• News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: May 16, 2022

Deborah Samuel: Group Condemns Killing Of Christians Over Cases Of Alleged Blasphemy

The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has in strong terms condemned the jungle justice meted out to Christians in northern Nigeria on the excuse of committing blasphemy against the prophet of Islam, Mohammed, citing the case of Deborah Samuel and many others.

A statement by the National President MBF, Pogu Bitrus on Monday described the mob killing of the girl in Sokoto as one too many, stating that the demand of the youth to release the suspects shows a bleak future for the country.

The Forum's President notes that the cases of extra-judicial killings shows the increasing intolerance of religious issues in the North with authorities refusal to bring perpetrators to book.

Bitrus stated that the inability of the authorities in Sokoto State to curtail the unwholesome attack on Christians shows that citizens are unable to remain unified under a non-religious order.

The message reads in part;  “The outrageous murder of yet another citizen is one too many, considering previous records where people were killed on account of alleged blasphemy.

"Deborah's murder last week over alleged blasphemy as contained in her voice note she posted on a Whatsapp platform portrays the growing intolerance of religious issues in the North.

“The attendant mass looting and violent protest at the weekend by youths demanding release of suspects over the killing prognosticate grimmer days ahead.

“Before last Thursday’s grisly murder, a secondary school teacher in Gombe state, Mrs Christian Oluwatoyin Oluwasesin, on March 21, 2007, was killed by her own students over allegation that she blasphemed against Islam by desecrating the Qur’an.

"In a fit of religious indignation, Mrs. Oluwasesin was gruesomely murdered in broad day light.

 “Over nine years later, on June 2, 2016, a Kano-based 74-year trader of kitchen utensils, Mrs Bridget Agbahime was killed when she protested against a Muslim performing ablution in front of her shop.

"In yet another fit of anger, the man instantly called on his fellow Muslims to administer instant mob justice on Mrs Agbahime for blasphemy. 

“She was murdered without finding out if what she said amounted to a blasphemy as alleged by her accusers who also judged and condemned her to be killed.

"Till date, the perpetrators are yet to be brought to justice. Hope that justice may come her way someday has fizzled out as the suspects were released by the court unconditionally as requested by the Kano State Government for no reason.

"The husband of the late trader was later forced to relocate to his home state in the south for fear of being killed over his quest for justice on his murdered spouse. 

"A month later, on July 9, 2016, an early morning preacher on the streets of Kubwa in Abuja, Mrs Eunice Elisha, was killed.

"Attempts to bring her killers to book have not yielded any positive fruit.

"Though not accused of any blasphemy, the silence of the state over killing of citizens on account of their faith may have encouraged Mrs. Elisha’s murderer(s) to snuff life out of her.

“Government’s inability or refusal to bring perpetrators to justice over previous killings of citizens is thus responsible for this bloodshed by these religious mobs.

"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.

"To demonstrate the fact that those who are engaged in killing Nigerians on account of alleged blasphemy enjoy overwhelming support, youths at the weekend poured into the streets of Sokoto demanding the release of suspects detained by the police over the killing of Deborah.

"While churches came under attacks, with looting and destruction unleashed by these youths, the Sokoto incident reveals the dour reality that our ability to remain united under a secular system is being tested.

“The manner this case is handled will signal if the government is indeed serious in tackling religiously related crises in the North threatening the corporate existence of the nation.

 “The present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari must not equivocate on this matter that is leading to rising tension in the country and global outrage.

"As the umbrella organisation for all ethnic nationalities in the Middle Belt, the President must rise up and stop Nigeria's journey to a religious crisis that has the potential of disintegration. 

"Considering the activities of those who looted and wreaked violence on Sokoto in the guise of demanding for the release of suspects, it is now clear that criminals were responsible for the death of Deborah.

"No effort should be spared in bringing them to justice."


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Maureen Okpe
Maureen Okpe

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