Minority-rights Nigeria Opinions 

Nigeria and Rights of Religious and Sexual Minorities at the UN

By Leo Igwe Once again, Nigeria has been rebuked for its homophobic stance at the United Nations. In a statement that its representative delivered at the ongoing session of the Human Rights Council, the International Humanist and Ethical Union (now Humanists International) urged Nigeria to rethink its official hostile disposition towards gays and atheists. Nigeria has been asked to uphold the rights of sexual and religious minorities. It is sad that Nigeria has become a global ‘advocate’ of the persecution of minorities. Incidentally, within Nigeria, there is so much talk about the…

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Does Africa Need a Religious Reformation? Nigeria 

Hijab Crisis: Unveiling Islamic Privilege in Postcolonial Nigeria

     By Leo Igwe  Protests and scuffles over the use of the Islamic veil by Muslim schoolgirls have recently been sweeping across Nigeria. The hijab crisis, as it is called, has led to the disruption of educational activities, litigations in courts, and a simmering religious tension especially in Southwest Nigeria In Osun state, the crisis took a very dramatic turn. Muslim families insisted that their girls who attended state, not private, schools must wear the hijab and the state government obliged. In reaction, children from non-Muslim families came to school the following…

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Baptism Deaths Nigeria OP-ED 

African Baptism Deaths: Where Was the Christian God?

In 2018, two cases where people died in the course of baptism should serve as some food for thought to African believers. In fact, the two incidents should get Africans to rethink their faith in God, at least in the Christian god. Let’s examine these cases. The first case happened in Ethiopia. According to a BBC report, a crocodile jumped and attacked a pastor while he was performing a baptism in a lake. The pastor was bitten on his legs, on the back and hands. He later died as a result…

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Hisbah Nigeria OP-ED 

Hisbah: Between Sharia Implementation or State-based Islamic Terrorism

 By Leo Igwe The Nigerian nation-state is under assault from jihadist groups on two main fronts. First, on the non-state axis, this onslaught is embodied in the activities of Boko Haram and other extremist organizations, that are campaigning to impose their own version of sharia law and the Islamic state. Then on the state front, Islamic extremism is typified in the activities of Hisbah or the sharia police. This is the body that enforces sharia law in the Muslim majority states in Northern Nigeria. Incidentally, there has been a lot…

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Does Africa Need a Religious Reformation? Africa World 

Does Africa Need a Religious Reformation?

By Leo Igwe Africa’s religious landscape is changing very rapidly, in various ways. These changes include the introduction of new religions and adjustments in the modes of worship as well as the personalities that are revered. Transformations in Africa’s religious situation also took a dramatic turn – a more global dimension following the advent of Christian and Islamic missionizers. These foreign religious agents have tried to replace and substitute indigenous religious practices with Western and Eastern faiths. Centuries of proselytisation, which included persistent and unrelenting demonisation and ‘idolization’ of indigenous…

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Human Rights Nigeria OP-ED 

Rethinking Apostasy and Religious Others in Nigeria

By Leo Igwe Humanists are meeting in Abuja in early January. The objective of the meeting is to discuss apostasy and the associated risks and challenges. This meeting is special because it is happening at a time when extreme religious beliefs are ravaging the world and wreaking havoc in many places including Nigeria. The event is taking place at a time that the forces of religious fanaticism and bigotry are seeking to shut down the voices of dissent, freethought, and expression. This humanist gathering is happening at a moment in…

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Muhammadu Buhari Nigeria OP-ED 

Buhari: Stop the Killing and Persecution of Shiites in Nigeria

By Leo Igwe It is time to call the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, to order over the mindless slaughter and persecution of the members of the Shi’a Islamic organization in the country. It is time to get Buhari to end the slaughtering of innocent citizens. The Nigerian president must end this state-orchestrated bloodshed that has led to massive loss of lives and the forced disappearance of many Shiites in the country. Since Buhari became the president in 2015, he has not hidden his hateful and hostile disposition towards this minority religious organization.…

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Development OP-ED 

How Can Africa Develop a Culture of Sceptical Inquiry?

While there is a critical need for sceptical rationality in Africa, it has not been such a potent force in the region. Sceptical viewpoints are seldom visible in everyday talks and discussions, in public and national debates, in the mainstream media, in scholarly and popular literature. The mistaken belief that sceptical rationality is a Western idea persists. The dearth of these ideas is evident especially in discussions that are related to culture, religion, and tradition. Issues are presented as if questioning them is immaterial and of no consequence – that…

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Nigeria WitchCraft Nigeria 

Nigeria: Three Children Tortured for Witchcraft in Cross River State

A local non-governmental organization, the Basic Rights Counsel Initiative (BRCI), in Calabar has just released horrific images of three children who were tortured for witchcraft in Cross River State in Southern Nigeria. Grace 3, Lillian 5, and Juliet 13 narrowly escaped death after their accusers tried to extract confessions from them. According to local sources, the parents of Grace, Lillian and Juliet are dead. So the three children have until recently been living with their grandmother. The grandmother has been ill for some time. She has AIDS and accused the…

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Atheist Africa You and Your Family 

The Fate of Non Believers: Understanding the Challenges to Atheism in Africa

By Leo Igwe My main task in this piece is to answer the question: Why is it difficult and sometimes dangerous to be an atheist in Africa? In answering this question, I outline the risks and difficulties that non theists face and how they play out in everyday life. I draw from the experiences of atheists in Nigeria, Ghana, and Zambia in answering this question and in supplying materials for further discussion and reflection. Atheists across Africa face personal, social, economic, state and organizational challenges. Personal Challenges: What kind of…

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