The largest grouping of Christian churches in Nigeria denounced the death of a female student who was assaulted and burned for supposed blasphemy and requested that the perpetrators be brought to justice.
Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the death of Deborah Samuel, who was accused by fellow students of making blasphemous words about the Prophet Muhammad in a Whatsapp group.
Nigeria is nearly equally divided between the predominantly Christian south and the predominantly Muslim north, where several states have implemented stringent sharia laws, including the death penalty for blasphemy.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), whose members include Catholic, Anglican, and Methodist churches as well as indigenous churches, stated that those guilty for the murder of Samuel in the state of Sokoto in the country’s northwestern region should be prosecuted.
Joseph Daramola, general secretary of the CAN, stated, “The unlawful and despicable deed of the criminals must not only be condemned by all right-thinking people, but the security agents must hunt them down and prosecute them as expected.”
According to witnesses, school security and police attempted to rescue the victim, but were overpowered by students.
In a statement, President Muhammadu Buhari called for an impartial investigation and criticised individuals who took the law into their own hands.
“Violence has never solved a problem and never will,” he remarked.
Due to the religious and political sensitivity of the situation, former vice president and presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, a Muslim, removed his condemnation of the incident from Twitter.
Next year, Nigerians will go to the polls to elect a new president, governors, and legislators. Abubakar is vying for the opposition’s presidential nomination for the sixth time.