On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto state, by the name Miss Deborah Samuel Yakubu was gruesomely lynched by her colleagues over alleged blasphemy.
This act infuriated a lot of Nigerians who strongly condemned the act and demanded justice for Deborah. Amnesty International (AI), the Christian Association Of Nigeria (CAN), and the human rights writers association of Nigeria (HURIWA) all condemned the dastardly act.
President Muhammadu Buhari also ordered that there should be a probe into the incident to ensure that those responsible for Deborah’s death are seriously punished. CAN youth wing (YOWICAN) on the other hand did not fail to write a petition to the inspector general of police (IGP), Usman Baba Alkali, urging him to commence an investigation into Deborah’s death.
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Currently in Nigeria, the death of Deborah is still a trending issue that has caused a lot of arguments and rifts among netizens. Such callous acts can only be carried out by barbarians who have no regard for human lives, yet they claim that it doesn’t go contrary to their religion.
Putting religion aside, those who killed Deborah, went against the country’s constitution by unlawfully killing a life. Enshrined in the constitution, every person in Nigeria has a right to life. People cannot be killed except in four (4) extreme circumstances provided by the Constitution of Nigeria.
- Where there is a valid order of the court in respect of a criminal case, ordering that a convict be executed.
- When a person is killed by another person in self-defense.
- Where a person is killed during a lawful arrest or in the process to prevent the escape of a lawfully detained person.
- Where a person is killed from a reasonable and necessary force applied by the law enforcement agencies to suppress riot, insurrection, or mutiny, it may be lawful killing.
Looking at all these laws aforementioned as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution, there is nowhere it states that a citizen has the right to kill another over blasphemy. This signifies that those responsible for the death of Deborah have committed a serious punishable offense under the law.
Also, a look at the religious side of their actions, the Muslim media practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) and Muslim rights concern (MURIC) stated that such an act was anti-Islam, also stressing that it is a criminal offense in the shariah of Islam for any group to take laws into their hands. Where then do these mischievous beings get the doctrine that permits one to be killed over blasphemy? One can only ask.
Why Strict Punishment Should Be Meted Out To The Offenders
There have been condemnations from different groups and also the presidency, frowning at such a dastardly act. Why is it good that they have condemned such acts? However, It is not enough, as strict actions must be carried out against those individuals responsible. The government should ensure that the law takes its full course without any interference from any person or body.
These offenders should be treated according to what the law demands without enjoying any privilege from authorities, ensuring that they are seriously dealt with to serve as a deterrent to those who will want to emulate such callous acts.
Punishing the offenders I believe will reduce such useless killings over blasphemy, because others who have the same ideology, will have it at the back of their minds that such an act is not only inhumane but also a punishable offense. The government must ensure that there is no delay in executing proper punishment on the culprits which should be made visible for everyone to see. They must understand that justice delayed is justice denied.
If according to the law their punishment requires death by hanging or life imprisonment, the government should not hesitate to execute it immediately. The matter should not be swept under the carpet, because this country has a track record of sweeping cases under the carpet which has caused a lot of problems.
Presently in Nigeria, as a result of the failure of the government and security agencies to punish various offenders for carrying out different dastardly acts, such callousness has given birth to terrorism and banditry, because as long as the state fails to bring such criminals to book, the society will continue to suffer from their actions.
This implies that the government should use these culprits as a scapegoat, to send warnings to others who might want to replicate such. Failure of the government to do that will only encourage such killings, which can result in war if care is not taken. This Deborah tragedy must be used as a cue to put a permanent stop to faith-induced murder in our land.