Dismantling Violence by Accepting Differences in Nigeria

I watched a video of Pastor Sarah Omakwu of the Family Worship Centre the other day. In that video, she narrated the ordeal of a family who had been kidnapped and treated in the most inhumane way. My heart ached heavily as I watched it and I could not control the tears. I wondered, how we got to this level of inhumanity, how could we care so little about others, and why have dignity and equality become mere words that are not thought about nor acted upon?

Today, we hear stories of people perpetrating violence on other persons because of their religion, race, sexual orientation, and even gender. What they do not understand is that the acts of violence caused by our refusal to accept others are because we are often afraid of people who are different from us. We do not understand and appreciate the differences that bring colour to the world we live in. We allow our fears to overwhelm us to the extent that we try to destroy that which we fear, this has shown itself throughout history. The Jewish Holocaust, the Salem Witch Trials, and Slavery. We can also identify these fears played out in Nigeria in our history of killing twins and albino babies, and even in the Civil War.

Now, we see these fears of our differences played out in terrorist killings across the North East, tribal clashes, pastoralists killings of farmers, and electoral violence. Thousands of Nigerian lives have been lost to senseless violence.

I strongly believe that our differences should not divide us, rather we should consider ourselves as different pieces of a puzzle that make the beautiful picture, that is Nigeria.

I believe that it is time for us to respect and honour the things that make us different, we must defend our diversity from people and leaders who leverage on them to divide us. We must protect our diversity by speaking against injustices which stem from tribalism, bigotry, religion, and ignorance.

We are all responsible for the person next to us, our neighbours, colleagues, and our fellow (wo)man. My dear friend and fellow Acumen Fellow Isata Kabia once said, “we do not always have to AGREE, but we must ALLOW”. I believe that she is right, we must allow everybody to be, however they choose to be.

As Binyavanga Wainiaina, the esteemed writer and journalist rightly said, “the simple acceptance of our Right to Be and Be Diverse is the biggest and strongest thing to defend”.

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She is human, she is divine, she is woman, and she is African. twitter: @nubianhottie

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Tsema Ede

She is human, she is divine, she is woman, and she is African. twitter: @nubianhottie