Blasphemy: Movement demands immediate arrest, prosecution of Deborah’s killers

NEWS DIGEST – A coalition of civil society organisations, State of Emergency Gender-based Violence (SEGBV), has demanded the arrest of the killers of Deborah Samuel, a 200-level student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto accused of blasphemy.

In a statement jointly signed by eleven CSOs, the movement said it is horrified at the brutal murder of Deborah.

The signatories include; Invictus Africa, TechHerNG, Yiaga Africa, Dorothy Njemanze Foundation, Connected Development (CODE), Stand To End Rape Initiative, YouthHubAfrica amongst others.

The movement described the actions of Deborah’s killers as  barbaric, despicable, and criminal.

“The Constitution upholds the right to life and mandates all citizens to respect the rights and dignity of others. The Constitution does not recognise blasphemy, and Nigeria’s laws are clear on murder.”

“Any person who feels their right to freedom of religion and belief has been or is being violated is expected by law to seek redress from the courts and not resort to jungle justice. Allowing this injustice by a depraved criminal mob to go without prosecution and punishment will enable anarchy in our system and further shred the fabric of our humanity as Nigerians.”

“We, therefore, call on law enforcement agencies to swiftly apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators, whose faces are identifiable in the now viral gruesome video. We also call for further investigation to identify accomplices in the murder for immediate prosecution. Swift and commensurate justice must be served to deter future occurrences of this heinous crime.”

“This crime was committed within the precinct of an educational institution in a country where girls account for 60% of the nation’s out-of-school children, one of the highest in the world. Without an appropriate response, prosecution and punishment, this incident will exacerbate the insecurity, and lack of safety women and girls in higher institutions already face.”

“We must ensure the security of all lives in our institutions of learning and create a system of accountability between students and the leadership of such institutions.”

“Deborah’s death is one too many amidst the depravity of uncontrolled banditry, kidnapping, insurgency and insecurity ravaging the country. We call on the Federal Government, the National Assembly, the Nigerian Governors Forum, and Nigeria’s security agencies to be loud and unambiguous in their condemnation of this gruesome murder and to guarantee a swift investigation and delivery of justice for Deborah and her loved ones.”