The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has flayed the killing of Deborah Emmanuel, a female student of Shehu Shagari College of Education even as it has tasked the Sokoto State government to file charges that truly reflect the gravity of the situation on suspects.
Its chairman, Olumide Akpata, in a statement, yesterday, said there were suggestions that suspects apprehended on her murder were charged for trivial offences.
“We are, however, worried by yet-to-be-confirmed reports reaching us that the suspects have been charged with mere breach of public peace in an episode that cut short Deborah’s life in her prime. The NBA is strongly opposed to a banalisation of the situation, and if these reports are true, then we call on the Sokoto State government to immediately rethink its prosecution strategy and file charges that truly reflect the gravity of the situation.
“While the expectation of Nigerians and the international community is that the culprits should be brought to justice speedily for the appropriate offences, the demand for the release of the suspects by some protesting youths coupled with assault on innocent citizens, burning of worship centres and destruction of property has added an entirely new and worrisome dimension to the unfortunate incident. This is clearly a test of the will of the state to fully enforce its laws and foster rule of law.”
Akpata announced that the NBA has postponed indefinitely its Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) Conference scheduled for Sokoto between May 22 and 26, because of the lynching of Deborah.
He said the postponement was not only for the safety of the conferees and guests in the wake of the volatile security situation in the state, but also as a mark of respect for the memory of the dead student.