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Nigeria: Tension Envelope Sokoto As Protesters Demand Release Of Suspects Who Lynched, Burned Deborah Samuel Over Alleged ‘Blasphemy’

Tension enveloped parts of Sokoto State on Saturday as protesters trooped to the streets to protest over the arrest of suspects involved in Thursday’s lynching and burning of Deborah Samuel, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, over alleged blasphemy.

The protesters took over parts of the State especially the capital, Sokoto, wielding placards with inscriptions such as, “Release our Muslim brothers,” Muslims Are Not Terrorists,” among others.

Ahead of the protest, security personnel were stationed at strategic places, including the Sultan of Sokoto Palace.

Commenting on social media, one Jefiter John, asked residents to stay indoors and avoid areas where the protesters were.

Another social media user asked the government to declare curfew for peace to reign.

Deborah Samuel was on Thursday said to have made a comment in her school’s WhatsApp platform which her Muslim colleagues considered blasphemous of Prophet Mohammed (SAW) and lynched her before setting her corpse ablaze.

Rakia, one of Doborah’s friends and course mate who witnessed her gruesome killing explained what transpired before her death: “It was her own course mates 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 course mates. 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 test, assignment, exam, etc, not this nonsense religious posts.'”

Rakia continued: “We were made to understand that some young men were brought from outside before the outrage. I was in class when some of our course mates rushed in, saying ‘there is fire on the mountain o’.

“The Muslim students led the strangers to the class to look for her. In fear, those in the class tried to help her escape and took her to the security post from where they hoped to create a way for her to run outside Already, a cab was waiting outside to drive her straight to the police station. Unfortunately, the mob overpowered everyone who tried to save her. They even threatened to kill anyone who attempted to stand in their way.

“She was dragged out, flogged and stoned. The last word in her mouth was ‘what do you hope to achieve with this?’ By then some of our course mates were making calls to some of our lecturers to save the situation. At a point, all the Christian students fled the school premises. 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.”

Governor Aminu Tambuwal met with religious leaders on Friday to douse tension.

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