She visited the hospital for her fortnight antenatal routine checkup. It was her first time to enjoy the NHIS package – in the hospital – courtesy of her hubby’s workplace.

Together with women of her condition carrying the fruits of the womb, she was requested to go up for counselling. As an enlightened person who understood the significance of such an exercise, she eagerly mounted the staircase – uneasily.

Counselling they were told, but singing and dancing it was turned into. Not Yoruba (abiyamo/oloyun) songs, but christian-oriented songs. She wondered but bothered less, as she thought the deed would take no length of time. As a muslimah faithful to her faith, she sat down apathetically.

After the singing and buttock-rolling, came up prayers – in Jesus’ name. She wondered but bothered less, with the thought that observations and corrections would be done later. She never wanted to truncate or interrupt the flow of the oppression so as not to be tagged as usual – extremist, fanatic, fundamentalist, terrorist – the list is inexhaustible. With her mouth mute, the christian prayers went on untill it got to its tail.

At the lapse of prayers was the trumpeted counselling. That beamed a sigh of relief for the ummu from the seemingly inescapable cage. But lo and behold, it was just the start of the oppression! What was supposed to be counselling turned out to be preaching in the christian way. Madam Counsellor started making quotations from the Bible to adduce her special counselling. The ummu couldn’t take it any longer. So, she voiced out her worries:

“Is this not supposed to be a counselling session? Why christian songs, prayers and preaching in a hospital that is privately general? Or is the hospital only meant for Christians?”

“That’s our usual practice here,” said the preacher-nurse.

“You should have made us know that your hospital is run on the precepts and principles of the Christendom.” She said as she quietly left the gathering.

What could be more oppressing, terrorising than this – when you are forced to tolerate where your right is unapologetically trampled upon? Why would people met out to others what they cannot tolerate of them?

It’s a country of multi-religion. Constitutionally, everyone has the right, not only to practise, but manifest his religion; however, not to the peril or detriment of others.

A muslim is disallowed to do so, just as he should not take such from anyone. “There is no compulsion in the religion,” so says Allah – Q2 V256. Nigeria belongs to all, not to some.

“To you be your religion, and to me my religion.” Q109 V6.


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