On Saturday, July 9, Mrs Eunice Elisha went to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, little did she know that an ill fate was awaiting her.
Mrs Elisha did not know that she will get into some bad news that will forever leave her family in tears, a story that will leave so many questions on the lips of Nigerians and the world at large.
According to reports, the pastor’s wife met with her untimely death at the hands of assailants yesterday, July 9.
Born on July 23, 1974, 42-year-old Eunice Elisha was a deaconess at the Divine Touch parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG) Old NEPA Road, Phase 4, Kubwa.
She had gone out to evangelize along Gbazango-West area of Kubwa when she was hacked to death by unknown assailants suspected to be extremists.
Sources revealed that the mother of 7 was cut in the neck and stabbed in the stomach and was left to bleed out. Her bible, megaphone and mobile phone were found on the floor beside her body, it was an eyesore, and there were no witnesses.
There were speculations that Mrs Elisha’s death was orchestrated by some Muslim fanatics. Developing reports suggest that the deceased had been treading on a very deadly path with regards to her evangelism.
Unconfirmed sources report that Eunice had been preaching within the area that had a mosque, thereby stirring some trouble. The sources say the deceased had been warned severally to desist from preaching around the region, but she just won’t stop.
There was a tale by the family suggesting that indeed it must be some people of the Muslim faith that murdered their mother.
The husband of the deceased had told newsmen that a Muslim cleric once came to their house asking his wife to give him food, stating that he had an Islamic school and thus needed some food, she had told him there was no food in the house.
Her second son John James corroborated the story, saying that his mother had sent him to tell the strange man that there was no food. According to James, after the strange man came to their house, the deceased suddenly took ill and almost died from the sickness, he also said his mother had insisted the sickness was caused by the mallam.
A brief history of murder in religion’s name
It remains unclear what the motive of the murder was, the police cannot say for certain that the killers of Mrs. Elisha were indeed Muslims. In a press statement released by the FCT command’s commissioner of police Alkali Baba Usman, the deputy commissioner of police in charge of the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (CIID) has been assigned to lead an investigation into the murder case.
Baba Usman also said the six suspects arrested in connection with the murder are currently undergoing interrogation in police custody. He also assured that the outcome of the investigation will be made public. While commiserating with the deceased’s family, he reassured them of the police’s commitment and determination to bring the people involved in the murder, to justice. He also urged the residents of the area and members of the public to remain calm and aid the police with their investigations.
However, some Nigerians are of the opinion that here is yet another promise that most likely will not be fulfilled, and the reasons are quite simply, the public has for too long lost faith in the Nigerian police force and their capabilities to grant justice to the oppressed and bringing law breakers to pay for their offences. Mrs Elisha’s case is not the hundredth of such a case, especially within the northeastern region of the country. There have been several cases of killing in relations to religious intolerance.
Just recently, an elderly woman was reportedly murdered in Kano for making an unguarded statement which was termed as blasphemy. The woman named Mrs Bridget Agbaheme was stoned to death for what in the eye of the law was her right.
Mr Agbaheme, husband to the deceased said his wife was stoned to death, he added that Bridget was attacked by religious fanatics at Kofar Wambai market in the state, after she allegedly told Muslims not to perform abolition at a certain spot.
Mrs. Bridget who until her death was a member of the Deeper Life Church, was said to have defamed the name of the holy prophet. Till date, the police are yet to make any comment regards investigations into the murder of Mrs Agbaheme, like many other stories of such magnitude, it dies a very natural death after all the buzz on social media and every other platform where issues of such nature are discussed and debated.
If one takes a very critical look at Nigeria, it won’t be hard to notice that the biggest trouble Nigeria has is the issue of religion. Virtually every problem the Nigerian government has had to tackle from the inception has been problems rooted in religion. Religion has for too long threatened to destroy Nigeria, and religion still threatens to see that the nation ceases to exit.
Beginning from the civil war fought between 1967 and 1970, one can see the hand of religion in all that troubles the nation. It must be stressed that as at the time when the war was about breaking out, the Igbos saw themselves as the biblical Israelites who had to come out of Egypt a land of slavery and oppression.
The Boko Haram insurgency which for a few years has really troubled Nigeria is deeply rooted in religion and religious fanaticism. Agitations with regards to the actualization of the Biafra Republic, is a concept that is founded on religious philosophies, the same religious idiosyncrasy which saw the emergence a civil war is the same experienced in the current movement and it has had its own fair share of bloodshed.
Having tabled these facts, it won’t be out of place to say that Nigeria’s biggest problem is the problem of religion.
Who killed the pastor’s wife? Having spent decades in Nigeria, and having come in terms with the reality of the concept called Nigeria, it would stupid of me to be on the lookout for news of how the police have apprehended the killers of the Mrs Elisha. I’ll rather be willing to find a permanent solution to this huge problem that might eventually lead to the end of Nigeria’s existence.
Religion was the reason Mrs Elisha was killed, it was carried out with Ignorance, and hate playing accomplice to murder. It’s no news that so many around the world are killed on a daily basis because of faith and religion. However, I maintain that religion is not a bad thing in itself, but those who practice the various religious often practice to their detriment and the detriment of others.
How do we arrest the killers?
First it is high time the federal government stopped paying lip service when issues of this proportion are to be treated. It is not ok to say the presidency condemned the attack, after the condemnation, what follows? What parameters are put in place to ensure that such ugly incidents do not occur again, any time soonest at least.
The Nation must go back to the basis and correct the ills of not operating under the rule of law. If foreigners say we are a lawless people, then they are right to a large extent. We know that virtually anything goes in Nigeria, the courts have lost and are still losing the faith of the people in their capability to deliver just judgments.
So much are being done outside the books these days, hence there is a fear that soon there will be no one with a high moral standing to set the records straight. Nigerians need re-orientation generally, enlightenment and education is also needed because so many Nigerians have lost their minds, and some do not know what is right and what is wrong.
If in this time and age, jungle justice still Rationality and faith must find a meeting place, and this is the job of the scholars, teachers and clerics in citadels of learning and religious places. We cannot continue to act on impulse; there must be some serious contemplation with regards to our actions, reactions, and dealings with fellow Nigerians. It is time to approach issues in this country not as Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba, it is high time we stopped approaching issues in Nigeria, as Christian, Muslims and every other label that religion takes.
We must approach all our problems first as Nigerians; we must be patriotic, having at the back of our hearts the greatest good of our country over our selfish needs and ambition. Nigeria has been described as the giant of Africa standing on chopstick legs, the nation has been described a country sitting on gunpowder, there are fears that an implosion is imminent. Religion is threatening to tear the nation apart, with various beliefs so diverse; we need respect as a people. We must tolerate and respect everyone’s faith.
The freedom of worship which we enjoy should not be a pass to infringe on some other person’s belief thereby tampering with their emotions. How about we organize evangelistic exercise in such a way that others will not find it obnoxious? How can we preach without necessarily casting aspersions on another’s religion?
Love is a key message that cuts across all religions, how come we leave that out when matters arise? Mrs Elisha is dead and gone, but who will be next? Who will be the next person to be lynched by an irate crowd, just because he or she is not of the same belief? When do we hear the last of jungle justice and fighting for god? I must note here that revenge is not the solution to the matter at hand, Christians who are aggrieved by the incident must try to remain calm, knowing that violence is not the way to go.
Nigeria can remain a united country though so diverse in culture, tradition and religion, but that’s only if we would respect each other’s views, ensuring that everyone is treated as relevant regardless of their being from major tribes or belonging to the minority. Everyone must be given what is due, regardless what god or gods they worship; let us imbibe the culture of placing Nigeria first.