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Mother Faces Jail for Condemning Religious Violence in Nigeria's Struggle

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Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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Mother Faces Jail for Condemning Religious Violence in Nigeria's Struggle

Rhoda Jatau, a 46-year-old mother of five from Bauchi State, Nigeria, remains confined within prison walls, serving her 18th month. Her alleged crime? Sharing a WhatsApp video that decried the brutal lynching of Deborah Yakubu, a student killed over supposed blasphemy. Jatau, a healthcare administrator by profession, faces charges of inciting disturbance, contempt for religious creed, and cyberstalking. Her plea of no case submission was recently dismissed by a Bauchi State High Court, further complicating her predicament.

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The plight of Jatau signifies a larger issue of religious extremism in Nigeria. The country's landscape is marred by incidents where individuals daring to voice out against brutality face imprisonment. In stark contrast, the actual perpetrators of violence often roam free, untouched by the arm of law. This disturbing paradox was underscored by Rotimi Amaechi, a former Governor, in his address during the 2023 TheNiche Annual Lecture. Amaechi criticized the national malaise of indifference that has seeped into the Nigerian society, leading to a concerning lack of action against such heinous crimes.

Recurring Problem of Religious Violence

The article revisits the horrifying case of Bridget Agbahime, a 74-year-old woman brutally lynched in 2016. Her supposed crime? Preventing ablution in front of her shop. This incident, like many others, sheds light on the recurring problem of religiously motivated violence in Nigeria. Despite the severity of these crimes, the culprits frequently dodge legal consequences.

The contrasting treatment of Jatau and those who commit acts of violence highlights the challenges in addressing fanaticism and enforcing the protection of human rights in Nigeria. It raises questions about the country's commitment to freedom of expression and the protection of its citizens, particularly religious minorities. The case of Rhoda Jatau serves as a stark reminder of this issue and underlines the need for change.

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