Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has called for the immediate sack of the Chief Imam of the National Mosque in Abuja, Ibrahim Maqari.
Naija News recalls that a female student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto State, Deborah Samuel, was lynched to death and burnt over alleged blasphemy.
Following the sad incident, the Islamic cleric insinuated that Deborah was responsible for her death by crossing one of the red lines of Islam.
In a tweet via his Twitter handle, Maqari said if Muslim grievances are not properly addressed, then Nigerians should not be criticized for addressing them themselves.
Reacting, Soyinka described Maqari’s statements as unfortunate and sad, adding that the cleric has backed the killing of the female student with his words.
The playwright also stated that the Islamic cleric has directed his followers to take laws into their own hands through his comments
Soyinka stated these on Saturday during the launch of the biography of the late Chief of Army Staff, Ibrahim Attahiru, in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He, therefore called for the removal of the cleric from office, saying that he does not deserve to hold any position following his unfortunate comments.
He said: “To anyone who cares to listen, Maqari has implicitly directed his followers to take the law into their own hands in the name of religion, and in a nation beset on all sides by wars of ultra-nationalism and religious fanaticism.
“That is the message of a supposedly holy man to youths, to us, his message to a nation embroiled in madness of multiple insurgencies.
“The young woman, Deborah, he declared, deserved her death. This mullah, allegedly a man of learning, since his name is professorially captioned, says that there is a line, a red line that none of us must cross, no matter who we are, what we think, profess or value.”
Soyinka called on Nigerians to desist from extending their religious predispositions beyond constitutional legitimacy, adding that the law should be allowed to take its course.
“So there we are arbitrary lines crisscrossing, drawn by individuals and constituencies of beliefs and non-beliefs, of power and aspirants of power. Nowhere do the belligerents profess the common constitutional line and the boundaries of legitimate conduct that supposedly define the imperatives of cohabitation and respect for a human commonality known as – life.
“It is time for all group interests to draw their lines, to decide where they intersect with others, where they run parallel, and where they diverge and/or snarl into a chaotic maze. If Professor Grand Imam Maqari can draw a line in blood, the rest of the community of equal rights must proceed to draw their own, but they will do so in less primitive, bloodthirsty mode, in full respect of human dignity.
“That apostate of the creed of humanity, Professor Maqari, must be removed from office. It is no longer sufficient for all to declaim that Islam is this and that, that the Sharia is thus and thus, that Prophet Mohammed set this or that example and made this or that humanistic pronouncement,” he added.