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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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.…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
Sierra Leone must lift a deeply discriminatory ban on visibly pregnant girls attending school and taking exams, which continues to entrench gender inequality in the country and puts thousands of teenage girls’ futures at risk, Amnesty International said today, a year on from its report on the issue. “The prohibition on visibly pregnant girls attending mainstream schools and taking exams is hopelessly misguided, and is doing nothing to address the root causes of Sierra Leone’s high teenage pregnancy rate, which surged during the devastating Ebola crisis, and remains high despite…Read More
When Nigerian ‘Prophet’ T.B. Joshua controversially claimed in August 2014 that his ‘Anointing Water’ had the ability to cure the deadly Ebola virus which had ravaged several West African countries, the declaration was met with both doubt and derision.
However, a prominent Sierra Leonean politician has sensationally claimed that the contentious arrival of 4,000 bottles of Joshua’s water to her nation was the key to the eventual decline of the incurable disease.
Mrs Fatmata Kargbo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sierra Leone, gave the startling revelation in Lagos, Nigeria at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) on Sunday 1st November 2015.Read More
Sierra Leone should stop using emergency regulations brought in to combat Ebola as a pretext to restrict freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said today.
“Now that Ebola cases are reducing and schools have re-opened, the government should immediately review the State of Emergency provisions and ensure that only provisions strictly required to fight the Ebola epidemic remain in effect. Rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly must not be unnecessarily or disproportionately curtailed, ’’ said Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher.Read More