Atheist Society of Nigeria

We seek a Nigeria where public policies are based on rational reasoning and critical thinking and not influenced by religious beliefs

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Friday, 8 February 2019

Equal Time & Fair Treatment for the Non-Religious in Nigeria

According to Leadership, a set of delegates from the Humanist Association of Nigeria have come together to help with inclusivity within Nigerian media.

In particular, they have worked for the inclusion of the voices of the non-religious within Nigerian society. Dr. Leo Igwe visited the National Headquarters of Leadership newspaper in Abuja on January 14, 2019.

Igwe said, “The Abuja Humanists convention just ended. This historic event focused on the risks and challenges that people who renounce religion face in the country. The Convention provided an important platform for ex-religionists to tell their stories and share their experiences”

As others may have noted, and as Igwe did, the purpose of the coming together of the humanist and the atheist groups within Nigerian communities is to create community and raise the concerns of the community in one place.

Igwe continued to describe how the issues facing the non-religious tend to be missing from the issues considered important within the nation. 

In fact, that the non-religious, though small in the total religious demographics of Nigeria, represent an important and growing presence within the country. A set of voices with unique concerns that should be taken seriously by the leadership of communities and the nation. 

"In reporting issues that are related to religion, the voices of the non-religion are missing," Igwe stated, "They are conspicuously omitted making the media publications look like church and mosque bulletins. Hence, this wrong impression that over 90 percent of Nigerians are religious or that there are no atheists, freethinkers in the country.” 

Igwe, in a manner of speaking, was simply indicating a discrepancy, an honest one from a sincere and intelligent person, and then requesting, in a way, that the media just do their job properly: no more, no less. This would, by implication, include the fair time and treatment of the non-religious. Not as betters compared to the religious, the same time and the same treatment as one gives to the religious: fair critiques and equal presentation alongside them.

This is a fair and democratic proposal, of which I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Igwe. Igwe explained, "While various media organizations allocate spaces and airtime especially on Fridays and Sundays to the dominant religious faiths for sermons and prayers, incidentally there are no such allocations for the non-religious/humanist constituencies."

Igwe described how the ways in which Nigeria is seen as overwhelmingly religious and without the sub-population of non-religious and humanist citizens is a direct consequence of the media exposure for the religious and the lack of exposure, in a fair light, of the non-religious/humanist populations. This should change. This can change.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:
Photo by Zachary Keimig on Unsplash

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