Some students of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto State in Nigeria, on Thursday 12th May 2022, lynched a female student identified simply as Deborah, over an allegation of blasphemy against Muhammed, a prophet of the Islamic religion.
The deceased, of the Christian faith, was cruelly stoned to death on the campus and later set ablaze by the angry mob, who was mostly students of the said College.
The deceased, whose details were still sketchy at the time, was seen in a video that has gone viral on social media being brutally attacked until she collapsed, and was subsequently set ablaze.
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She was said to have made “derogatory comments” against the aforementioned prophet, on a WhatsApp platform.
The College authority immediately announced the outright suspension of academic activities and consequent closure of the school, hence ordered students to vacate the campus with immediate effect.
A student of the college identified only by her first name, Jamila, narrated to newsmen how the incident started the previous day being Wednesday 11th May 2022.
She said it all started when someone sent a broadcast message to a WhatsApp group of the students, to which Deborah, the murdered student, belonged.
“It was that kind of message that will ask you to share with other groups if you don’t want evil to befall you.” disclosed Jamila.
But Deborah, now deceased, complained that such messages should not be sent to a WhatsApp group created for the sharing of important information about tests and assignments.
“Send us important information. This group was not created for you to send useless information. It was created for you to send past questions if there is a test or an assignment. It is not for you to send useless information. Which prophet?” Deborah was quoted to have stated this in a voice note she shared to the WhatsApp group.
Ms Jamila further notified that though she later deleted the voice note, other members of the group had already shared it among their friends in the school. It eventually sparked tension among the students on the campus.
It was gathered that when the students tried to mob Deborah, the school’s security men came to her rescue. They also informed the police when the situation started to get out of hand.
But a resident of Bado, the host community of the College, named Ibrahim, said the police couldn’t rescue Deborah as the mob kept hurling stones and objects at the police and the shelter where she was kept.
The shelter, which was originally a cell where the school security locked up thieves caught on the campus, has also been burnt down by the mob.
The above narrative indicates that the officers of the Nigeria Police were allegedly overpowered by the so-called mob, thereby making them seek their safety at the expense of the troubled lady who was eventually lynched.
Since I got the news, I have been trying to fathom the actual facts surrounding the ordeal. How could a group of trained policemen be overpowered by a mob? Does it imply they ran away, leaving the lady behind? Too many questions begging for answers.
What the police personnel ought to have done immediately when they arrived at the scene of the incident, was to move the troubled lady into their patrol vehicle and zoom off to safer ground.
As much as I’m vexed towards the members of the mob, I am angrier at the security personnel who were present at the scene of the incident but couldn’t save the poor lady.
This is reminding me of the case of one 74-year-old Mrs Bridget Agbahime, of Imo State origin, who was gruesomely lynched on Thursday 3rd June 2016 in Kofar Wambai market, still in the Northern part of Nigeria, precisely Kano State, over alleged blasphemy.
Mrs, Agbahime, who was of the Christian faith, alongside her husband, was reportedly attending to customers at the plastic containers market that fateful afternoon when Dauda Ahmed began the trouble that claimed her life, and almost led to the lynching of her husband.
Known as a trouble maker, Ahmed had positioned himself in front of Madam Bridget’s shop, with a kettle filled with water to perform ablution (washing of feet, arm, face and head in preparations for usual Islamic prayer) in front of her shop. Her appeal that he should move elsewhere for the ablution resulted in exchange of words.
Ahmed had later misinformed his muslim brothers that the woman was insulting Prophet Muhammed (the religion’s revered figure), hence chaos ensued. A mob congregated, started chanting Allah Akbar (God is the greatest) as it threatened mayhem.
Efforts made by the leaders of the market to calm the mob, was resisted, as they threw stones at the old woman, beat her silly with dangerous objects. The fanatics were unstoppable as they attacked her husband and the market leader who made appeals to calm them. Eventually, they succeeded in killing the woman. The eventual arrival of the police saved her husband and the market leader.
Till date, absolutely nothing has been heard about the move and efforts of the law enforcement agencies to grant justice to the mobbed septuagenarian. Funnily enough, it was gathered that the law court later freed her suspected killers, Dauda Ahmed and Subeiru Abubakar, among others.
This is how many Nigerians have lost their precious lives on various occasions in different parts of the country, yet nothing is being done by the concerned authorities to grant justice to the victims of the incidents. Who is really deceiving who?