Two suspects in last Thursday’s gruesome murder of Late Miss Deborah Yakubu Samuel, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunchi, are to remain in the custody of the Sokoto Correction Centre, until a Magistrate Court in Sokoto fixes a date to hear their bail application.
This has led to fears concerning the safety of the Correction Centre and the inmates within, following Saturdays peaceful demonstration that turned violent.
The fears come as organisations continue to condemn the attack. The latest condemnation comes from the Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation.
The Police arraigned the two suspects, amid speculations that the action followed threats from some groups, and to obey the law that requires speedy charging of suspects to court.
The suspects, who are also students of the college, according to the Police First Information Report, were arraigned as a result of the mob action which led to the lynching of the student.
After the suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges, the police prosecutor, Inspector Khalil Musa, urged the court to fix another date to enable the police complete their investigation.
However, the defence team led by Professor Mansur Ibrahim, who did not oppose the application, pleaded with the court to grant the defendants bail, citing sections 157, 161(a,f) and 164 of the administration of criminal justice law of Sokoto state, as well as 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Meanwhile, the Gideon & Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation has deplored and condemned the horrendous murder of Deborah.
The statement from the Foundation reads further: “The killers, some of who were allgedly her fellow students, took it upon themselves to stone and then burn her alive, for alleged blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad. We condemn this criminal act of injustice done to Deborah by its perpetuators and any who aided and assisted in planning this latest affront to humanity in Nigeria, those who stood by and failed to help Deborah, those who encouraged the killers, and anyone who may have incited them.
“Deborah had a right to life; she had a right to live that life with dignity and to fulfil her human potential. Instead, this young woman’s life has been cut short, and in monstrous circumstances. All those dreams and hopes for the future, destroyed in a few moments of profound evil. How is it that our young people behaved in this way? They clearly think they can do what they want and will get away with it. We wish to extend our profound condolences and sympathy to her family and friends who are mourning the loss and the horrific circumstances of her murder. We are all pained.
“We see this wicked act as having been facilitated by successive governments failing to respond effectively to religious extremism and violence. This impunity has gone on for too long. This is one too many and collective action is required, not rhetoric. Nigeria, under many regional and international treaties, is legally bound to protect its population from violence, abduction, abuse and other ill-treatment. There is an urgent need to adopt effective measures for the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and punishment of such abuses. The tragedy of Deborah, like the tragedy of Leah Sharibu (still in captivity) and countless others, killed or abused because of their religion, confirms how successive Nigerian governments have reneged on their international obligations. It is time to move beyond rhetoric to action. It is as simple as that. Nigerian leaders need to act to redeem this country.
“This dastardly act must be thoroughly investigated, prosecuted and punished. All those involved, from the killers to their accomplices to any who may have incited them, must be held to account. We and many others here and abroad will be closely scrutinising the actions of the Sokoto State and its criminal justice system. In addition, we anticipate that the Federal Government will monitor the process to ensure compliance with the rule of law on this matter. The Nigerian government also needs to face up to its responsibilities of protecting its citizens from the violence that is engulfing this once beautiful and peaceful nation now turning ugly in the name of religion! How can we remain passive over such basic matters of life as a nation?
“The murder of Deborah Emmanuel is a defining moment in our collective history. This is not the Nigeria that we love and cherish. The Para-Mallam Peace Foundation calls for calm and restraint. While demanding fundamental changes and holding the government and the perpetrators to account, Nigerians must pursue the paths of peace and justice. We commend those Islamic scholars and leaders especially the Sultan of Sokoto, whose voice is respected within the Muslim community in Nigeria, who have already spoken up against this perverse action as being plain and simple criminality, and who have appealed for calm. We welcome those Muslim voices who are speaking up against this evil. We must all act in a way that keeps this situation from spiralling out of control. JUNGLE JUSTICE IN THE NAME OF RELIGION MUST STOP!!! “