The Untold Story Of Religious Intolerance In Nigeria

Often described as the opium of the people, religion has become an integral and focal part of the existence of every individual. However, any attempt to vividly define the concept is likely to be an effort in futility. Freedom of worship is a fundamental right of every individual in Nigeria. Despite this glaring fact, religious tolerance in our country has remained elusive. The tussles and skirmishes between the christain and the islamic religion is one that often reoccurs, and any attempt to do a rehash here will be painting a myopic picture. Suffice it to say, christainity and islam are the two dominant religions in the country. However, the clamour for religious tolerance in Nigeria has often taken a fallacious approach. We often here of muslims stoking the fire by burning down churches, and christains formenting trobules in reciprocation. However, it is a pensive anomaly that none of our national dallies or television stations have deemed it fit to give voice to the African Traditional Religion that has often been subjected to unfair ridicule, deceptive scrutiny and sheer neglect by society and those who should know better. In more cases than one, dieties that exist in several parts of Nigerian society has been equated with babarism and evil. This notion has been defeated today in the light of educational enlightment and by the help of historical hindsight. However, a lot still needs to be done in protecting these dieties and their devotees. Dismissing their belief as devilish will be making a caricature of the freedom of worship right enshrined in our constitution. It is a norm to hear christains say that 'darkness and light cannot exist together.' But, by whose standards do we define which religion is light and which is darkness? The misconceptions abound, but the crying need to give the African Traditional Religion it's place in society, is an issue that should not be treated with kid gloves.

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