She was very bubbly, a bit talkative but very affectionate. A victim of the Nigerian warped education system. She had finished high school, took several exams to gain admission into the University but for the forth year she had been unsuccessful. It’s either she passes JAMB and fails the post UTME exams or Vice versa. She had left her village in Anambra state and gone to stay with her brother in Lagos.
So they decided the best option was to get to learn a skill, so she chose hair dressing. Then she was good with her skill, then she got married, got pregnant but was still as energetic as ever. The last time I saw her, she was as usual very happy and expectant of a safe delivery. I gave her some tips…eat well, drink lots of water, do not take too much carbohydrates and fizzy drinks to avoid gestational diabetes or your baby getting too big…she somewhat agreed but told me she craves sweet things…I understand but try to replace them with fruits, instead of a soft drink, take a stick of carrot or cucumber or garden egg…when your baby comes, you would be glad you made sacrifices I assured her…
Then I was off the radar for a year but today, I called her colleague, Victoria, a lady from Benin Republic, then our dialogue;
ME: Hello Victoria….how una deh o
Victoria: Oh, ma, we no deh see you again naa, wetin happen?
ME: Sorry o, you go see me very soon, how Lynda with em belle, she for don born…tell am say make e keep my Peppersoup o, I go buy small thing for em baby when I deh come…
SILENCE: SILENCE: SILENCE
ME: Victoria, Victoria….
Victoria: Ma, Lynda don die with the belle o, she for born for November, but en die for October….e die for Church programme o…dem deh do fasting and prayer and en follow them de fast o plus say en get High BP join, then that day for the Church programme, dem say e come fall as them deh shout deh pray for night vigil….na so we see am o ma….
I literarily passed out, I could not comprehend her fully , I tried to live in denial at that moment, then she asks;
Victoria: Ma, ma, say e die with belle pain us o but the one weh pain us pass be say as she fall for the Church programme, the pastor just continue deh preach, e just say make them cover am, deh no even carry am go hospital…Lynda just die like that…them even talk say the pastor say na evil spirit push am down….😢😢😢😢😢😢
At this point, I had to end the call but there was nothing new in the faith that befell Lynda my hair dresser friend. Most church programmes are grounds for most pastors to prove their ‘miraculous’ works. Human beings are cramped in a small space, they are advised to fast and pray, nothing wrong in religious observations but how many care to engage health professionals to caution and advise followers about their health and the risks involved? What arrangements are on ground for emergencies?
Pastors are quick to entice women with promises of getting married, getting pregnant and delivering babies in most of their commercialized religious programmes. So the vulnerable head to these programmes without any care for their safety and pastors make a song and dance of miracles expected.
The most endangered are the pregnant women who due to the failed Health services in the country rely on religious houses for succour and promises of safe delivery which often never happens anyway.
Because the governments equally benefit from the religious leaders at election times, they are sacred cows who do not obey the laws from noise pollution to obstruction of traffic and generally constituting themselves into public nuisance.
In other climes, the state monitors and checks the excesses of religious houses so as to protect the people, in Nigeria, it is a free ground where religion is exploited by both the religious leaders and the politicians so the people are at their mercy,
The dead Lynda was pregnant, because of the sheepish reliance on the famed powers of most religious leaders including pastors, most citizens even disobey profession health care givers because the pastors often advise some adherents against taking the Doctor’s advise. All this in a bid to hold the people hostage. Some pregnant women who are advised to undergo Caesarian section due to health reasons are often advised to refuse and reject the option as from the devil just because the pastor wants to claim some powers he does not have. Most often die due to complications without the requisite professional care.
Make no mistake about it, no pastor forces anyone to church programmes by we know how fatalistic our society is and the enormous influence these religious leaders wield over the people without any checks from governments.
In other climes, the death of Linda at a Church programme without an attempt by the pastor to get her help would land him in court for legal processes, but here, her body was just covered in a corner while the preaching went on and I bet there might even have been some blackmail of the dead as being possessed by the devil.
The question remains, when will the Nigerian people be saved from religious charlatans who strut the space as though they have divine powers and subject the people to indolence and unnecessary fatalism without logic and deep thought?
As we mark the #HEARMETOO awareness for end of violence against women, may we all spare a thought for what most women are going through in the name of any religion, Christian, Muslim or traditional religions. All these religions have issues that come under violence against women. Can any tier of government rein in these religious leaders?
A Lynda has died with her eight month old fetus. Many unmourned and unrecorded are just all over the place remembered only by their families who do not get justice in any form. No country neglects it’s citizens like this…😢😢😢
May Lynda and her baby find peace.😡🌹💐😡