A look at religion’s slow response to the #EndSARS protests

by Adewale Alabi

If you walked into the den called ‘Religion in Nigeria’, you may be surprised to realise that spirituality is more a facade than a reality in that space. And, one thing that was quite obvious at the beginning of the #EndSARS protest was the deafening silence of religious bodies.

It is an amazing development considering that a large percentage of active members of most churches in large cities are youth. And, as expected, many people within the first few days of the protests immediately called out spiritual leaders for keeping quiet knowing that their most active members were largely affected by police brutality.

Many instances were cited for the silence of the religious houses but Twitter user @onesoundabel made a salient point which was quite interesting. In his tweet he wrote;

“I was talking to my mom about the silence of religious leaders and she said, “they cannot speak on this because they are also responsible for the social profiling that is part of the problem”.

“Imagine a church like Depr L*fe where their entire doctrine is centred on appearance (1)”.

This tweet definitely rings true to a lot of Nigerians who grew up in the 80s and 90s where tattoos, nose piercings and other forms of unconventional ways of life was considered irresponsible and indicative of hooliganism. Nigerian men and women still get frowned upon by religious bodies for having tinted hair in the year 2020 when we boldly accept foreigners with different hair colour.

With all these been said many of the protesters are still ardent members of one faith or the other. So, it is quite pertinent for religious bodies to come out and speak up on the menace because as said earlier the lifeblood of most religious bodies is its young demography.

Some religious leaders were quick to respond while others have remained silent.

Pastor Sam Adeyemi, a Christian pastor was one of the first religious leaders to come forward to support the protest while the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos released a statement supporting the movement on Saturday, October 11, 2020.

The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Enoch Adeboye, has also come out in support for an end to Police brutality.

But, we still wonder where the other religious bodies and personalities are. Do they care much to join this fight? Or they will only keep praying instead?


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