Faith And Foolishness: When Religious Beliefs Of Ilorin Muslims Become Dangerous

By Bayo Oluwasanmi

Religious bigotry is a scourge in Nigeria’s society. It unfairly targets individuals like TaniOlohun and communities based on their religious beliefs or practices.

TaniOlohun is a traditional worshipper and a blogger. He was arrested in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital for allegedly burning the Quran and insulting Islamic clerics. He was kidnapped to Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State, and remanded in custody.

Conflict over religion has been with us for as long as we remember. The Ilorin religious bigots represent some other Muslim fanatics in other parts of Nigeria that are of the extreme variant. They are known for murderous actions and religious hatred. Apart from questioning the beliefs of other religions, they had carried out unimaginable butchery of Christians.

Here’s a sample catalog of carnage against Christians by Muslim fundamentalist lunatics:

1. Gideon Akaluka was gruesomely murdered and dismembered in Kano on December 26, 1994, by some irate Muslim youths.

2. Rev. Shuaibu Yohanna, Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) was dastardly murdered in Kano on September 22, 2021.

3. Mrs. Bridget Agbaheme was beheaded in Kano on June 2, 2016, by some Muslims for allegedly blaspheming the prophet Muhammad.

4. Francis Emmanuel 41, was stabbed to death by some Muslim youths along Sokoto Road in the Kakuri area of Kaduna South for not participating in an ongoing fast.

5. In July 2016, a 42-year-old Christian preacher and a mother of seven, Eunice Elisha was butchered in Kubwa, a satellite town in the FCT.

6. Usman Buda, a father of six was stoned to death on June 25, 2023, by a Muslim mob after he made a passing remark to a beggar that was taken by the mob as a slur on prophet Muhammad.

7. Deborah Samuel, a student at Shehu Shagari College, Sokoto, was beaten and burned to death by fellow students over allegations of blasphemy.

8. Ahmad Usman, 30, was set ablaze by angry Muslims after a row with a Muslim cleric.

9. Rev. Daniel Danbeki and his wife of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Takalafiya village, Karu local government were killed in their home and their church burned down.

10. Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) carried out a massacre during a Sunday service at St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo Ondo State.

In 2022, jihadists killed 2,543 Nigerian Christians. Between November 2020 and October 2021, 4,650 Christians were killed and 2,500 were abducted. In July 2009, 48,187 Christians were murdered by Boko Haram Muslim terrorists. From January to June 2022, 50 Christian priests were abducted.

Muslims had on several occasions burned the cloaks of masquerades. Muslim clerics had openly and audaciously ridiculed and disrespected Isese worshippers. In all these instances of Muslim extremism and intolerance, unlike Muslims, Christians never retaliated against bloodthirsty Muslims. All these examples point to the fact that if any group of worshippers constitutes a present and clear danger to other religions it is the Muslim extremists and not the Isese worshippers.

The 1999 Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of religion, commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and respect for all individuals regardless of their religious beliefs or background. Though these freedoms are not absolute, however, due process must be followed whenever anyone crosses the legal boundary between freedom and responsibility. Due process was not followed in the arrest of TaniOlohun. Why was he taken to Ilorin when the alleged crime was committed in Ibadan? Why was TaniOlohun remanded in prison for more than 24 hours without bail? The Constitution no doubt, has been violently violated.

The same crazy Ilorin Muslim extremists banned the Isese worshippers from holding their religious festival. What in the hell is wrong with Ilorin Muslims? Where is Nigerian Bar Association Ilorin branch to fight for the Constitution? The barbaric acts of Ilorin Muslims are a display of faith and foolishness when religious beliefs become dangerous. The Emir of Ilorin and his other Muslim clerics should be held accountable when their irrational ideas and barbaric acts turn harmful and dangerous. President Bola Tinubu should address the nation on the issue of religious bigotry and emphasize the constitutional right of every Nigerian to worship and celebrate their religious faiths without any discrimination, condemnation, or molestation. Nigeria is not an Islamic country. It’s a secular state.