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Claim that Sokoto govt approved death penalty law for blasphemy is FALSE

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MULTIPLE posts circulating on social media claimed that the Sokoto State Government has enacted a law, approving the death penalty as punishment for the offence of blasphemy committed in the state.

The claims circulated online following the civil unrest in Sokoto state over the killing of Deborah Samuel, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education in the state.

Samuel was stoned and burnt to death by an angry mob on Thursday, May 12, 2022 over alleged blasphemy against the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (SAW).

A Facebook user, Abdulrahman. T. Yahaya posted the claim with a caption:

“Sokoto state government as finally sign into Law death penalty for blasphemy. Be guided.”

The post has generated more than 400 likes, 120 comments and 3 shares on Facebook as of May 18, 2022.

Similarly, a Twitter user, My Deen My Swag, with the username @AM_Saleeem tweeted the claim with the caption:

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“Sokoto State Govt has finally signed into law ‘Death penalty for blasphemy.’ Alhamdulillah!

“Sokoto State Govt made a wisest decision by signing death penalty for blasphemy into law. And i pray it stops the rate at which people solve matters with their own hands. I call on all state governments to do the same and make sure it’s well implemented,” he added.

The post has generated more than 700 retweets on Twitter as of May 20, 2022.

THE CLAIM

Sokoto State Government has signed into law the death penalty for blasphemy.

The screenshot of the Facebook post.

THE FINDINGS

Checks by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE.

First, none of the social media users who posted the claim stated their source(s). A simple keyword search by The FactCheckHub gave no result of any official announcement from the Sokoto state government or revealed any credible media outfit that reported the new death penalty law.

To verify the claim, The FactCheckHub contacted Muhammad Bello, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Governor of Sokoto state who clarified that the viral claim is not true.

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“I am not aware of that. There is nothing like that. If there is anything like that, I should be aware of it,” he said.

The Clerk to the Sokoto State House of Assembly, Bello Ahmad, also told The FactCheckHub that the state government has not passed such a law.

“It has not come to our table. People saying it should be able to tell you when it came. I am just reaching my office now and there is nothing like that. There has to be a legislative process to any law that is going to be passed,” he said.

THE VERDICT

The claim that the Sokoto State government enacted a law, approving the death penalty as punishment for the offence of blasphemy is FALSE; state officials have confirmed.

This was republished from the FactCheckHub.

Author profile

Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via nyahaya@icirnigeria.org and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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