MY JOS, A CITY I GREW UP IN, A CITY OF PEACE NOW DIVIDED ON RELIGIOUS LINES

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Jos, a city known to be the tin city, a city known for its huge deposits of tin, a city known for it’s weather that is more of temperate than tropics. A city with amazing scenery , a city of the farmers and dairies. Jos a city I grew up in not knowing about the religious divide and dichotomy! My Jos has turned to a divided city today. Christians at one side and Muslims on the other side !

One thing you can’t take away with the city is the amazing weather, awesome people , great drink! Try burukutu and have your ancestors in a chitchat and then the city gave us the finest artistes like M.I Abanga , P Square and Mikel Obi. This was the Jos I knew but what it has turned to today, that u can’t say.

 

So decades ago, growing up on the beautiful Jos Plateau, I and a lot of kids back then were oblivious to this religious divide that is destroying Nigeria today. I grew up on Zaria road, went to school on Bauchi Road (within the University of Jos) and had school mates that were Christian, Moslem and Sikh and we didn’t even notice! Well, we noticed the Sikh because he always had a bun on his head. We would go into angwan rogo at break time if allowed, to buy all those local local snacks and no one knew if we were Christian or Moslem children (nostalgia sets in).

Well then to Langtang I went and again things were pretty blurred along religious lines……… until the fasting periods. I swear I didn’t even know how serious this fasting thing was till I got to Langtang. The school (a Federal school in a secular(?) state) had to make provision for fasting Moslem girls and that’s when I started hearing from some girls that we shouldn’t eat with the Moslem girls because it was idol food. Rubbish. Who tells a hungry skinny girl not to eat food especially after your ‘provisions’ have finished. Plus I was one of those abandoned projects in school – once I was dropped off, no one cared till it was time for pick up at the end of school term. I was going to eat that food of idols and eat I did. But, the idea had been planted: I now knew there were some differences between Christians and Moslems. Going to church ‘helped’ the idea to grow. The Moslems worsened the matter by blocking major roads in Jos every Friday so now we had a good reason to ‘hate’ them.

Then there was the 2001 crisis and my family and I were almost burnt alive in Angwan Rimi. Then all the other (religious?) crises followed.

So now, I look back and wonder how we got from living peacefully together to this mess we now have. Or was I just too much in a bubble of my own? How is it that politicians have hijacked this country riding on the wings of religion? But most of all, how is it that we let them do this to us?

Annie

 

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