Following tension occasioned by protests by Muslim youths in Sokoto over the arrest of two persons allegedly involved in the killing and burning of a student in the Sokoto College of Education, the State Government has imposed a 24-curfew to prevent any possible breakdown of law and order.
The palpable tension in Sokoto continues as the body of the slain student, Ms Deborah Yakubu Samuel, was laid to rest in her hometown, Tunga Magajiya, Rijau Local Government Area of Niger State, amidst wailing, and anger by youths of the town who felt the Sokoto Government should have organised the burial. Ms. Samuel was buried at about 6.30 p.m. this Saturday.
Meanwhile, there were reports of many Sokoto residents keeping indoors for fear of being attacked.
A resident told Everyday.ng that he ran into the protesters as they were around the palace of the Sultan of Sokoto, Sultan Mohammed Abubakar Sa’ad.
“They were hurling insults at him and throwing stones at the palace because, according to them, he shouldn’t have called for the arrest of those who killed the student, Deborah Yakubu Samuel.
Ms. Samuel, a 200 level student of Home Economics was stoned to death and burnt on Thursday for allegedly making blasphemous remarks about Prophet Mohammed.
“When I saw what was going on, just like everyone else, I navigated my way back home and stayed indoors. There is tension everywhere.
“There are speculations that there was an attempt to torch the Catholic Church in the city, while security men were moved to the residence of the Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, just as they guarded the Sultan’s Palace. Pray for us.”
Governor Aminu Tambuwal announced the curfew in Sokoto in response to the protest by youths against some arrest by the Nigeria Police.
Spokesman to Tambuwal, Muhammad Bello, said the governor gave the directive “in pursuance of peace and order in Sokoto metropolis and the entire state.”
Tambuwal called on the residents to remain calm and avoid anything that could breach law and order in the state.
A peaceful protest by youths to demand release of suspects arrested in connection with killing of Deborah turned to violent.
The protesting youths demanded the immediate release of some students arrested in connection with the murder of the student.
The youth from different parts of Sokoto took to the streets and strategic places such as Sokoto Government House and Sultan’s Palace.
Witnesses said the protesters moved on the streets of Sokoto chanting “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar” (God is great, God is great!) with placards conveying similar messages.
A combined team of security operatives including soldiers from the 8 Division, Police, DSS, and NSCDC were closely monitoring the protest to prevent any possible breakdown of law and order.
In Kaduna State Government in a pre-emptive measure, to forestall a breakdown of law and order banned protests there.
A statement by the State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, said
violators of the government order will be prosecuted
The statement reads in full: “The Kaduna State Government, in consultation with security agencies under the umbrella of the Kaduna State Security Council, has placed a ban on protests related to religious activity throughout the State with immediate effect.
“This prohibition becomes imperative in view of moves by some unpatriotic elements to organize series of for-and-against protests related to a security development in one of the Northern Nigerian States.
“Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai who has been briefed of the development, has charged security agencies to ensure strict enforcement of this ban against any form of religious protest in the State.
“The Governor also charged religious leaders, community leaders and traditional rulers throughout the State to complement the efforts of government and security agencies towards the maintenance of peace and stability.
“Security agencies have thus resolved that any attempt by individuals or groups to disrupt the peace and stability of the State, by way of religious protests, will not be condoned. Such protests will be promptly halted, and conveners prosecuted.
“Citizens are implored to remain calm as they go about their lawful pursuits, and to immediately report any such activity or security concern to the Kaduna State Security Operations Room, on 09034000060 and 08170189999.”
Meanwhile, the family of the murdered student concluded arrangements to bury her, even as the Sokoto State Government was said to be making overtures to stop the immediate interment, due to ongoing investigations.
According to a report in The Nation, Deborah’s mother is said to be unconscious since hearing of her death while the father has been inconsolable.
The Nation learnt that when the body was on its way to Niger State, the Sokoto State Government called it should be returned as body has become government property.
But her family insisted she would be buried today.
Speaking to The Nation, Pastor of the family, who is in charge of 1st ECWA in Tunga Magajiya, Pastor Emmanuel Maaji, confirmed the family wants her buried on Saturday.
He said the family is not happy with the way the government is handling the issue with kid gloves.
He disclosed that the body of Deborah was brought in a chartered bus, adding that immediately after the driver dropped the body, he returned to Sokoto.
He said that Deborah had been living with family members in Sokoto since her primary school days, lamenting she died like she did.
“The government only called and said that it is not right for the family to take the body like that without informing them. They said that they shouldn’t bury the body as the body is for the government and not for the family. They asked them to put the body in the mortuary,” Maaji stated.
The brother of Deborah’s father said that he will speak to The Nation later as they are planning the burial and holding meetings.
The CAN Coordinator of Rijau Local Government area, Reverend Danjuma Doma, confirmed the family and church were preparing for the burial.
“We are preparing for the burial. She will be buried today. We are all here to give the family support. We will update you on the situation as it goes,” he informed