THE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the killing of a butcher, Usman Buda, in Sokoto over allegations that he made blasphemous comments against the Islamic religion.
In a statement on Thursday, June 29, CAN President Daniel Okoh called for the protection of Nigerians irrespective of religious affiliations or other diversity.
“According to reports reaching us, Usman Buda was brutally murdered over an alleged blasphemous comment. CAN firmly believes in the freedom of religion and the peaceful expression of beliefs. We, therefore, denounce any form of violence or jungle justice in the name of religion.
“This tragic incident underscores the urgent need for increased efforts to foster religious tolerance, peace, and unity in our diverse society,” he noted.
While commiserating with the family of the deceased, he urged religious leaders to promote peaceful coexistence and tolerance among their followers.
Buda was murdered by a mob on Sunday, June 25, over alleged blasphemy.
The Sokoto State Police Command confirmed the incident in a statement.
No arrests have been made following the killing. However, the Police Command noted that investigations had commenced into the killing.
Amnesty International condemns killing
Other organisations, including Amnesty International, condemned the brutal killing of the butcher, stating that the rising spate of blasphemy murders was an urgent call for the protection of human rights in Nigeria.
“By failing again and again to ensure that those suspected of responsibility of killing(s) over alleged blasphemy are brought to justice, the Nigerian authorities continue to create a permissive environment for brutality,” the organisation’s Acting Director in Nigeria Isa Sanusi noted.
Following the killing, Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC) urged Muslims to desist from taking laws into their hands.
In a statement on Monday, June 26, MURIC Chairman in Sokoto Muhammad Aliyu noted that although blasphemy was punishable by death under the Sharia law, it was not the responsibility of private individuals to carry out the killing.
Blasphemy killings on the rise in northern Nigeria
Buda’s killing is the second such incident in Sokoto and the third in Nigeria within a year.
In May 2022, Deborah Yakubu, a Christian student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, was lynched over alleged blasphemy.
Though two suspects were arrested in connection with the killing, justice is yet to be served one year later.