The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Northern States Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF) and the British government have condemned the murder of Deborah Samuel, a 200-level female student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, by some fanatical students of the same school for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in a Whatsapp post.
They are also demanding for the arrest and prosecution of all those responsible for the murder of Deborah, who was attacked and killed by the mob of fanatics that burnt her corpse at the school’s premises last Thursday.
Likewise, President Muhammadu Buhari strongly flayed the resort to self-help by the mob in Sokoto, resulting in violence, destruction and killing of Deborah.
The General Secretary of CAN, Joseph Daramola, in a statement on Friday said: “The vampires must be brought to book. The unlawful and dastardly action of the perpetrators must not only be condemned by all right-thinking people but the security operatives must fish them out, prosecute them as it is expected of them.
“It is the failure of the security agencies and the government to rise up to such criminalities in the past that gave birth to terrorists and bandits. And as long as the State fails to bring these beasts and criminals amidst us to book so also the society will continue to be their killing fields.
“We acknowledge the swift reaction of His Eminence, Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III who not only condemned the criminal and religious intolerant action but also called on the security agencies to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We also call on all teachers and preachers of religious intolerance, extremism, and terrorism to repent before the wrath of God descends on them if the State failed to bring them to book. They are agents of death amidst us.
“We recall the provocative and demeaning advertisement of the Sterling Bank where the bank compared the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to “Agege bread”, up till now, nobody was attacked and even the CAN leadership has accepted the apology tendered by its Managing Director, Abubakar Suleiman.
“Killing for any God in the name of blasphemy is ungodly, satanic, foolish, reprehensible, and totally unacceptable. This is not a Stone Age and Nigeria is not a Banana Republic. Nigeria remains a non-religious State where no religion is supreme to the other.
“We acknowledge and commend the restraint of the Christian students of the College who refused to embrace self-help and reprisal attacks on those who murdered their colleague. It is our prayer that those vampires in religious garments will not push the country to a religious war.
“This is why both the government and the security agencies must stop treating them with kid gloves. Enough is enough.”
The Northern Christian Elders in a statement by its Chairman, Ejoga Inalegwu, in Kaduna yesterday, called on the government to immediately apprehend and make an example of those who perpetrated the dastardly act.
The Christian group noted that anything short of apprehending and prosecuting those involved in the heinous act was unacceptable.
According to them, the act was purely a murder in the robe of religion.
The group said, “The death of Debora Yakubu (Samuel) is one too many by mobs wearing a cloak of religion in the North. In a country where there is a law, nobody, group or individuals has a right to take another’s life whatsoever, outside the due process of law.
“We also urge the government to make a public example and make a new statement by quickly bringing the perpetrators to book.
“This should not be the usual rhetoric of condemnations and then the case is swept under the carpet with publicised arrests, no prosecution or jaundiced prosecution and letting off the hook, when the outcries die down.
“One day it is the videoed execution of Christians in the North because of a said killing of a terrorist in Syria, and next what should have been an internal WhatsApp class platform chat results in mob action murder, wearing the robe of religion in our dear North.”
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing has condemned the killing of Deborah.
In a tweet on Friday, Laing said the authorities must ensure that the perpetrators of the act are brought to justice.
“I condemn the murder of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto, and urge the police and relevant authorities to ensure the perpetrators of this horrific act are made to face justice in line with the law,” she wrote.
The Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has met with a broad spectrum of Muslim leaders in the state to deliberate on the way to maintain peace and harmony amongst its citizens
A statement by his media office said Tambuwal met with Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Mathew Kukah, among others.
The statement said that the governor had to cut short his various official engagements in Abuja, to rush to Sokoto in view of the importance of the various consultations.
Victim’s Whatsapp Voice Note Shows Alleged Blasphemy is False
Meanwhile, the purported reason Deborah was killed and her body burnt by the mob has been found to be false.
Deborah had shared a voice note on her class Whatsapp group in which she challenged her colleagues who were posting religious information there.
She spoke in Hausa. According to a Twitter user who did the translation, Deborah was quoted to have said: “Holy Ghost Fire, nothing’s going to happen to me, you should know what to be sending to this group, it’s not that the group was created to be sending nonsense, the group was created for posting things like, test, assignment e.t.c. not the nonsense you are posting, no be only prophet, you are coming to play on me.”
The nonsense she apparently referred to were the religious posts.
Her comments were said to have irked some of her colleagues who felt she disrespected Prophet Mohammed, and threatened to deal with her. When the tension was high, the school authorities took her to the security room to give her some protection. However, the enraged students overpowered the security officers, dragged Deborah out, and beat her until she died before setting her corpse on fire.
Former President of the Senate, Anyim Pius Anyim also condemned, in the strongest terms, the gruesome and unlawful killing of Deborah.
In a statement he personally signed, Anyim decried the killing of Deborah as cruel, illegal, callous and inhuman.
Anyim said: “There is no place in a modern Democracy such as Nigeria for jungle justice and killing of human beings illegally. We cannot afford now to add religious intolerance to the plethora of problems bedevilling our country.”
Atiku Distances Self from Deborah Tweet
However, Presidential hopeful, Atiku Abubakar, has distanced himself from a tweet condemning the lynching of Deborah.
Atiku, who is running for President on the platform of the PDP, had taken to Twitter on Thursday to condemn the mob action, saying, “There cannot be a justification for such gruesome murder. Deborah Yakubu was murdered and all those behind her death must be brought to justice. My condolences to her family and friends.”
The former Vice-President, however, came under threats from some Muslim northerners who threatened not to vote for him if he emerges as the Presidential candidate of the PDP.
However, Atiku later deleted the tweet amid the threats.
On Facebook yesterday, the former Vice President in a message on his verified Hausa page distanced himself from the message. He also stated that any message on social media that did not come with the initials “A. A.” were not his.
“This evening I received information that a post was made that doesn’t agree with my orders. I use this to announce that any post without A. A. is not from me. May God protect us,” he wrote in Hausa.