Deborah: Public figures that made controversial posts

THE killing of Deborah Samuel a 200 level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education by mobs in Sokoto over alleged blasphemy against Islam’s prophet Muhammad has elicited controversy on social media.

Deborah, whose remains were led to rest on Saturday was stoned to death and set ablaze on Thursday, May 12 on the school premises by her fellow students for making a  statement on a class WhatsApp group which they believed was blasphemous.

The tragedy led to the arrest of some suspects by the security operatives. Following the arrest, some youths in the state stormed the street to protest for the release of the arrested suspects.


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Using media reports, The ICIR compiles the list of some public figures whose comment generated reactions and was considered controversial in some quarters.

  1. Adamu Garba: While reacting to the incident via his official Twitter handle, a presidential aspirant, Adamu Garba said insulting prophet Muhammed is an uncompromising red line.
Adamu Garba

He said: There is no Muslim that don’t respect the sanctity and the divinity of Jesus Christ. And certainly, there is no Muslim that will ever tolerate denigrating our beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

Insulting him is our uncompromising REDLINE. Respect our sensibilities and avoid it.

2. Aliyu Tilde : The  Bauchi state commissioner for education, Aliyu Tilde  described Deborah’s statement as a lack of home training. He further noted that anybody that is not provoked by her statement needs to undergo a psychiatric test.

Aliyu Tilde

Aliyu wrote: “Deborah Words can kill. This group is not made for the post of stupid things. Done for past Q, if there is a test, if given assignment, send it. Not that you will send us useless things. What is the prophet of Allah? “”””” ———————- Oh my god, oh my god The mouth cuts the neck. If you’re not provoked by this, visit a psychiatrist, please. We must teach our children to respect others. 

3. Jamil Abubakar: A pilot, and Aliko Dangote’s son-in-law, Jamil Abubakar makes it to the list. His now-deleted Twitter post was a subject of controversy. 

Jamil Abubakar

Jamil, said the punishment meted out to blasphemers in most religions is death urging people to respect the religion of others.

 “In Islam we respect the Injil, Taura, Zabur, we were never taught to disrespect any of the books, or any of the prophets From Adam to Muhammad SAW and the Quran.

“The punishment for blasphemy is death! in most religions including Christianity. Respect people’s religion. It’s simple!” He tweeted.

4.  Ibrahim Maqari : The Chief Imam of the Abuja National Mosque, Ibrahim Maqari made a post that garnered reactions, with many people viewing it as a justification for the killing of Deborah.  

Ibrahim Maqari

“It should be known to everyone that we the Muslims have some red lines beyond which MUST NOT be crossed. The dignity of the Prophet (PBUH) is at the forefront of the red lines. If our grievances are not properly addressed, then we should not be criticized for addressing them ourselves,” said a statement posted on the imam’s Twitter account.


5. Anas Mohammad Sani: Reacting to a post made by one Zara Oyinye on her Facebook page concerning the incident, a Personal Assistant to the Sokoto State Finance Commissioner reportedly said the deceased brought the calamity upon herself with her reckless statement.

Anas Muhammad Sanni

“Muslims don’t take insults against beloved prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in whatever form.”



    “The earlier our Christian brothers and sisters understand this, the better for all of us. May the recklessness of our tongues never drive us to (an) early grave.”


    Abubakar Jibril

    6. Abubakar Jibril: The Chief Imam of Bayero University, Kano, Abubakar Jibril  was seen in a viral video telling his congregation that the students who killed Deborah did the right thing, he also urged them to kill other people when they belive they have blasphemed.

    Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria(HURIWA) in a statement released on Monday, condemned his statement and called for his arrest.



    7. Atiku Abubakar: A former Vice president Atiku Abubakar in a now-deleted post condemned the killing of Deborah. The post generated a lot of reactions before it was deleted. He made another post to explain why the initial post was deleted. This also generated a controversial reaction.

    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 society. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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