Shocked and disappointed that in this twenty first century, a state government in Nigeria under constitutional democracy can cover up a crime of broad day murder of Deborah Samuel, the Sokoto State government under Governor Aminu Tambuwal has been asked to ensure quick dispensation of justice. This was the position of the prominent Civil Rights group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
HURIWA has also condemned the hierarchies of the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Services (DSS) whose operatives reportedly witnessed the lynch mob action meted out to the defenseless Christian girl from Niger State who until her killing over alleged ‘blasphemy’ by Islamic extremists in mid May 2022, was a two hundred level student of Shehu Shagari college of education Sokoto.
Vexed by what appeared like apparent sweeping under the carpets of impunity of this heinous crime of murder and extra legal execution by armed non state actors witnessed by armed security forces which was instigated by Muslim classmates following unproven allegation of blasphemy of Islam, the Rights group has warned of the profound implication of letting murderers walk freely in the streets of Nigeria by a democratically elected Sokoto State government.
“The loud silence by governor Aminu Tambuwal on this despicable, primitive, irrational, vexations crime against humanity and the deliberate lack of information to the general public on this matter, is a severe blight on the public image of the Sokoto State governor who for many years was a senior national legislator and even became a speaker of the federal House of Representatives”.
“Deborah Samuel was a Christian who went to find knowledge in Sokoto the citadel of learning but was killed over purported blasphemy by an unruly mob in the presence of law enforcement agents.The Sokoto State governor even put up a flimsy excuse for the armed security operatives’ inability or unwillingness to disperse the killer mob that killed Deborah and thereby watched until the young innocent Northern Christian girl was lynched to her death and her remains set alight.
“Her broad daylight execution will forever be a very dangerous incident that shows that Nigeria is primitive, uncaring, and the political rulers are heartless and lawless. Why on earth are the killers not yet sanctioned in accordance with the law? why is no single police or DSS Chief punished for dereliction of duty? And why the loud silence from Sokoto State government or is mob action a part of the modus operandi of the Sokoto State government. The government of Sokoto needs to adequately inform Nigerians on the steps it has institutionally taken to punish the perpetrators or it would be assumed that this despicable and reprehensible crime has the imprimatur of Sokoto State government in the year 2022.”
“HURIWA as a non-religious body committed to the advancement of human rights including FREEDOM OF SPEECH, RELIGION AND ASSOCIATION, is scandalized that Sokoto State administration led by a very senior lawyer who rose to become National publicity secretary of Nigerian Bar Association, Speaker of Nigerian parliament and now the governor, has not successfully prosecuted mass killers captured on video or is he making effort to inform Nigerians and the World on what his government has done to bring the killers to the long arm of the law.”
HURIWA recalled that the assasinated Christian girl Miss. Deborah Samuel, a student of Shehu Shagari College Education, Sokoto, was gruesomely killed on second Thursday in May 2022 for allegedly “making blasphemous statements.
The Rights group recalled that one of Deborah’s coursemates, identified simply as Rakia, said that the last word of the deceased was ‘what do you hope to achieve with this?’ Narrating the incident, she said Deborah was flogged, killed, and burnt and it was the most horrible thing she has ever witnessed.“Deborah was my course mate. I just stepped into the class when the uproar on her voice note started.
HURIWA further recalled the eye witness testified thus: ”It was her own coursemates 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 coursemates. 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 overheard 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 tests, assignments, exams, etc, not these ‘nonsense’ 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 coursemates rushed in, saying ‘there is fire on the mountain o’.
HURIWA recalled that Rakia further stated that the Muslim students led the strangers to the class to look for her, adding that some classmates tried to help Deborah escape as they had gotten a cab waiting outside to drive her straight to the police station but unfortunately, the mob overpowered everyone who tried to save her. ”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. 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.
HURIWA said if the Sokoto State governor is unable to resolve this unique but disturbing case of murder as soon as possible, CSOs will definitely approach the international community to take steps to compel the governor to fish out the killers for appropriate justice in line with the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.