We (Nigerians) are tired of lamenting. It used to be about abject poverty and excruciating hunger. We later realized when we got entangled in the web of insecurity that poverty, which gave birth to hunger, can be manageably tolerated—our lives and property are in danger and endangered. Even if you are an atheist, you just have to agree with Allah who says; “insecurity is worse than killing” (Q2:191&217).
It does not matter whether you a pro-government, anti-government or ‘a government neutral’, anyone with conscience will concede that there is serious and unprecedented insecurity in the land. When a friend of mine fumed, disappointedly, that it is better to die than to be entangled in Fitnah (insecurity), he is actually not saying anything new. He is only affirming the concept of ‘insecurity is worse than killing’ as stated in the Qur’an—this is incontrovertible.
Last week was a sad week. While writing, I realized my heart was very heavy, my pen was unwilling and the keys on my keyboard became stiff and grudgingly obeyed commands. Not only that; my arteries were circulating tears instead of blood, my eyes were shedding blood when they should shed tears, they both swapped functions not because they were willing, but because they were confused (utterly confused) due to the unbearable shocking waves which my medulla oblongata could not properly process and could not control. We are in a serious trouble! Yet we are not in war! Are we really sure we are not in war? It has never been this bad, never been this worse, and never been this worst!
I am referring to the gruesome slaughtering of rice farmers in Zabarmari, Jere Local Government Area of Borno State. They were reportedly tied—hands behind—slaughtered, and their heads put on their backs. This is yet another evidence that Nigeria is not just an economic but also a security basket case! This, though, caught media attention; many similar cases undoubtedly went/go under the radar—unreported. It is pathetic!
This throat slitting, be reminded, is not of a sacrificial animal which the Prophet (SAW) instructed that should be slaughtered humanely; not also of mosquitoes upon which we indiscriminately apply insecticide; but of human beings who are the most honoured creatures of Allah, by Allah.
Slaughtering of human beings whose father (Adam) was elevated above the rank of the angels and they (angels) had to prostrate to him. Human beings, to whom angels are assigned by Allah to take records of their deeds, were killed in a territorial space considered to be under the control of government like chickens. Even chickens are not killed like that. Let’s pray chickens are not better than Nigerians.
In a sane clime, government will immediately send out troops to trail and track the killers, but alas, in Nigeria, the slaughtered farmers were blamed for not getting military clearance to farm on their fatherland. I wish the deceased could listen and respond to this allegation which is ‘wronger’ than wrong itself. I pray this will be the last absurdity from the government this year.
Ibn Umar (RA), commenting on a Prophet’s hadith, said: “in the evening do not expect [to live until] the morning, and in the morning do not expect [to live until] the evening…” (Bukhari).
This is the lived reality now in Nigeria. We watch out for death every hour; if not every minute. This is not because we are conscious of Allah; (which Ibn Umar emphasized) but because we are Nigerians living in Nigeria where it is becoming easier to be laid in grave than to lay in bed.
O Allah! Do have mercy on the slaughtered farmers. It is inhumane to think that the killing, after all, took place in Borno; I am, for instance, in Enugu.
This is a national disaster that needs to be mourned by all and sundry irrespective of the victims’ cultural coloration, regional affiliation, or religious professing. It is high time we supplicated earnestly to Allah, for it seems we don’t have government in the country.
Or is there a better time to ask if there is government in the country than this period of all encompassing insecurity? Sleeping with the eyes open to avert theft, attack, or calamity does not apply to Nigeria anymore. It does not just make any difference may be your eyes are widely opened or tightly closed while sleeping.
This explains why Nigerians are becoming dogmatic about the role of prayers in the life of humans. We jettison making efforts to address issues because efforts seem to have stopped to yield results.
Do not blame us! We are conditioned to be dogmatic about the efficacy of prayers when human intervention, proactive government and wise decisions are required. Our elected leaders who should frontally address our myriad problems are resorting to prayers with tax payers’ money which should be used to fight insecurity.
Is it not high time we fled unto Allah? Is it not high time we started praying to Allah before a clearance will be required from the government to do so? Though it is wrong in Islam to solely rely on Allah. Prayer should go along with struggle to better things and right wrongs. Allah says: “Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust in Him” (Q3:159).
It is true that Allah instructs us to have means, make decisions, plan ahead, and exert efforts before we rely on Him. Put differently, we should not stand, arm akimbo, without making any practical efforts to address our predicaments. But we are being denied efforts to make ends meet. Or what do you do in a situation where you toiled hard to cultivate the land, plant the seeds, clear the weeds, water the plant; but you cannot harvest the produce? Either they were consumed by cattle overnight, or you paid bandits for permission to harvest, or you get your throats slit in the process of harvesting what you laboured for.
The irony is that the best of those who should protect us is not good enough, yet they remain in office when they ought to have been replaced. I wonder: if their best is not good enough, is it their ‘better’ or their ‘good’ that will be good enough? When our elected leaders knew what to do but failed to do what they should do and we (the masses) do not have the means to do what should be done, is it not wise we resign to fate and fall back to Allah? To advise this kind of government is an exercise in futility. So, let’s advise ourselves.
This is why we have to turn to Allah who has listening ears and hears—it is not that we are dogmatic. We cannot allow our complaints and lamentations to continue to fall on deaf ears. Those we elected to protect us seem not to be bothered; they are not proactive. And even when they choose to react, their reactions are still not good enough.
We should repent to Allah; “Verily, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves—their own condition” (Q13:11). We should persistently seek Allah’s forgiveness and supplicate to Him; “Say (O Muhammad SAW): “My Lord pays attention to you only because of your invocation to Him…”” He says further: “Ask forgiveness from your Lord; verily, He is Oft-Forgiving. He will send rain to you in abundance. And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers” (Q71:10-12). We ask Allah for protection.