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Deborah’s killing: Middle Belt Forum, Alliance urge govt to prosecute perpetrators

By Seye Olumide (Ibadan), Ameh Ochojila (Abuja) and Ngozi Egenuka (Lagos)
17 May 2022   |   3:21 am
Middle Belt Forum (MBF), yesterday, condemned the killing of Deborah Samuel Yakubu, who was murdered by religious extremists on May 12, 2022, at Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto.

Deborah Samuel, a 200 Level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto

• Ex-SGF, Babachir Lawal denies inciting religious violence

Middle Belt Forum (MBF), yesterday, condemned the killing of Deborah Samuel Yakubu, who was murdered by religious extremists on May 12, 2022, at Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto.

The Forum also dismissed the attendant mass looting and violent protest, at the weekend, by youths demanding release of the suspected killers.

In a statement by its National President, Dr. Pogu Birtus, the Forum said: “The outrageous murder of yet another citizen is one too many, considering previous record where people were killed on account of alleged blasphemy. Deborah’s murder, last week, over alleged blasphemy, as contained in her voice note posted on a Whatsapp platform, portrays the growing intolerance of religious issues in the North.

The Forum said government’s inability or refusal to bring perpetrators to justice over previous killings of citizens is responsible for Deborah’s death.

It said: “As a country governed by laws, there cannot be any justification in the killing without following due process. Even in Islamic nations, there are processes for determining what constitutes blasphemy. When a mob simply puts to death someone they accuse of blasphemy, such an act amounts to criminality that has been encouraged by the state’s incapacity in bringing to book killers of people alleged to have committed blasphemy in the past.”

ALSO, Southern and Middle Belt Alliance (SaMBA) demanded the prosecution of those involved in the killing.

The group, in a statement signed by Prince Rwang Pam Jnr., said the incident is not acceptable under any guise. It also appealed to Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) to sensitise Muslims that killing in the name of Allah is un-Islamic.

The group called on Nigerians to elect a president from southern Nigeria, saying: “A president of South East extraction will heal our nation of such bigotry and build a Nigeria where every section and religion can cohabit harmoniously.

“It is very pathetic that Samuel was stoned to death and set ablaze on Thursday by her fellow students for allegedly making a blasphemous statement on a WhatsApp group.

“The act is condemnable in its entirety and we call on security agencies to ensure that all those involved in the killing face the full wrath of the law. The case must not be swept under the carpet, if we want to bring an end to killings in the name of religion.”

THIS was as a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, denied inciting religious violence in the country and threatened court action against persons sponsoring the allegation.

Lawal made the denial in a statement he issued in Abuja, saying his team of lawyers would fish out those behind the allegations.

The statement reads in part: “There is a voice note being circulated on social media, purported to have been made by me, inciting Christians to retaliate the recurring violence repeatedly unleashed on Christian individuals, their communities and their properties, as epitomised by the recent burning to death of Miss Deborah Samuel and church property in Sokoto.

“While I rightly feel indignant about these killings, it is not in my character to incite people to retaliate. Besides, the voice on the voice note is not mine neither is it in my character to incite revenge.”

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