By Gabriel Omonhinmin
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on all adherents of the faith in the country to embark on a one day peaceful protest to ask for justice for Deborah Yakubu Samuel, a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education Sokoto who was gruesomely murdered by extremist Muslims.
Mr. Joseph Daramola, CAN’s General Secretary, in a letter dated 14th May, 2022, addressed to All Block Leaders, Zonal Chairmen, States and Local Coordinators, Denominational and Church leader’s in the country, said the planned protest is scheduled to hold on Sunday, May 22, 2022 simultaneously across the country.
He said the occasion should also be used to pray for Deborah’s family and friends, for peace and unity of the country, victory for the church and for Godly political leaders.
The Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah, has commended Sokoto State Governor Alhaji Aminu Tambuwa and the security agencies for their prompt response to put the ugly development under control.
A Muslim cleric based in Abuja, Abu Jabir Abdullah Penabdul, in his reaction to the incident said: “The role of the scholars and government in preventing bloodshed that might result from blasphemy against the Prophet (SAW) is a major task that must be taken seriously. In doing this, government at all levels and scholars must ensure anything or utterance that will lead to bloodshed is avoided at all times.
“We need government at all levels to criminalize blasphemy because of its apparent negative effect on our drive for peaceful coexistence. “The incessant cases of mob actions across the country over blasphemy could be attributed to the slow nature of our justice system. So government needs to be deliberate in strengthening its justice system so that the masses can have confidence in it.
“The scholars on their part also need to look at a balanced approach on this issue, lest it escalates and lead to many unfortunate events such as the Deborah’s case. “On sensitive issues like blasphemy, I am of the opinion that government should recognize the voice of our scholars who are known to stand for the truth and are elderly.
Their wisdom and experience will help a lot in taking a pragmatic step in this regard. “When there is speed in justice delivery in matters like blasphemy and punishment meted out appropriately, it will reduce jungle justice and help bring about sanity in matters like this.
“People have over the years taken to jungle justice and this has led to more violence rather than solve the problem. This is the main reason why government needs to be deliberate about the issues that trigger mob actions.” Our Shaykh @DrMSaniR_ Lemo has made known his position on this issue. He stated what the government needs to do and the limit the scholars have in controlling mobs.
He said: “As religious representatives we must strive to take hold of our emotions in moments like this because once we lose our emotional balance we can mislead a lot of people.
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It is always better to be calm and calculating in our response. “A sensitive issue as blasphemy against the Prophet SAW is something that government should take seriously. Only government has the instrument to prevent these repeated cases of blasphemy and mob actions.” Rev. Fr. George Barde of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos, in his reaction to Deborah’s death, said
“The problem I have with Christians is that they use their own religion to judge another religion. This explains why they can never understand certain things that happen in this country. “To be honest a typical Muslim knows that blasphemy carries the sentence of execution.
The only issue here is who determines blasphemy? Just anyone? “Islam as a religion is a comprehensive guide on how to do everything and what to believe in life. “It is very detailed about every day life issues including how you copulate etc. When Yerima Bakura Ahmed Sani of Zamfara introduced Sharia mostly Christians shouted but most of his people saw no problem with it. Eventually most northern states have sharia law today.
They like it because it is a direct and fast justice system. When again he decided to marry a young teenager from Egypt people shouted but her parents and his religion permits a minor to be married off. “Actually a family can kill their own child son or daughter who perhaps converts to another religion or marries a non-Muslim.
It is called honour killing. It is rampant in Pakistan. “The Atheist Dadiata was kidnapped for blasphemy and till date we don’t know what has become of him. “What happened to Deborah is very infuriating if you don’t understand the religious sentiment of an average Muslim.
The Qu’ran and hadith of course are his rule of life. No matter what you think and know once it says it then it can be done notwithstanding what you think or feel.
“So many Muslims might be embarrassed and ashamed at what has happened and keeps happening but they know that those people that committed that despicable and horrendous act of murder in the most inexplicable way in this modern world can justify their actions.
“It is difficult for some because they are a minority voice of reason in all of these. Whether it is to abduct and marry a Christian girl by force or demolish a church or revoke land ownership to Christians can be justified. Boko Haram feels more Muslim than all other Muslims and they can justify it.
“I don’t blame anyone but those who have accepted responsibility of office in the name of all of us. We have seen this many times in this country. Tell me the outcome of the investigation.”