Sunday, September 24, 2023

Deborah’s killers can’t be charged with public disturbance, NBA warns police, Tambuwal

The NBA asked the Sokoto State Government to immediately “file charges that truly reflect the gravity of the situation.”

• May 17, 2022
Olumide Akpata, Alkali Baba, Deborah Samuel and Aminu Tambuwal
Olumide Akpata, Alkali Baba, Deborah Samuel and Aminu Tambuwal

The Nigerian Bar Association has urged the Nigeria Police Force and Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, to properly charge the suspects involved in the murder of Christian female student, Deborah Samuel, by Muslim extremists in Sokoto.

The legal association condemned the murder in a statement on Tuesday. 

“With particular reference to the murder of Miss Deborah Yakubu and related developments in Sokoto, we…are, however, worried by yet-to-be confirmed reports reaching us that the suspects have been charged with mere breach of public peace in an episode that cut short Deborah’s life in her prime,” the statement said.

“The NBA is strongly opposed to a banalisation of the situation, and if these reports are true, then we call on the Sokoto State Government to immediately rethink its prosecution strategy and file charges that truly reflect the gravity of the situation,” the statement added.

The association postponed its NBA-SPIDEL conference which was scheduled to hold in Sokoto this May, condemning the extrajudicial killing of Ms Samuel.

Keynote speakers like Oby Ezekwesili, former education minister, and international human rights attorney, Chidi Odinkalu, had pulled out from their participation at the event in protest of the gruesome murder. 

Last week, Mr Tambuwal imposed a curfew in the state to curb further spread of violence after violent riots broke out, clamouring for release of Ms Samuel’s murder suspects. 

The governor said the directive was issued “in pursuance of peace and order in Sokoto metropolis and the entire state.” However, the curfew has now been relaxed and Mr Tambuwal has resumed campaigns for his 2023 presidential bid. 

Ms Samuel, a 200 level Home-Economics student, was accused of blasphemy, beaten to death and burnt by violent Muslim fanatics.

The violence, carried out by a Muslim mob, was after Ms Samuel had complained over religious broadcast messages being shared to the department’s WhatsApp group. 

Ms Samuel was attacked at the school’s security post by colleagues and fellow students who hit her repeatedly with sticks and stones till she died.

Her death has elicited concern from northern leaders who, in a statement by the Northern Governors Forum, said they were worried by Muslim extremists resorting to self-help measures in addressing perceived infractions.

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