babalola, a mother of three, gave birth to a baby girl after she had delivered a bible in a mysterious way. [Read more…]
#BeingFemaleInNigeria is a hashtag that went viral in Nigeria just barely hours after it was first tweeted by members of a small book club. The hashtag started trending in many countries including UK. I would have loved for the hashtag to read ‘BeingaWomanInNigeria’ because the word ‘Female’ has its own social construct problem. However, i am over the moon that this very important conversation, which got the whole nation talking, was started by a very small book club.
The book club members had gathered to read their book of the month, an essay titled ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ by Nigerian award winning author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. According to a member of the book club, Florence Warmate, the discussion got very interesting and members started sharing their personal experiences of sexism in Nigeria. They decided not to leave it there but start a conversation on social media about what it is like being a woman in Nigeria.
Florence Warmate posted her first tweet on the subject using the agreed hashtag #BeingFemaleInNigeria. Hours later, it was trending on twitter. It was interesting that a small group of women could ignite a national discussion via social media in a matter of hours. Clearly, it was a discussion Nigerian women (and some men too), were dying to have. [Read more…]
On March 20, 2015, xenophobic attacks broke out in Durban, South Africa, some disgruntled South Africans turned on their neighbours, viciously attacking foreigners, mostly immigrant black Africans. This set in motion a wave of anti-immigrants attacks. The locals accused migrants of taking local jobs. They wanted the foreigners out of their country. Since the attacks, many deaths have been recorded and thousands of foreigners have fled for their lives, with many rendered homeless and in hiding.
A Mozambican man, Emmanuel Sithole was stalked, stabbed and murdered on the streets by vicious South Africans, According to reports, many including policemen watched while he pleaded for his life.
Like many West Africans, I was aghast when I saw the picture of what Jamie Olivier tried to pass off as Jollof rice. Twitter was set ablaze by the righteous fury of West Africans, protesting the audacity of an international white celebrity chef, who dared to plagiarised (and badly so too), West Africa’s much beloved dish, Jollof Rice. To an outsider, this might seem like much ado about nothing, but hey jollof rice is not just any rice, it is a national treasure, a national signature, and as #Jollofgate fury has proved, it is an African pride. Touch our Jollof rice; we will come at you with united fury! [Read more…]
As part of the celebration marking Black History/LGBT Month, I was interviewed by Tundun Adeyemo, presenter of the program ‘Outspoken’ on www.africaukradio.com. Below is a text of the interview, also available on her blog.
October is Black History/Lesbian Gays Bisexual Transsexual Month. In parts of London, people have been marking this in various ways. To help us give that some perspective is author Yemisi Ilesanmi who joins us from London to talk about her book and why homosexuality is not just an European concept.
Hello Yemisi, Many thanks for joining us.
1- You have written this book ‘Homosexuality is not unAfrican.’ Why did you write this book?
Thanks. I wrote this book to counter the erroneous impression that homosexuality is Un-African. This is a rhetoric that many African politicians keep sprouting in their bid to defend the discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and Transsexuals. With the upsurge of anti-gay bills springing up in many African countries, it became imperative to provide necessary information and create awareness on the issues of sexual orientation especially homosexuality and bisexuality. Information is power and education is key to human development.
In this digital age, where information is easily accessible, it is sad to know that many people especially Africans still fall for the homophobic, biphobic and transphobiic rhetoric that sexual orientation is a matter of choice. In the book Freedom to Love For All; Homosexuality is not Un-African, I put together a collection of my essays debunking the myths that Homosexuality is Un-African.
First, I started by clarifying the meaning of sexual orientation and providing accepted definition of the different kinds of sexual orientation and gender identity that we [Read more…]