That Arson On Kano Mosque

Invictus Games

There is hardly any justification for anyone to set ablaze a place of worship. Worse, such horrendous act is carried out at a time people are inside communing with their creator. The Kano incident, perpetrated by a 38-year-old Shafiu Abubakar, during the early morning prayer, deservedly condemnable defies explanation.

As at the last count, eleven persons have been confirmed dead. Scores of other worshippers sustained varying degrees of burns and are undergoing treatment in hospitals. Many others are suspected to be trapped in the deadly fire incident,

It is on record that no fewer than 40 worshipers were praying when the arsonist ignited fire and locked them inside the mosque. His intentions were clear: murder as he sought to deny them a chance to escape. This unfortunate and utterly condemnable incident have put the sleepy community of Gadan Village in Gezawa council area of Kano state in the news for an entirely the wrong reason.

The suspect, who has since been charged to court and pleaded guilty to the charges of mischief by fire, causing grievous hurt and culpable homicide, claimed he acted to register his frustration with the manner some of the victims cheated him in inheritance sharing.

There is no contesting the fact that Shafiu’s actions are clearly unjustifiable as no amount of inheritance is worth human lives. Assuming without conceding that he was cheated in the way and manner the inheritance was distributed, what stopped him from approaching a court to seek redress?

The act brings to mind the much talked about clamour for societal reorientation. The nation is facing an existential threat as demonstrated by total deterioration of moral values and the lack of basic upbringing of most youths.

Without meaning to blame an entire age group for the crime of Shafiu, we are tempted to conclude that his actions were suggestive of the inordinate desires of most Nigerian youths who, afflicted by impatience and get rich quick mentality, act with spontaneity on issues that require clear thinking. The intention, always, is the rush to have their own way no matter what and without consideration for the interest of others.

In the opinion of this newspaper, there is a compelling need for thorough societal reorientation. And again, the National Orientation Agency and similar agencies at the state levels, especially in states where there is a high rate of drug abuse among youths, must buckle up to confront this challenge with the support of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). We are persuaded to observed that Shafiu might have acted under the influence of some illicit substances. It is arguable that anyone in their right senses would set a mosque ablaze just to settle scores with some persons without giving a thought to the fact that not all those in the mosque at the material time had anything to do with the issue at stake.

However, whether or not he acted under the influence of drugs, he has to face the consequences of his action. Good enough, the Kano state government has commenced the process of prosecuting him. The suspect needs to be diligently prosecuted, presented with all the legal representation that he requires and made to face the full wrath of the law for his action.

There are media reports that he pleaded guilty to all charges read to him. Perhaps his decision to plead guilty will help speed-up the litigation process so as to ensure that justice is promptly and effectively served.

It is a given that both the penal code and indeed, the shariah law which guide the conduct of all Muslims, frowns at murder. No individual has the right to take the life of another person no matter the situation. Shafiu’s actions have consequences. He must be made to face them squarely.

As to his allegations of being short-changed in the sharing of the inheritance, we suggest that the ulamas take another look at the issue to unravel the veracity or otherwise of his claims.

But why would anyone shortchange somebody in sharing inheritance when the Quran is explicit about how inheritance should be shared? Suratul Nisa verses 11-12 and 176 offers detailed explanations and sets up the basic foundations of inheritance law of Islam. There is, therefore, no ambiguity whatsoever, as far as sharing of inheritance is concerned.

While not conceding to Shafiu’s claims of being shortchanged, we wonder why anyone will contemplate sharing inheritance in ways that run contrary to how it is spelled out in the Quran. Besides, why would he kill for the sweat of someone else in the guise of inheritance?

Still, we condemn this act, wish the injured quick recovery and the dead, peaceful repose.

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