By Auwal Ahmed Ibrahim Goronyo
It is blasphemy not a joke the way some comedian actors use religious imitations and names to crack laughter. To me is never a joke for someone to use religious rites to play pun. Religion is a sacred doctrine that requires special respect from all humanity.
The law of Nigeria forbids the use of discreed words on the religions of people by any means or use any display that disputes the ethics of any religion.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria operates two court systems and both systems can punish for blasphemy. The Constitution provides a Customary (secular) system and a system that incorporates Sharia. The Customary system prohibits blasphemy by section 204 of Nigeria’s Criminal Code. Section 204 defined blasphemy in a simple term as an “Insult to religion”. The section of the constitution states that:
“Any person who does an act which any class of persons consider as a public insult on their religion, with the intention that they should consider the act such an insult, and any person who does an unlawful act with the knowledge that any class of persons will consider it such an insult, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for two years.”
There is no doubt that most if not all Nigerian comedians are entangled to this unlawful act of blasphemy. Comedians seek fund through fun and abuse peoples’ religions while the people pay exuberant amount as gate pass, seat behind, watch and laugh from the mess some comedians are doing to their own faith.
The most devastating thing of all these, is people of other faiths who have no knowledge and intellect of the religion of other people intentionally tend to dilute the religious rites of people. Meaning a Christian comedian plays with the religion of Muslims while the case goes to Muslims comedians.I look at this unlawful jest as catastrophic incidence which will never yields an ideal divine endowment to our existence as humans of knowledge and religion.
The Bible has many references that forbid blasphemy and acts that disdain Jesus and Christianity; Exodus Ch.22:28 says, ‘ Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.’ and Psalm 22:23 talks about how Christians should honour Jesus. It says ‘You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!’
God created all of us to worship Him and He said “Do you think we created you to play that makes you doubt of coming back to us?” Qur’an, Al-Muminuun, 115. while, the case is the same with other religions because there is no religion that entertains mockery on itself. In Islam, it is said when people become loose to their religion, the people will become wayward and lost the Lord’s glory.
Our comedians in home and outside plunged into blasphemy to crack jokes for payment. Recently, in August, Comedian Sarah Silverman in her play said “Jesus Is Magic.” The statement triggered one of the pastors in Florida which called her “a witch,” “jezebel” and wish for her “untimely death” because the preacher believed that Jesus is not a toy.
The Black Jesus comedy by Quappiah Comedy is an abuse of religion and a direct ridicule to the Holy Jesus. The act is a subvertion to Christianity which is aimed to adulterate the minds of Christians adherents. Also, the Yooyo production of the Hungry Pastor is a loath and obscence video to children and the people at large. The video is obscure to pastors which are men of truth and respect.
Chinedu Ani Emmanuel an Igbo Christian who is popular known as Sister Nnkechi and Alhaji Musa can never do justice to Islamic religion and the culture of Hausa people he is imitating to make living. His plays are full of flaws to the condition of Hausa cultural norms and values. Truly, Chinedu is sabotaging every effort of Islamic teaching and its values while, his randy attitudes of womanising in his comic films are not only parallel to the dignity of a Muslim Hausa man he is representing but subjugating the good conducts of Islamic virtues. Even the Muslim comedians participate in this deregulatory act. The ‘Mazaje ne’ funeral prayer comedy is a slap on Islamic clerics because Islam has endowed Muslims with armful protective prayers and if an Imam (Islamic Teacher) will run from a ghost or a dead resurrected body it means Islam is insuffient. Lots of similar videos from Arabs and Nigerians circulating on the internet are only posing threats to our religions and ridiculing the adherents.
People should rise to protect their religions before they fades away and become puppets in the hands of the coming generation by constituting committees among them to halt this doom that is befalling our existence, surely the act is envoking the wrath of the God upon people.
Nigerians are always decrying for retrogressive changes and with all the good effort of our leaders the country is facing some difficulties to progress and peace, and no doubt the effect is from our woes because we pay for mocking and abusing of the Lord that we lay our lives and prospects.
The authority should stand to this and enact laws that will look at the display and write-ups of comedians to reduce our burdens of atroties to the entire nation. The authority concern should not only rely on prosecuting offenders but should also create platforms and channels to create awareness to the danger of this dooming act.
The clerics of all religions should stand before their congregation and admonish the adherents on the effects of the nonchalant attitudes of fighting the God. They should let their people know how those dehumane attitudes are putting the country at stake of jeopardy.
Nigerian government should not neglect to take very drastic measures on this creeping jeopardy because of our volatile nature and to save our vulnerable youths from religious dilution and waywardness. Religion is one of the cardinal guidance of man’s thought that provides serene admosphere of peace and tranquility. Religion is the soccour of human minds against odds and misery and when it is loose lots of people will not have borders of committing atrocities. No matter what we should give respect to our religions because of the rewards we are certain to reap in the hereafter.
Auwal Ahmed Ibrahim Goronyo is a lecturer of Mass Communication in Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna