Posted: Sat, June 24, 2017 | By: Nigeria
Nigeria has suffered tremendously from religious strife in recent years, via conflict between the Islamic Sharia-law north and the Christian fundamentalist south.
Taking neither position is a growing population of Nigerian secularists, atheists, and humanists.
The Brighter Brains Institute (a California non-profit) supports the irreligious Nigerians, via its “Humanist Global” programs that advocate secularization around the world.
Two prominent Nigerian atheists - journalist Leo Igwe and activist Mubarak Bala - are on the Board of Advisors for BBI/HG.
Although Mubarak Bala was raised in “Wahhabi Islamic thought, with a jihad ideology” he was an atheist activist by 2009, receiving death threats for blaspheming Islam. In 2013 he was beaten up by three uncles and his father - a leading Islamic cleric - drugged by his older brother, and locked up in a psychiatric hospital; his atheism was categorized by an Egyptian doctor as a “mental disease.” He tweeted his predicament - from the hospital toilet - via a smuggled cell phone. Help was mobilized by the “Godless Mom” of Canada and the London-based International Humanist Ethical Union. (Article here
Bala’s new plan is to establish a Nigeria Humanists Association, the first of its kind in the most-populous nation of Africa. Bala explained the critical need for the organization: Brighter Brains Institute / Humanist Global is raising funds to help them complete their registration.
“If Nigerian apostates get into trouble for leaving their religions, they have to seek help from humanists in the US or Canada, UK or Australia. If we have a registered organization, with a budget, lawyers, websites, and links, we can provide self-help to our members in distress, we can provide protection and accommodation, even match-making - because no theist wants to marry us. Registering the Nigeria Humanists Association is a top priority; we have done this but our registration is still pending due to lack of funds.”
MUBARAK BALA DEFINES THE AGENDA FOR HUMANISM IN NIGERIA, TO BE ACHIEVED BY 2020, AS:
1. Register members, both atheists and secular theists, first within the states, and then a national cohesive coalescence, in Abuja.
2. Register with the Nigerian Authority as a legit body.
3. Open a website, accessible, informative, and interactive, beyond Facebook and twitter. (BBI/HG will also assist them with their website)
4. Open a bank account, (preferably GTB, easy to donate to), with acting members as signatories, in both local currency, and domiciliary denominations, with public, transparent, statement of accounts regularly.
5. Register with international bodies, lobby, individual, public, and donor bodies to fund projects.
6. Open a political front, which would become a political party, to be called Secular Nigeria, an alternative to the two national prominent ones.
7. Engage in a massive literacy scheme nationwide, bringing to fore, an ‘out-of-class-room’ education curricula, where sciences and civic education would diffuse society, beyond language barrier, where it is necessary. Short cartoons/comics and memes via the social media would be the interim medium, and later, paid adverts and programs on air.
8. Set up a Magazine, weekly or bi-weekly, with thought-provoking, national agenda that provides bearing and national ethics and reason revolution, across to the elite.
9. Present peaceful rallies, debates, jingles, billboards, adverts, and other ventures themed on countering religious indoctrination, dogmatic extremism, and lobby to inculcate the need for a secular populace, to curtail a future resurgence of violent sects, and quell cultism/ritualist superstition.
10. End the Almajiri system of the north, that only grooms future terrorists and idlers, wasting a generation.
11. Educate secessionists on how to obtain true freedom, without needless violence, loss of life, and vandalism, leading to a timetable of referendum, and the need for co-existance.
12. Encourage inter-religious, inter-tribal, inter-regional marriages.
13. Get a permanent Office HeadQuarters, in the Capital, and other major cities, where running activities would be coordinated, and volunteer-paid staff can be employed.
14. Rescue victims of religious persecution, and would-be abused children, orphans, child-witches and outcasts in society.
In conclusion, Bala states: