By Donu Kogbara
IN last weekâ€™s column, I adopted an objective attitude towards the Jos crisis and described Christians who have slaughtered innocent Muslims â€“ and Muslims who have slaughtered innocent Christians â€“ as religious renegades who are just as evil as each other. Here are some of the responses I received from readers:
From: Ben UdechukwuÂ firstname.lastname@example.org
DK, I was shocked by the shameful discovery that Christians supervised some of the recent mayhem in Jos because I had assumed before now that only Muslims could display unabashed radicalism and barbarism. Thus, for every uprising in the North, for every crisis, I had held our Muslim brothers responsible.
It is sad that at a time when peoples of the world are recovering from the devastation of varying magnitudes of natural disasters, Nigerians are busy precipitating man-made disasters. That is the height of ingratitude to God.
I do not care whose ox is gored. Let the government deal decisively with any person who has caused the latest crisis in Jos. Crisis is inimical to development. It is counter-productive. Let the findings and recommendations of the usual panel of enquiry on this one not be â€˜Nigeria-edâ€. We need concrete actions.
Anonymous – +234802323445
Dear Ms Kogbara, your article Religious Renegades is apt. I am a Uni-JosÂ Â graduate and over a decade ago, I recall predicting the explosion of Plateau State; I saw many negative signals then. Because the end is not in sight, I advise you to also conceal the location of your sources. May God save us from ourselves.
Bezi Ihbo – +2348027153619
Donu, any person who thinks he is doing the work of God by killing will never have peace, either in this world or the hereafter. Neither the Bible nor Koran preach violence. True Christianity and true Islam are religions of peace. The Jos riots are the handiwork of the fundamentalists of either religion. My heartfelt commiseration to all of the casualties.
Martins – +2348023328850
Nothing of Nigeria is worth defending anymore. It is actually shameful to be called a Nigerian, especially if you are a Niger Deltan. We donâ€™t need prayers anymore.
Anonymous – +2348079259284
Donu, I just read your article on Religious Renegades. The crisis in Jos has nothing to do with Christians or Muslims killing themselves. It is the same cabal that wonâ€™t let a South-South indigene act as President that is causing the perennial crisis in Jos. The Hausa-Fulani cabal wishes to claim the entire Plateau State as one of their emirates! Donu, they would have to kill all the indigenes of Plateau State before they can even own Jos metropolis!! Shikena!!
From Tamuno Dave – +2348023271343
Donu, please donâ€™t be sentimental with your write-ups as your piece on Religious Renegades tends to suggest so! Perhaps you need to visit Jos to know who the aggressors are. Our Muslim brothers take pleasure in slaughtering Christians like their Sallah rams, all in the name of Islam. Well we are ready for them here in Port Harcourt and will show them how to use the AK-47 when the time comes.
Tamuno later sent a second more conciliatory message:
[I suppose that] no ethnic group or religion has a monopoly on violence! And I will try to calm some of our brothers in PH to give peace a chance, even though it is painful. But, my Sister, you need to visit Jos and see things for yourself. We just returned today after evacuating some Niger Deltans [who were stranded there].
The last word goes to Hannatu Musawa, a female columnist who criticized Hajiya Turai Yarâ€™Adua in another newspaper â€“ Leadership – and subsequently received alarming death and rape threats from some of Hajiya Turaiâ€™s fans.
I pointed out that free speech is a democratic right and praised Hannatu for having the guts to speak her mind about a feared First Lady who has a pretty lurid reputation. I concluded by saying that if Hannatu has been unfair to Hajiya, libel action would have been a more appropriate response than bush menaces.
Hannatu, whom Iâ€™ve never met, sent me the following text message:
Dear Donu K, compliments of the season. I have just read your Sweet and Sour column of 22nd January in Vanguard and would like to extend my gratitude to you for your commentsâ€¦I was encouraged to write that piece based, as you rightfully pointed out, on the freedom of speech principle.
I stand by all I wrote. It was an opinion that I have formed on the national figure of the First Lady. I tried to make an objective analysis of why people perceive the First Lady the way they do while trying not to defame her. Whether it came across as I intended is left for others to judge.
Nevertheless, I really appreciate the fact you were able to be objective about the article and offer sensible advice to all parties. I felt it was important for me to communicate with you and express this view to you. Wish you the best of luck in your work and thank you, take care.
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