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The Bile and Its Religion

May 16, 2022

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I was in Iwo, Osun state in 1999.
I was staying with a friend with
whom I had spent several years
while we were in the boarding house
together as secondary schoolmates.
He had become like a brother.
His father even gave me a
Muslim name, Akeem and a copy
of the Holy Quran.

I was born into a Christian home
but I had not met the Lord
at the time so all the religious
whatever sounded the same to me.
There is a God and people from
different tribes, tongues and nations
found a name for him and devised a
means of worshiping this God.
That was my belief at the time.
I learned how to pray the Muslim
way and even read a bit of
Arabic while I was with this family.

This friend of mine would probably
read this and understand why I broke
away from him and his family
that year. I was an undergraduate
at the University of Ibadan at this time
while he was still seeking admission
into higher institution. We were on strike
and I didn’t feel like going home
to morning devotion and die by fire prayers
He was my escape…
Whenever I was with him I had
the freedom to do whatever I wanted
within reasonable limits. His father
had four wives and many children
If you don’t sleep at home,
nobody would pay attention and if you
bring a babe home nobody would notice.
I think you get the gist.

One evening we were coming from
the mosque when we heard some
Christians holding a meeting inside
Olode Cinema!
This cinema house was no longer
in operation but a fuji musician from
Iwo, called Ciroma had taken over
the top floor for his offices.
We sometimes hang around this
musician’s office for free cigarettes
and the company of other fans of
this musician and his band.

Suddenly, my friend said I hate
these Christians. Let us go to that
cinema and kill the pastor and rape
the girls (I AM NOT KIDDING)
The other guys with us (we were
like six coming from the mosque
after the 7 pm prayers) said
“Yes, let’s do it. We will get
a lot of blessings for killing those
infidels. This conversation took place
in Yoruba language.
I began to tremble in my slippers
They had forgotten that I am
from a Christian family and the people
they were talking about are “my people”
The next thing they did was ask
where they could get weapons.
One took a stick,
Another took some stones.

My friend, the one I had known
since SS1 said “I have some machetes
at home, let us go and get those
otherwise most of them will run away”
We went to his house.
When we got there, I went to
his room and started packing my clothes.
My friend asked me where I
was going and I couldn’t speak.
I was so afraid but I didn’t want
them to know it was because of the
Christians. I felt they could kill me,
So I told them I wanted to return
to Ibadan, I lied that I had a
premonition that something bad was
happening to my family at home.

They became concerned because it
was late and tried to dissuade me from
leaving. Eventually, my friend said
“Let us go and drink a little at Blue Room”
That was a beer joint we used to
frequent in Iwo along the main market.
I said okay and we left for the
beer joint. We drank until they
forgot about their plan and the church
service closed. We got back home
very late and slept. They were still
sleeping when I left as early
as 6 am the following morning.
I never went back to that house
or that family. My friend didn’t know
what went wrong
He came to see me in Ibadan
several times before he left for Belgium
in 2002. I couldn’t tell him the truth
because I was still scared.

Religious spirit is a powerful spirit,
I have known these people for many
years and I can swear they were not
themselves that day. As I later
came to know the Lord and
many things about life beyond the mundane,
I realized what happened
that day was very spiritual.
It was a demon at work.
A religious demon. It possesses fanatics
of every religion and weaponizes their
devotion by fueling it with hatred and
a bloodthirst like no other.

Kabiru, this is why our friendship
died till today, sir. When you call
me and I don’t pick or refuse
to let you know my address and
all till today. It is because I saw
what you and others are capable of
in the name of religion
I hope you see this and understand.
Religion kills, Christ saves!

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