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Jonas Dogara: Make We Yarn
I done struggle with wetin I wan talk now for some days. The question na whether make I yarn about am or make I bone and yarn another thing. Eventually, I decide say I go yarn about am. Afterall, this na matter of life and death.
Since I small until now, I no fit begin count the number of times wey yawa done gas for Northern Nigeria because of religious issues and nobody fit count the number of people wey done die from these problems. Almost every year, we dey get this kind wahala. Sometimes na big ones wey dey cover the whole North and other times e fit be small one just for one town or one state. E done almost turn to normal thing. But, my friends, nothing normal about wetin dey kill people o! Nothing normal about am at all!
Many things dey worry me about our general attitude to these religious wahala dem wey we dey get. I go just talk about the two wey dey worry me pass.
To Stereotype and Generalise
With many other issues for our country, we dey come out and show our prejudice and our stereotypes in the open. E no dey cause fight. With religious matter, na different thing. But because we no dey come out openly as Muslims and talk bad about Christians or come out openly as Christians and talk bad about Muslims no mean say we no dey talk.
When we dey for our house, or with friends of the same religion, we dey talk any kind rubbish wey enter our head. If a mad man from Denmark, draw cartoon wey insult the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) then the mad man must be Christian. E no matter say you never see the cartoon and say this mad man fit never enter church all him life. As a result, all Christians hate Muslims and dey evil! If some criminals wey say dem be Muslims decide to bomb a church for Jos, e must be religious war and all Muslims na blood-loving vampires. E no really matter say even though these criminals never attack mosque yet, a lot of the people wey dem done kill for their other attacks na Muslims.
E no dey hard us to just generalize. When we do this kind thing, we dey forget those our good friends, classmates, neighbours and colleagues wey never ever do anything to harm us before, yet dem be of a different religion.
To Form Ostrich
The ostrich na interesting animal. Sometimes when e see say danger dey come, e go run small and bury him head for sand. The idea be say as e bury him head for sand, e no dey see the enemy wey wan lem am, therefore the enemy no dey see am too. This, my people, na mumu wey done ripe! And this na the attitude wey we done adopt when e come to religious matter for this country.
Since wey I grow up to sabi something for this country, na wetin I done notice be this. Everytime we get this kind problem, nobody dey actually wan engage people of other religions for yarning. Christians go dey discuss with Christians and Muslims go dey discuss with Muslims. Anytime the gist na between Christian and Muslim, then we go so ‘insulate’ the gist because we dey fear to yarn the wrong thing. At the end we no dey discuss anything wey dey really get any impact.
During the Danish cartoon wahala, I been dey live for Northern Nigeria and for my big house, we get both Christians and Muslims. Fear, been dey catch us Christians for wetin fit happen to us, but dat na different matter. The thing wey I notice be say even in the middle of this very serious crisis, the Christians and Muslims wey done dey live together as friends, cook, eat and drink together, play football together and chase babes together no fit actually siddon and discuss the issue. While dem dey kill people for other Northern Nigerian cities and we dey hear the news every day, we still dey fear to discuss am between ourselves, make e no be say we come offend the other person. Dat na the ripe mumu I dey talk about. And na wetin done dey happen everywhere for this country for many years.
The question wey we go ask the ostrich na, because e hide head inside sand and e no see the lion wey wan come chop am mean say the lion no go chop am again? The same question na him we suppose answer for this country. All this time wey we no dey gree discuss this very important wahala wey we get, e done stop the wahala from coming again and again and again? E done stop people from dying? Our own na case where even problems wey no start for this country fit result in the death of many people for here. At the end, more people go even die for here than for where the problem actually start!
Where We Suppose Dey Go
While the whole North Africa, the Middle East, Nigeria and Sudan dey boil because of the film wey somebody make, wey insult Prophet Mohammed (SAW), Twitter been dey also boil for Nigeria. People dey discuss am and everybody dey talk how him sense reach.
Some of the talk dey show how ignorant people dey – both Christians and Muslims – about the other religion. And dat kind of ignorance dey just lead to some general statements wey no just dey wrong but dangerous! This kind of generalization need to change. If somebody from your village go prison because e thief, e make your village thief people village? Why if one Christian/Muslim talk something e go come be say all Christians/Muslims be like dat? Dat kind of lazy thinking no dey help us.
During all this talk, some people no dey talk at all too and some people dey advise say make people no talk again. Me, I be one of the people wey follow talk, and I go continue to talk. Because, since we already know say our ‘no-talk’ policy never really stop bad things wey dey happen, why we go continue to dey close mouth? E no make sense to me.
Remember say for our country we done gum together with our different tribes and religions, and na so we go dey. If we go live together, then we need to find a way to understand and respect each other and live in peace. We need to begin to protect ourselves from the foolishness of people wey no get our interest as Nigerians for their mind. Make we begin yarn. Make we begin engage each other. Make Muslims being engage Christians and vice versa. Make we discuss, argue, disagree with our mouths (not with knuckles and weapons) and finally reach a point of understanding and tolerance wey go lead to peace and harmony.
When we, the few wey get access to education and exposure, begin to understand say we no need to dey fight and kill, no matter the provocation (whether na by people we no even be Nigerians or by Nigerians), then true true we go dey on the road to change. Then we need to take this message to our families and friends; our churches and mosques; our pastors and imams; to the people wey no go school and people wey eye never open.
Very importantly, we need the government to come in and do their work. First of all, government get to stop these killings and destruction wey dey happen anytime religious wahala come up. Make government no wait until people done die and property done loss before dem begin to condemn the killings and sympathize with the families of victims and people wey done lose property.
Lastly, from history, we know say no matter how good our mind dey, e go get some wicked people wey go still want to go out and spoil everything wey we dey work for. That na where the law suppose to come in. Like most European countries done do, e done reach time to introduce Anti-Hate and Incitement laws. Dat way anybody wey use him position as politician, pastor or imam to preach hate to him listeners/readers/congregation or encourage dem to go out to kill and destroy go done commit crime and suppose face the law. Anybody (even if no be political or religious leader) wey come out for public (even for internet) begin encourage hate or violence against a group of people, whether na based on tribe or religion go done commit crime too and suppose face the law.
We no fit continue to dey do the same things and expect say the results go change. We need to begin do things differently if we go solve some of these problems wey we get. The time to begin do things differently na now. Country people, make we yarn.
This na @nfsqueezed on Twitter