I was surfing the net on my mobile phone last week and decided to visit Instagram for leisure. I was disheartened after making this decision by the first post I viewed on my Instagram feed. The post was a video shared by a renowned Nigerian about the immolation of a female student in a tertiary institution in Northern Nigeria by her fellow students who constituted themselves as a mob. The victim of this gruesome attack was lynched on the allegation of blaspheming the revered prophet of the Muslim faith. The actions of the mob in the video was too explicit to watch. I was unable to watch it further as I was perplexed by what I had just seen! The content of the video was more than I bargained for! I had to exit Instagram afterwards as I was still in a state of disbelief. Images of the burning body of the victim of the attack kept flooding my mind! It was too much to take!
I could not shrug off the content of the video that I had watched on Instagram and as a result probed the incident further by reading news reports about it online. I was curious to find out why the victim of this incident was immolated by her fellow students. I later learnt from the news reports I read online that these students lynched the victim on allegations of blasphemy against the revered prophet of their faith. Interventions by other students and security personnels of the school were unsuccessful as they were overwhelmed by the mob. The Police and other security agents arrived at the scene of the incident after immolation of the victim. This discovery made me sad. I do not approve the act of disregarding the religious beliefs of any individual neither do I approve of aggrieved people taking laws into their hands. Two wrongs don't make a right! No individual or group of people are above the law!
The mob got provoked by statements which they considered as blasphemy in their religious faith by the victim of their attack. The mob had a better way of expressing their displeasure at the action of their victim but did not explore that option. They could have made a complaint to the school authorities about the alleged provocative statements made by the victim. This would have been a better way to resolve the issue without leading to the death of the victim. Disputes should be resolved in a civil manner. This unfortunate incident should not have been an exception. No individual or group of people is above the law and neither do they have the authority to execute anyone based on provocation. Everyone is bound to the rule of law that governs society regardless of their religious affiliation.
It is sad to know that the mob took matters into their hands by lynching their fellow student. They did this without regard for the rule of law and also not taking into account the consequences of their actions. Firstly, they acted contrary to the rule of law by lynching an individual without a fair trial. In other words, they executed their fellow student without trial. Secondly, they did not show restrain and tolerance after being provoked by the alleged inflammatory statements made by their fellow student. We live in a secular society where individuals with different religious beliefs co-exist. Consequently, there is a tendency for disputes to arise among people of different faiths. However, the manner in which these disputes are resolved is vital to our survival as a society. Dialogue has proven to be the best tool for resolution of disputes. Lastly, the mob's action may stir up a reprisal attack from aggrieved members of their victim's religious faith. A development that could lead to a religious crisis. A crisis that that the society can not afford to deal with at this point in time.
The mob who killed their fellow student on the premise of blasphemy have portrayed weakness, intolerance and contempt for the rule of law. Their actions have shown us that we have fundamental problems on morals and values as a society. A problem we need to address quickly. The government is also saddled with a big responsibility. They need to collaborate with the lynched victim's school authorities to investigate the incident that led to her death. They need to seek justice for her and prevent a recurrence of this kind of incident in future. Religious institutions also have a role to play. They need to sensitise their members on the need to respect the rule of law governing society and tolerance. Members of society also have to recognize that no one is above the law. Our actions are subject to the rule of law.
I sympathize with the family of the lynched female student. I wish them peace and comfort as they grieve. I also pray for the lynched student. May God grant her repose.
Thanks for reading,
Have a splendid day folks.