• Demand sack of Interior Minister, National Security Adviser
• Enough of this act of violence by Muslim youths – National Laity Council
The Order of the Knights of St. Mulumba (KSM) Nigeria has charged the Federal Government to revamp the security architecture of the country in the wake of the gruesome murder of Miss Deborah Yakubu Samuel penultimate Thursday. The Knights condemned in very strong terms the brutal killing of the 200-Level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto and vandalisation of the properties of the Catholic Church in Sokoto by some irate Muslim students, describing the violent acts as unacceptable. On May 12, Deborah was attacked by a mob and set ablaze over comments purportedly considered to be an insult to Prophet Muhammad.
A video of the student being stoned and beaten with sticks was shared on social media. The incident sparked outrage and condemnation across the country and the police command in Sokoto subsequently arrested two suspects in connection with the killing. On Saturday, some Muslim youths protested against the arrest of the two suspects, which led to unrest in Sokoto with attack on Christians and their properties. They said, “The Knights and Ladies of the Catholic Order of Knights of St. Mulumba, Nigeria, hereby condemn in totality the gruesome murder of a student, Deborah Yakubu by some violent Islamic extremists on Thursday, 12 May 2022, at the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto.
“The Order is dismayed and strongly condemns the follow up targeted and unprovoked attacks and vandalism on the Catholic Church by same group protesting the arrest of the barbaric murderers.” KSM, Nigeria moaned over “the destruction, vandalism, and carnage visited on the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral and the Bishop Lawton Secretariat on Ahmadu Bello way; the St. Kelvin’s Catholic Church and the New Hospital Complex under construction within the same premises, along the Eastern By-Pass; the Bakhita Centre on Aliyu Jodi road; and two community buses razed down.” Commiserating with Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, the Order acknowledged the swift condemnation of the dastardly acts by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III and his call for the security agencies to bring the perpetrators of the unjustifiable incident to book.
In a statement signed by Sir (Dr.) Charles Mbelede, Supreme Knight, Knights of St. Mulumba Nigeria, entitled “Unacceptable Acts of Violent Extremism on Christians and the Catholic Church by Islamic Extremists in Northern Nigeria,” made available to The Catholic Herald, KSM, further tasked the Federal Government to go beyond condemning the act and ensure the perpetrators of the horrific act as well as the destruction of the Catholic Church properties are brought to book. The Order called on the Federal Government to relieve Babangana Monguno, National Security Adviser and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior of their duties amid other recommendations to providing lasting solutions to the worsening insecurity in the country and expedite action on the investigation of the murder of Deborah Samuel.
KSM statement read in part, “The Order calls on the Federal Government to move beyond mere condemnation to activate the following recommendations: “Appoint a new Minister of Interior and the National Security Adviser with better efficient hands to commence the recovery of Homeland Security in Nigeria. “Overhaul the leadership of the national security architecture to reflect Federal Character with close sectarian balance with emphasis on excellence to arrest the seeming complicity in the security challenges by these agencies. “Commence immediate prosecution of the arrested culprits over the murder of Deborah Yakubu, and the carnage and vandalism of the properties of the Catholic Church in Sokoto and any other affected persons and property. “And institute a judicial commission of inquiry into the murder of Deborah Yakubu Samuel, the carnage and vandalism of the Churches property and all and any others affected in the Sokoto incident, with the view to preventing a recurrence; bringing to book all culprits, and appropriate compensation by government.”
Following the arrest of two suspects by the police in connection with the murder of Deborah Samuel, some Muslim youths staged a violent protest in Sokoto, demanding their release. In a statement penultimate Saturday signed by Rev. Fr. Christopher Omotosho, Director of social Communications, the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, the protesters attacked the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral at Ahmadu Bello Way, destroying Church glass windows, those of the Bishop Lawton Secretariat and vandalised a community bus parked within the premises. According to Fr. Omotosho, St. Kevin’s Catholic Church Gidan Dere, Eastern By-Pass, was also attacked and partly burnt; windows of the new hospital complex under construction, in the same premises were shattered before the protesters were promptly dispersed by a team of mobile Policemen. “The hoodlums also attacked the Bakhita Centre located along Aliyu Jodi Road and burnt down a bus within the premises,” the Sokoto Diocese’s statement added.
The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Most Rev. (Dr.) Matthew Kukah however commended the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal for “acting promptly” by declaring the 24-hour curfew to stem the protests. He also commended the security forces for “promptly rising” to the occasion to prevent further damage at Churches’ facilities, while informing that no life was lost. The Bishop urged Christians to remain law abiding and pray for the return of normalcy. In a related development, the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, the umbrella body of all laity at Parish, Deanery, Diocesan and Provincial levels has expressed concern about the killing of Miss Deborah Samuel for alleged blasphemy. The Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria in a statement signed by its National President, Hon. (Sir) Henry H. Yunkwap KSJI, JP, maintained that the dastardly act must not be tolerated.
The National Council called on the Federal and Sokoto State governments to bring the perpetrators to book. “There cannot be a justification whatsoever for the murder of Miss Deborah Samuel therefore, we call on the Federal and Sokoto State Governments to as a matter of urgency and for the unity of our dear country to go beyond just condemning the act and ensure that all those involved in her killing are arrested and punished according to the laws of the land. “We want to remind the Federal Government that this is not the first time such barbaric act is taking place in the country all in the name of religion and the reason we are witnessing same now is because the expected action to serve as deterrent was never taken as the perpetrators were often left to go scot-free.
“Enough of this act of violence and insensitive behaviour of our Muslim youths. God remains powerful and can never be represented by any mortal called human being. Our religious leaders must preach that always as no human being can take life he never created no matter the circumstances. “ “We want to note here that nobody has the monopoly of violence as such our youths must not be allowed to be used as agents of destruction under any religious guise. We, therefore, call on Christians to remain calm and resolute in leaving the faith, especially in a time like this as emphasised by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Most Rev. Matthew Kuka in his press statement. “As citizens, we must always note that this is the only country we have and that religion was meant to unite us therefore, we must do all it takes to make it habitable for everybody to live in irrespective of his or her religion and the geographical location. “While we commend the pro-activeness of the Sokoto State government and the security agents for arresting two persons, we state here that the number of those arrested is not enough considering the number of those that took part in the act as seen in some videos that went viral.
“As we condemn in strong terms this senseless and barbaric way of life, we will like to use this medium to condole with the family of late Deborah Samuel for God to grant them the fortitude to bear the lost and for God to bless her soul with eternal rest. Amen. “ The remains of Deborah Samuel have been laid to rest in Rijau town, Rijau Local Government Area of Niger State. The Police command in Sokoto on Monday arraigned Aliyu and Hukunci over the alleged participation in the murder of the female student. The court proceedings have commenced and ongoing. No fewer than 34 lawyers were on the defense team of the two suspects.