From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has expressed anger over the gruesome murder of Deborah Samuel Yakubu insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari must rise up and stop the country’s journey to a religious crisis that has the potential of disintegration.
Deborah, a 200 level Home Economics female student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, was hacked down at the school premises, by blood thirsty Islamic fundamentalist on May 12 over alleged blasphemy.
Her gruesome murder has since triggered global condemnation in a manner that has tested our ability to remain united under a secular system.
In a statement in Abuja on Monday, the Middle Belt Forum blamed her death to Government’s inability or refusal to bring perpetrators to justice over previous killings of citizens by religious mobs.
National President of the forum, Dr. Pogu Bitrus who signed the statement noted that the murder of Deborah further portrays the growing intolerance of religious issues in the North.
The group has therefore, called on Security forces to ensure that justice comes the way of Deborah whose barbaric killing has sent waves of crippling shocks throughout the world.
The MBF said “the manner this case is handled will signal if the government is indeed serious in tackling religiously related crisis in the North threatening the corporate existence of the nation.”
As a country governed by laws, there cannot be any justification in the killing without following due process. Even in Islamic nations, there are processes for determining what constitutes blasphemy. When a mob simply puts to death someone they accuse of blasphemy; such an act amounts to criminality that has been encouraged by the state’s incapacity in bringing to book killers of people alleged to have committed blasphemy in the past.
To demonstrate the fact that those who are engaged in killing Nigerians on account of alleged blasphemy enjoy overwhelming support, youths at the weekend poured into the streets of Sokoto demanding the release of suspects detained by the police over the killing of Deborah. While churches came under attacks, with looting and destruction unleashed by these youths, the Sokoto incident reveals the dour reality that our ability to remain united under a secular system is being tested
The present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari must not equivocate on this matter that is leading to rising tension in the country and global outrage. As the umbrella organisation for all ethnic nationalities in the Middle Belt, the President must rise up and stop Nigeria’s journey to a religious crisis that has the potential of disintegration. Considering the activities of those who looted and wreaked violence on Sokoto in the guise of demanding for the release of suspects, it is now clear that criminals were responsible for the death of Deborah. No effort should be spared in bringing them to justice, ” the statement reads.