Finally, Buhari, Osinbajo condemn mob killing of Sokoto school student over blasphemy, as Northern Christian elders demand justice


Over 24 hours after the killing of a female 200-level student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto (SSCOED), Miss Deborah Samuel Yakubu, Thursday, by an irate mob of Muslims over alleged blasphemy, President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the incident, saying ‘no one has the right to take laws into their hands.’

President Muhammadu Buhari

Also, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), finally reacted to the killing as he said ‘there is no excuse for people to take laws into their hands.’

President Buhari, in a statement released by his Special adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Friday, further ‘demanded an impartial, extensive probe into all that happened before and during the incident.’

Buhari also directed the Ministries of Information and Culture, Police Affairs and that of Communications and Digital Economy to work with GSM providers and tech companies to help contain the spread of false and inflammatory information through social media.

“President Muhammadu Buhari strongly condemns the resort to self-help by the mob in sokoto, resulting in violence, destruction and killing of a second year student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, Deborah Samuel, following an allegation that she had blasphemed Muhammad (SAW), the Prophet of Islam on Thursday.

“President Buhari said the news of the killing of the young lady by fellow students was a matter of concern and demanded an impartial, extensive probe into all that happened before and during the incident.

Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo

“The President noted that Muslims all over the world demand respect for the Holy Prophets, incl Isah (Alaihissalaam, Jesus Christ) & Muhammad (SAW) but where transgressions occur, as alleged to be the case in this instance, the law does not allow anyone take matters into their hands.

“Moreover, religious leaders preach that it is not for the believer to judge the actions of another person. The constituted authority must be allowed to deal with such matters when they arise.

“No person has the right to take the law in his or her own hands in this country. Violence has and never will solve any problem,” read the statement by Shehu quoting President Buhari.

“The President extended the nation’s condolences to the family of the deceased student and wished all those injured a quick recovery.

“He commended the immediate response to the incident by the Sokoto State Government and urged religious and community leaders to call citizens’ attention to the need to exercise the right to freedom of speech responsibly.

“President Buhari called for tempered comments by the media and calm among the general population while investigation is ongoing to find out the remote and immediate causes of the incident,” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, Vice President Osinbajo on his part, Friday, while condemning the mob killing of Mis Deborah, commiserated with the families of the late Home Economics student.

The late Deborah Samuel Yakubu

Speaking at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, the Vice President commended the Sultan of Sokoto, the State Governor and other leaders in the state for condemning the dastardly act, insisting that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

“The President has reacted to this, a statement which was issued earlier condemning the action. I must say that it’s a deeply distressing thing, very disturbing – such an atrocious killing of the young lady by a mob who took the law into their own hands. I think it’s very unfortunate.

“The swift reaction of the Sokoto State Government and also the Sultan of Sokoto is highly commendable. I think that their swift reaction to the situation clearly demonstrated the outrage of millions of Nigerians and also demonstrated the desire of everyone to ensure that the perpetrators are quickly apprehended and prosecuted.

“As the president said, there’s really no excuse for anyone to take the law into their own hands no matter the provocation, there are set processes for ensuring that we are able to redress whatever wrongs that are done against us.

“We must express our condolence to the family of the young lady Deborah Samuel. I can’t imagine how her parents and siblings and members of her family feel, not just about her death, but the very horrendous nature of its occurrence. I think it’s very sad indeed, and we extend our sincere condolences to them. We ask that the Almighty will comfort them at this time.”

Reacting to the mob killing which drew outrage from Nigerians when it went viral on social media, Thursday, the Northern States Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF), in its statement, Friday, tasked the federal and state governments to bring the perpetrators to book a public example.

NOSCEF expressed this in a statement signed by its Chairman, Engineer Ejoga Oyinehi Inalegwu, made available to newsmen in Kaduna on Friday, May 13, 2022.

“We also urge the government to make a public example and make a new statement by quickly bringing the perpetrators to book. In the same vein, we plead with the government not to be distracted from sustaining the war against the deteriorating insecurity and insurgency by the charging political atmosphere,” it said.

NOSCEF condemned the brutal murder of the young girl, Debora Yakubu, “who was innocently expressing herself on a class group chat by a mob instigated from within her classmates.

“The death of Debora Yakubu is one too many by mobs wearing a cloak of religion in the North. In a country where there is a law, nobody, group or individuals has a right to take another’s life whatsoever, outside the due process of law,” it said.

The group welcomed the condemnations across board, but said, they hope “this will not be the usual rhetoric of condemnations and then the case is swept under the carpet with publicized arrests, no prosecution or jaundiced prosecution and letting of the hook, when the outcries die down.

“One day it is the videoed execution of Christians in the North because of a said killing of a terrorist in Syria and next what should have been an internal WhatsApp class platform chat results in mob action murder, wearing the robe of religion in our dear North,” it added.

The group urged the authorities to commit themselves to stamping out these brutalities that have no value for life before they completely consume the entire North in particular and Nigeria as a nation, if Nigeria is not dismembered as a result.

“NOSCEF commiserates with the family of Debora Yakubu in their period of grief and this avoidable pain and urge Nigerians to rally round them to comfort and lessen their grief,” the group added.

Earlier, the Sokoto State Government had announced an immediate closure of academic activities at the school, even as the Sultanate Council while condemning the incident called a thorough investigation into the matter.

Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah, Friday, condemned in strong terms the Thursday killing of a 200-level, female, Christian student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education Sokoto , Miss Deborah Samuel Yakubu, who was reportedly stoned to death and subsequently lunched at the school’s premises by a mob over alleged blasphemy.

The late Deborah allegedly had argument with fellow students online and the Muslims among them claimed that she blasphemed against prophet Muhammad.

The interaction reportedly took place during the Muslim moon of Ramadan when the College was on break.

“When they sighted her at the school, Thursday, some Muslim male students reportedly surrounded her and started stoning her.

“They continued until she fell. They made sure she died and subsequently set her body ablaze,” an eyewitness account claimed.

Reacting to the incident, Friday, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah expressed sadness that such ‘inhuman act was carried out in Sokoto.’

In a statement, Bishop Kukah condemned the act in very strong terms, as he called on the Sokoto State Government and the relevant authorities to investigate the incident to ascertain the cause of the action and bring the perpetrators of the act to book.

He said the only obligation owed the parents of the murdered student, her fellow students and the College is to ensure that those who carried out the act are punished, no matter their motivation.

The Bishop added that what happened has nothing to do with religion as Christians have been living peacefully with fellow Muslims in Sokoto over the years.

Bishop Kukah called on all Christians to remain calm and pray for the repose of the soul of Deborah Yakubu.