Enlightenment

Is it true that Nigerians lack moral and intellectual capacities to tackle human rights violations?

A friend recently told me of an elderly man who had a stroke, she was not sure if the allegations of the man’s niece as the cause of the stroke was true.

The news flying around was that the 60 years old man stroke was a curse placed on him by his niece.

“I thought stroke happened when brain is starved of blood?” I asked.

My friend knew all that but being a Nigerian she was caught up between believing science or the ever constant religious beliefs that all bad things that happened to us are the handiwork of the devil and by extension witches, mostly a family member we once had any disagreement with.

I pray the old man gets medical and psychological help he undoubtedly needed.

Here I wish making false allegations such as accusing someone of witchcraft could be made illegal in Nigeria, why is it so easy to label others when there are plausible explanations starring at us?

As it turned out in this man’s case, he was aware two years prior during his rare visit to the doctors that he had high blood pressure, his conditions were clearly explained to him. He was meant to keep taking his medications and make regular check up visits to the doctors. He however decided not to do the follow up despite the full understanding of the implication of his actions. As a result he had a stroke to the left side of his body.

Why did he feel comfortable labelling his niece?

A few years ago a renowned Nigerian priest slapped a young woman in his church in the presence of a huge congregation, he claims the victim was a witch and condemned her to ‘hell.’ This was publicised on Youtube, most people who watched the clip were not happy with the Bishop’s action but as the society goes, he felt no remorse for his action.

There is always talks of witchcraft in the community and often the adjective is used harmlessly to describe strong women. However, things have changed, now witchhunts happen mostly in churches and we allow the violations to go on even when there is no clear evidence to justify ill treatment and defamation.

When is our age of reasoning coming? Can we be religious and yet be aware of human right violations?

Or is it really the case that we lack the moral capacity to tackle reality staring at us, afraid questioning religious leaders of their detective skill of smoking out witches in our midst will be ungodly?