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Deborah: Let the rule of law triumph

By Sonnie Ekwowusi
24 May 2022   |   3:55 am
The rule of law must be allowed to triumph in the matter of the barbaric murder of Deborah Samuel no matter whose ox is gored.

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

The rule of law must be allowed to triumph in the matter of the barbaric murder of Deborah Samuel no matter whose ox is gored.

Therefore the Sokoto State police, State security agents and the authorities must not succumb to the cheap blackmail and intimidation of some Islamic fanatics and extremists who are now sponsoring orgy of arson and circles of violence in demand for the release of the suspected killers of Deborah. Deborah was a 200-level female Christian student of Shehu Shagari College of Education (SSCOE), Sokoto State.

Last week she was astonishingly stoned to death and set ablaze in the most barbaric, horrifying and animalistic manner by some fanatical Muslim students of the same SSCOE for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammed (Peace be on him). Instead of listening to the voice of the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar 111 and other voices of reason who have been condemning the murder and calling for justice for Deborah, the Sokoto State Chief Imam Dr. Sheikh Mansour and some Islamic fanatics and extremists are putting pressure on the police and the authorities to release the suspected killers of Deborah. The police and the security agents should not only ignore them but should move quickly to arrest them and charge them to court for sabotaging and obstructing the course of criminal justice.

On its part, the Sokoto State Ministry of Justice must ensure that all the suspected killers of Deborah are swiftly charged to court for murder and executed upon conviction as stipulated in the law. I repeat: Deborah’s murderers should be rounded up, charged to court for murder and executed upon conviction. And if it is established that Professor Ibrahim Magari, the Chief Imam of the National Mosque, Abuja and others had in any way aided and abetted the murder of Deborah they too should be arrested, charged to court for murder and sanctioned accordingly if found guilty. Nobody is above the law of the land.

The Sokoto State Chief Imam Dr. Sheikh Mansour and Professor Magari argue that jungle justice meted out against Deborah was aimed at defending Prophet Mohammed (peace be on him) and Islam. Hear Professor Magari “It should be known to everyone that we the Muslims have some redlines beyond which must not be crossed. The dignity of the Prophet (PBUH) is at the forefront of the redlines. If our grievances are not properly addressed, then we should not be criticized for addressing them ourselves.” Contrary to the assertions of Dr. Sheikh Mansour and Professor Magari, jungle justice is unacceptable in Islam. In any case, Deborah did not cross any Islamic redline warranting her murder. She neither insulted Prophet Mohammed (peace be on him) nor blasphemed against Islam before she was stoned to death. Like the conscience of the nation Leah Sharibu, Deborah, merely publicly exercised her right to religious freedom before she was murdered. What was her “offence”? She ascribed her success in an examination which she sat for to Jesus Christ. And when violently ordered by the fanatical Muslim students around her to retract the name Jesus Christ, she refused to do so. That was all before they stoned her to death and set her body ablaze. She never insulted Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). She did not desecrate the Holy Qur’an either. She merely exercised her right to religious freedom as enshrined in our 1999 Constitution. By virtue of section 10 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, Nigeria is a secular State. Islam is not a State religion either in Sokoto State or anywhere in Nigeria. The import of this is that Deborah, like Leah Sharibu, was free to publicly reject Islam and embrace Christianity. She did so without insulting Prophet Mohammed (peace be on him). She merely publicly professed her Christian faith before they brutally murdered her.

You see, you cannot force anyone to subscribe to your religion. God has created all of us and given us human freedom and expects us to freely exercise our freedom in one way or another. It is disappointing that clerics whose calling is to shepherd their flock to conduct themselves in edifying manner are busy inciting them to take to violence-to maiming, killing and destruction of property of the so-called infidels. By their fruits we shall know them. Violence has never been used to ultimately solve any human problem. So, why unleash violence against others for refusing to profess your religion? Although Muslims are enjoined to proselytize non-believers to embrace Islam and spread Islamic teachings, they are not enjoined to do so by force or through terrorism or through abduction or killing of human beings or arson. It is the obligation and duty of the Muslim community to enjoin its members to shun wickedness and evil (Holy Quran 3:110).

To be continued tomorrow