By Dooyum Ingye

People have rights, not beliefs or ideas.

Nigerian humanist, Mubarak Bala, has been incarcerated for 100 days by the Nigeria police for describing prophet Muhammad as a terrorist . As of today, no one, Mubarak’s family and lawyer inclusive, have heard from him. It is not out of place to think, he has been killed in police custody. The Nigeria police has left no stone untouched to frustrate every move taken to get Mubarak released, transferred to a neutral ground, or charged in court. Equally, the Nigeria government appears to endorse the abuse of the rights of a Nigerian.

Mubarak’s case brings to the fore, the preference given to religion over human rights by the Nigerian authority. In Nigeria, religion is given a special status, towering above Nigerians. Though a major cause of underdevelopment and conflict in Nigeria, the government uses state resources and machinery to protect and enforce its barbaric principles. Today, the present government dominated by northern Nigeria Muslims rules Nigeria like an Islamic caliphate. Islam is given a first class pass over citizen rights and state affairs. Also, instead of tapping from the constitution, the government draws heavily from Islamic doctrine to rule.

Within the context of Mubarak’s case, the government has behaved like the leadership of Boko Haram; watching over the execution of persons of other or no faith. Through its actions, the government is promoting a culture of intolerance and extremism. Most Muslims call for Mubarak’s head because the government have given them the right to do so. Even the law court, who is supposed to act as an independent institution, is complicit. As I write this, no government official has spoken against the ill- treatment melted to Mubarak. The Nigerian constitution which supports Mubarak has been completely abandoned. It is the same constitution which Nigerian leaders swear to uphold its contents upon assumption of office.

Nigerian leaders do not learn from history. It was only yesterday that a particular state government provided support to a group regarded as the most deadly terrorist group in Africa today. Given our history, the government ought to promote tolerance and dialogue in the citizenry. The government ought to show that rights cannot be violated or compromised to favour or protect religious beliefs. Given what we have suffered in the hands of religion, this shouldn’t be a matter of negotiation. The more the government keeps Mubarak, the faster it prepares the group for religious extremism and violence .

Again, people have rights which must be respected. Religious beliefs deserves to be criticized and mocked, in cases where they make ridiculous claims, and undermine human life.



(c) Dooyum Ingye 2020