Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) and Kaduna-based Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, yesterday, joined the growing number of groups and individuals that have condemned last Thursday’s mob killing of Deborah Samuel, a student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, for alleged blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed. Chairman of the forum and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, in a statement signed by his media aid, Macham Makut, said the governors were concerned about the development, which they described as clearly an extra-judicial measure of addressing perceived infraction.
The statement came as Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, said Nigerians should not succumb to the machinations of the evil ones by halting the pursuit of brotherhood and peaceful coexistence.
In its own reaction, the umbrella organisation of all Christians in Northern Nigeria at the weekend condemned what it described as gruesome and barbaric murder of Deborah. In a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, Chaplain Jechonia Gilbert, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 northern states urged “all Christian leaders to terminate their participation in Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC)” until Islamic leaders demonstrate genuine commitment to controlling and disciplining their unruly followers.
However, over 72 hours after the cold-blooded murder in Sokoto, frontline aspirants in the 2023 presidential race were yet to comment on the incident. All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader and former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu; immediate past Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi; former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello; Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike; and Pastor Tunde Bakare had yet to comment at the time of filing this report.
The Sokoto incident, which has created religious tension, has effectively dashed any hope of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the current political climate, as some would have wanted. analysts have pointed
But Nigeria’s domestic carrier, Azman Air, disowned a pilot, Capt Jamil Abubakar, who expressed support for the killing of the late Deborah. Abubakar came under fire for a statement he made via his Twitter handle, defending the killing of Deborah.
In a tweet from its verified Twitter handle, #LetsFlyAzmanAir, Azman Air stated, “Capt Jamil Abubakar is no longer a pilot @AzmanAir: his last flight with us was 22nd Dec 2019. We refuse to take responsibility for a comment or view of a former staff. The general public should kindly take note.”
In a move to avert a major religious crisis over the killing of the 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, the state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, had at the weekend declared a 24-hour curfew in Sokoto metropolis.
The curfew came as the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan-Kukah, suspended all masses in Sokoto metropolis, but clarified that his residence was not attacked.
The remains of Deborah were at the weekend laid to rest in her home town, Tunga Magajiya, in Rijau Local Government Area of Niger State.