It’s probably some twisted affront to the Wahhabi groups fighting for their lives in Northern Nigeria’s academic circles that this year, African Humanists organised by the International Humanist and Ethical Union chose to converge at Lagos of their annual conference.
Last year, Tilde, Sherif Al Muhajjir and other prominent salafi clerics caused a social media storm after raising alarm at the rising the number of Humanists in Northern Nigeria. Al Muhajir had then identified ABU Zaria as the hotbed of godless thought and subtly called for “action” to stem the tide.
Although it’s not clear whether a Northern Nigerians are participants in the Lagos conference, a meeting of the godless union a few hundred miles from the North will further raise alarm bells within religious circles.
Religion is big business in Nigeria, but even bigger in Northern Nigeria with Wahabbi and pentecostal extremists competing for territory in the heavily fractured region.
With burgeoning online community that mostly chooses to remain anonymous, the humanist movement in Northern Nigeria has in the last few months been challenged by a surge of religious groups seeking to claim a stake in Social Media. JIBWIS, the Qadriyyah Order and numerous “new generation” pentecostal churches have set up shop in facebook, twitter and instagram. A slap in the face, this conference will undoubtedly rattle them up and further heat up an already burning debate between the godly and the godless