Like most people, I believe in God. But I am not what you would call a religious person. In fact, I regard religion a major contributor to the world’s problems. Take Nigeria for example: Here’s is a country that’s crying out for a revolution, a country crying out to be rescued. But its Christian citizens have been largely stultified and mummified. They would rather pray (while collecting bribes) and wait for God and his angels to march down from Heaven to sort things out for them. The Muslims? Well, there’s suicide bombing if things are not exactly going your way.
It is difficult to say it, but the Chibok school girls – about 219 of them now – are still missing. They continue in their harrowing abduction. It’s been eight long months and counting. However, life goes on here as if that event happened somewhere else far away from us. Government lackeys have even taking to abusing and casting aspersions on anyone or any group that agitates for the rescue and release of the girls. Right here, right now, the preoccupation is politics and money. Tells you about the kind of society we currently have on our hands. It is a very sad and a very sick society indeed.
The girls were abducted and continue to be held (presumably in a forest somewhere in north-eastern Nigeria) by brazen cannon-fodder who have taken up arms against the country in a barbarous power grab quest. Nevertheless, the criminals insist on telling us that they did what they have done out of religious dictate.
Frankly, I don’t believe it. How does any religion make anybody do this? More worryingly however, in the past few weeks, and as we approach the February 2015 elections, a rash of suicide bombings has descended upon the nation. Astonishingly, most of these bombings were reportedly carried out by female teenagers. Well, who are these teenage girls? And what can be said by anybody to a teenager in particular; a young and energetic person full of potential, with their whole life ahead of them to convince them enough that voluntarily killing yourself and others right now is the way to go?
Why and how could a couple of teenage girls agree to go into a hair salon filled with people just like them who had come to braid their hair - people like their sisters, their mothers, their aunts, their friends – and detonate a bomb which killed everyone there including themselves.
This is powerful stuff. This is amazing control. What are the words? What could be the compelling argument? I am not convinced that there is anything religious anybody can say to a young person – particularly to a young girl to make them agree to strap on a large crude bomb and kill themselves and others like them. Some claim that for men who die in such fashion, a gaggle of virgins possibly await them at whatever destination they find themselves afterwards. And for the females?
Curiously enough, I have never heard of the child of a cleric, of a leader anywhere, even the child of an APC or PDP bigwig being a suicide bomber. Is martyrdom and unverifiable extraterrestrial sex really that much of an inducement? What is martyrdom? Does anybody remember the name or the family of the chap that carried out the first suicide bombing in Nigeria? What of the first person who did it in Pakistan, in Iraq, in Afghanistan? Is there a register kept somewhere of such names where they are revered and honoured? Have the families of such disgracefully departed souls been elevated to superstardom within their communities and elsewhere?
In the case of the suicide bombers that took out the hair salon, I am not even convinced that they pulled the trigger mechanism themselves. It is more likely that another person (a demented man) pulled a remote switch. So that leaves us with cohesion as a probable catalyst.
Lately in the West, and in some Latin American countries, there has emerged a new pattern of alleged forced drug smuggling by females. Usually, the apprehended females recount that the drug barons and their agents have either got hold of their families or have vowed to kill off their families if they refuse to transport drugs from one destination to another. Could a similarly sinister thing be afoot here? You know in Nigeria some of us can’t wait to import bad and barbaric trends. Some people contribute 419, child-selling and drugs, others, terrorism and suicide bombing.
The likely cohesion of our own female bombers could be something akin to forced drug smuggling: repeatedly abusing, torturing and telling captured persons that they would die anyway. That they could either choose to die horribly in the hands of their sadistic captors or die in a ‘battle’ situation. A most hopeless conundrum.
So where do you get a steady supply of teenage girls that would have arrived at a point in life where they are able to kill themselves under these conditions? It’s painful to think along these lines, but you have the abducted Chibok school girls...
The writer of this opinion is Michael Egbejumi-David. Email: [email protected], Twitter: @demdemdem1