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Deborah: Kukah, CSOs demand justice for murdered female student

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CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) and many Nigerians have demanded justice for Deborah Samuel, a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, who was murdered by a mob over alleged blasphemy on Thursday.

A civil society organisation, Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project (SERAP), in a statement posted on its official Twitter profile, urged the Nigerian government to condemn the act publicly.

“The Buhari administration should publicly condemn the brutal murder of Deborah, a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, over alleged blasphemy, and promptly identify and bring to justice those responsible for this grave rights abuse,” SERAP said.

The Bishop of Sokoto Diocese of the Catholic Church, Mathew Hassan Kukah, also called on authorities to investigate the killing and ensure that the perpetrators were brought to book.

“We condemn this incident in the strongest terms and call on the authorities to investigate this tragedy and ensure that all the culprits are brought to book,” Kukah said.

He added that the only obligation owed Deborah’s immediate family and fellow students was the assurance that those guilty of the act would be punished.

Kukah also said the killing of Deborah had nothing to do with religion, noting that Christians and Muslims had lived peacefully in the state.

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“This has nothing to do with religion. Christians have lived peacefully with their Muslim neighbours here in Sokoto over the years. This matter must be treated as a criminal act, and the law must take its cause,” he noted.

A rights organisation, Amnesty International, has also called on the Nigerian government to ensure that all the perpetrators are arrested and prosecuted.

The organisation, in a statement released on Thursday in reaction to the incident, described the killing as ‘horrific’.

“Amnesty International condemns the horrific lynching of a female student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto on alleged blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed on 12 May 2022. Nigerian authorities must ensure those responsible for her death are immediately arrested,” the statement read.

Amnesty International added that the Nigerian authorities must curtail the increase in mob violence in the country.

The organisation added that on March 30, 2021, one Talle Mai Ruwa, a popular water vendor, was beaten and burnt to death in the presence of his mother at Sade village in Darazo Local Government of Bauchi State on alleged blasphemy after the angry mob overran the community police station where he was detained.

It also noted that another Isma’ila Sani Isha remains in custody after the youths in the state held a protest at the palace of the Sultan of Sokoto in July 2021, calling for the arrest and death of the man for allegedly posting a blasphemous comment on his Facebook page.

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The Sokoto Police Command said it arrested two persons involved in the killing on Thursday.

In November 2021, the United States government removed Nigeria from the list of countries accused of engaging in or tolerating religious persecution.

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Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via labolade@icirnigeria.org, on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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