900 Muslim Pilgrims Absconded: A Nation in Dilemma
Poverty in Nigeria seems to be manifesting in different forms. These can be seen in the numerous display of desperation, even to the point that individuals do no longer respect their religious beliefs.
It is unimaginable to think the unthinkable that a routine spiritual exercise which is adorned by the popular religions is now being exploited as means to escape the rampaging poverty which seems to unite the country, in that, poverty has no religion nor ethnicity hence it is a unifying factor in our country.
Taking a moment to ponder a little about the seemingly popular escape route. Are the individual concerns to blame or a failure of leadership?
The answer lies in which side of the divide you find yourself. If you are a well-to-do Nigerian, you might not be concerned with the “escaping act” and there’s every tendency that the pilgrim might just be an act of worship or trying to be holier than thou.
If on the other hand, you are a poor Nigerian who’s barely existing, such opportunities are rare and comes just once in a lifetime, that opportunity to take a leave from the everyday hardship in Nigeria might just present itself and you grab it whole-heartedly, thereby maximising it to the fullest, by abandoning any iota of personal respect one has (some are even well-respected personalities in their clans) to embark on a “disappearing act” scene paving way for search party to go to the rescue.
Most times, such people (the absconders) prefer to survive in the worst condition in these countries rather than having a similar experience in Nigeria.
Could this be as a result of brain-washing or what we seem to have watched on the TV screen and/or the social media, where people assume to be seen to live better lives or could it be that the genuineness of such existence is exaggerated on the screens, because the confessions of some of the returnees do not seem to corroborate these movies and the fiction of a better life portray on screens.
This to a reasonable extent portrays the country in a bad light, which in-turn affects the integrity of genuine Nigerians who embark on a sincere and fruitful mission to such countries.
It calls for strict sanctions, effective monitoring and proper screening of the pilgrims.
I can understand that the sanctity of the exercise should also make the pilgrims sober and put up a modest display, rather than throwing caution to the wind and allow for such an embarrassment to every Nigerian.
I’m of the opinion that, the leadership structure be redefined to give every Nigerian a sense of belonging and provide an opportunity for all and sundry to participate in building the project called Nigeria.
A country where the rich and the so-called poor can shop in the same mall without discrimination of any kind.
Also, the leadership should as a matter of urgency make available the existence of the middle class and close the gap between the so-called rich and the poor by making policies that are favourable to every Nigerian irrespective of ethnicity or religion.