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.
I first saw the hashtag #WivesNotCook when a Facebook friend made a response post on it, which she titled “SO YOU WON’T COOK?”. When I read the post, right from the first paragraph, I cringed. I wanted to ignore it as I have ignored most things Nigerian lately. However, the post has been shared many times on Facebook, mostly by Nigerian men, who are using it as a reference point to chide women who support the hashtag #WivesNotCooks. Many have even used it as a point to bash single women, single mothers, divorced women and blamed all woes imaginable on feminism.
The post and the comments it generated made me realise we really have a long way to go in educating even the educated about the meaning of feminism. I understand that sometimes when we don’t want to engage, we still owe it to posterity to engage on some issues. Hence, why I decided to write this response to dissect the post and point out the problems with it, as it relates to feminism.
I was so surprised that someone who self-identified as “an unapologetic feminist” starts her argument against the hashtag #wivesNotCooks with these remarks- [Read more…]
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…]
On Saturday Sep 24th, 2016, the Nigerian community in UK organised an award dinner ceremony to honour 56 uncelebrated Nigerians in five different categories as part of Nigeria’s 56th independence anniversary.
I was proud to be nominated for the award and was really honoured to receive the Uncelebrated Nigerians Award for contribution to Legal, Security & Law enforcement.
In my acceptance speech, i dedicated the award to Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals and Queers in Nigeria and diaspora. Every Nigerian deserves to be free from discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBT Rights are Human Rights. [Read more…]
On Monday, 22 August, 2016, it was reported that 8 polytechnic students were burned to death by Islamists in Talata Mafara town, Gusau, the capital of Zamfara state, Nigeria. One of the students was alleged to have blasphemed against Prophet Mohamed.
According to news reports, the student was said to have committed blasphemy against Islam and the Prophet Mohamed during an altercation with some Muslim students. Fearing for his life, he ran into the house for safety. The Islamists mob went on a rampage in the town and set the house on fire, burning 7 other students along with the alleged blasphemer.
Later reports from other news sources claimed that, the student in a heated argument had blasphemed against Islam and Prophet Mohamed, he was beaten to a pulp by the enraged islamists . A man whose name was given as Tajudeen, tried to rescue the student in his car and drove him to the hospital. In retaliation, the Islamists mob set the man’s house on fire, killing the eight occupants in the house. [Read more…]
A 9-year-old boy was rescued from a church in Ogun state Nigeria, after weeks of being chained and tortured. The Celestial church of Christ had been keeping the emaciated child in chains and tortured him in a bid to rid him of demonic possession. This was said to be with the consent of the child’s father, a pastor.
According to Premium Times–
The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES [Read more…]
Just a few days after a 74-year-old woman was beaten to death by angry Muslim youths in Kano state, Nigeria, for alleged blasphemy, another similar incident with almost same fatal outcome happened in neighbouring Kaduna state. Francis Emmanuel, a 41-year-old man was attacked by irate Muslim youths for not observing the Ramadan fasting, even though he was not a Muslim.
Speaking from his hospital bed, Francis Emmanuel, a carpenter, reportedly said–
I went to buy wood to do some work. When I came back I bought food to eat. As I was eating about six Hausa boys came and asked me whether I am a Muslim or a christian. I did not answer them. They asked why am I not fasting? I told them that I am not a Muslim.
“Before I knew it, one of them slapped me. As I stood up, the rest came and surrounded me and started attacking me with knives. I don’t know them. Nobody could come to my aid because of the type of dangerous knives they were carrying.
“They used cutlasses scissors and knives on me. I became unconscious, I don’t even know who brought me to the hospital.
Beaten unconscious for daring to eat during Ramadan period and he was not even a Muslim! Let’s be clear, even if he was a Muslim, he has the right to choose whether or not to starve himself to please his Skydaddy. No one should have the right or audacity to demand that another observe a religious rite.
In some parts of Northern Nigeria, we have had cases where people were beaten up for drinking alcohol even when they were not Muslims and therefore not bound by the Sharia Law. Shops selling alcohol have been vandalised because …well, Sharia law. This descent into a state of lawlessly in the name of religion needs to be checked before it gets to a point of no return.
Is their precious Ramadan not supposed to be the “Holy Month of Peace”? Unleashing violence on people who chose not to fast while you starve to endear yourself to your sky daddy brings a whole new meaning to the saying “A hungry man is an angry man”.
Which is why I despair when we are told to be politically correct and wish our Muslims brothers and sisters a Happy Ramadan. Why on earth would I want to encourage people to starve themselves in the name of a Skydaddy?
Happy Ramadan indeed, I’d rather we rid the world of religion in all its barbaric forms.
It pains me that every time I had to write about Nigeria, it is always some gory story. I try as much as possible to steer clear of these negative reports, however, no matter how fast I run, i can’t outrun the truth. It is painful but gory religious news are all that seems to come out of Nigeria.
There are a few important stories that came out of Nigeria these past few weeks that I shied away from writing about, cos well, I just despair when it comes to Nigeria and it really causes me a great deal of depression to engage with religious fanatics, especially religious Nigerian fanatics. Such encounter is like a glimpse into the mind of prehistoric cavemen.
It seems I am not allowed to talk about the tragedy in Orlando without acknowledging the tragedy in my own backyard (even though Nigeria has not been my backyard for a few years now). There is always that one person or persons, keen to point out that I am more sympathetic to issues outside the country than within. But how is that surprising? After all, gory religious happenings are the norm in Nigeria, so what else is new? In my next few blog posts, I shall endeavour to cover a few of these religion motivated gory stories from Nigeria. First, let’s talk about the case of the woman that was allegedly beheaded for speaking against Prophet Mohammed. [Read more…]
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…]
Just as I finally summoned enough interest to write about the Baga killings, news came in that Islamists terrorist group, Boko Haram, has struck again, this time in the city of Maiduguri. According to Sahara Reporters–
Top security officials just confirmed to SaharaReporters that Islamist fighters today overwhelmed the 243 battalion of the Nigerian Army stationed at Monguno Barracks. The insurgents killed an undetermined number of soldiers and wounded the brigade commander of the barracks.
Our sources said soldiers who put up resistance to the invading insurgents were killed, adding that many soldiers then ran in different directions. They disclosed that 1,400 soldiers were stationed at the barracks at the time of the attack, adding that military authorities were not aware of their exact whereabouts or how many of them had been killed. “We still don’t know what has happened to them [soldiers], but we know that Boko Haram now controls the barracks and Monguno town,” one officer based in Abuja confirmed.
When the Islamists terrorist group Boko Haram struck in Baga and killed a disputed 2,000 people , it was no longer considered newsworthy, at least not in Nigeria. I must confess that even as a Nigerian, I did not bother to check out the news, deven though the headlines screamed at me. According to CNN –
During the raid that started January 3, hundreds of gunmen seized the town of Baga and neighboring villages, as well as a multinational military base.
Attacks started at dawn and continued throughout last weekend, according to residents.
Though local officials gave conflicting death tolls, they agreed on the massive number of fatalities.
More than 2,000 people were killed in attacks on 16 villages, Bukar said. He could not explain how he arrived at that toll.
But the local district head said hundreds of people had been killed, not thousands. The actual toll will be known after a headcount of households is complete, Hassan said.
Two days after the attack, a man who claimed to be Abubakar Shekau [the leader of Boko Haram] came and addressed us. He said: “Today, where is your government from local to highest level? You are now under our control.” And he preached to us.
After that, Shekau and many of the insurgents left the town in the hands of some Boko Haram members who are from Baga.
These men have taken control of the young women in the town. They rape and abuse our daughters.
In the evening they choose ones who are neither pregnant nor nursing mothers and take them away. They don’t bring them back until the morning. If it is not rape what are they doing to them?
I guess we are now so desensitised to the atrocities of Boko Haram that it seems more murders in the name of Allah is no longer news, at least not when it involves Boko Haram. This might sound callous or insensitive, especially since the Baga killings occurred around the time of Charlie Hebdo killings, which I took the time to write about. So, why this seemingly uncaring attitude towards the Islamists terrorists presently ravaging my birth land (Holy FSM, I can’t even bring myself to call it my homeland anymore)?
I think this ‘What else is new’ attitude towards the misadventures of Boko Haram is indeed sad and scary. When an abnormality becomes the norm, [Read more…]
Who votes for a man who truncates democracy?
Who votes for a man who has repeatedly shown his disdain for the rule of law?
Who votes for a man with a record of appalling human rights violations?
Who votes for a man who advocates for Sharia law in a supposedly secular society?
Who votes for a man who cares not that lives, especially young lives, were lost because he lost an election?
Who in their right mind endorse such a despotic being as a presidential candidate?
How could a decent person openly campaign for votes for this despot?
What type of self-acclaimed progressive party fields such a candidate?
I was flabbergasted when General Muhammadu Buhari, a 72 year old ex-military despot and Sharia law fanatic was adopted as the [Read more…]