For some days now, very serious outrage has continued to trail the killing of a Christian female student, Miss Deborah Samuel by a mob in Sokoto on Thursday over alleged blasphemy with the British Government and the Christian Association of Nigeria joining the calls on the government to bring the perpetrators to justice.
This is just as President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a probe into the incident even as Muslim clerics expressed divergent views on the justification for the killing.
Deborah Samuel, a 200-level Home Economics student of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, was on Thursday said to have made a comment in her school’s WhatsApp platform which her Muslim colleagues considered blasphemous of Prophet Mohammed (SAW) and killed her before setting her corpse ablaze.
What led to the killing
One of the students of the college, who witnessed how Deborah was flogged, killed, and burnt described the scene as the most horrible she has ever witnessed. The student who identified herself simply as Rakia, gave an account of how the voice note of the 25-year-old student degenerated into an uncontrollable situation.
Speaking from her parents’ home in Gidan Kaya area of Sokoto State, the visibly shaken student said, “Deborah was my course mate. I just stepped into the class when the uproar on her voice note started.
It was her own course mates that started it. One of them said Deborah dared them by refusing to apologise when she was asked to. It all started with a debate on the upcoming examination on a general WhatsApp platform created for our course mates. One of the students asked her how she passed the last semester’s examination and in response, she said it was ‘Jesus o.’
“Immediately, about three other chats came in from two Muslims and one Christian, telling her to retract the statement. Two students from other departments who over heard some Muslim boys discussing the matter told Deborah’s close friends to prevail on her to retract the statement. But she replied via a voice note on the platform ‘Holy Ghost fire. Nothing will happen to me.
Is it by force that you guys will always be sending this religious stuff in this group? The group wasn’t created for that but rather as a notice on test, assignment, exam, etc, not this nonsense religious posts’
“We were made to understand that some young men were brought from outside before the outrage. I was in class when some of our course mates rushed in, saying ‘there is fire on the mountain o’.
“The Muslim students led the strangers to the class to look for her. In fear, those in the class tried to help her escape and took her to the security post from where they hoped to create a way for her to run outside Already, a cab was waiting outside to drive her straight to the police station. Unfortunately, the mob overpowered everyone who tried to save her. They even threatened to kill anyone who attempted to stand in their way.
Her last word as she pleaded for mercy
She was dragged out, flogged and stoned. The last word in her mouth was ‘what do you hope to achieve with this?’ By then some of our coursemates were making calls to some of our lecturers to save the situation. At a point, all the Christian students fled the school premises. It was when I got home that I heard she was set ablaze. Since the incident, I have been having a flash of her pleading expression. She pleaded for mercy and called out for help but it was far from her. What a cruel way to die,” she said.
Another Muslim student who did not want her name in print kicked against the mob action on the late Deborah. She said, “what happened did not warrant her death. We are calling on the government to make a policy that kicks against attack on anyone accused of blasphemy”.
Enough is enough— CAN
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has condemned as gruesome the killing of Deborah and called on the Federal Government to investigate the murder and “swiftly bring perpetrators to justice”.
A statement on Friday entitled ‘Deborah’s Killers Must Be Brought To Book’ in Abuja, by CAN’s General Secretary, Joseph Bade Daramola, described killing for any God as ungodly, satanic, foolish, reprehensible and totally unacceptable. He warned the government and the security agencies against treating perpetrators of such dastardly act with kid gloves.
Daramola said, “The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) condemns in strong terms the gruesome murder of a Christian, 200-Level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, Deborah Samuel by some extremist fellow students on alleged blasphemy. 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 called on the security agencies to bring the perpetrators to justice. It is our expectation that the State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, would ensure that the matter is not swept under the carpet, as it was before.
“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 prayers 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”.