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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

My heart goes to the family of Deborah Samuel

My heart goes to the family of Deborah Samuel,  a female student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto. Extremists murdered her brutally to defend the ethics of the Islamic religion. May she find everlasting peace with the Lord. Amen.

The way they killed Deborah is wrong, cannot be justified and should have no place in modern-day settings. I, therefore, align myself with what President Muhammadu Buhari said, “Muslims across the globe demand respect for the Holy Prophets, including Isah (Alaihissalaam, Jesus Christ) and Muhammad (SAW), but that when violations occur, the law prohibits anybody from intervening.” For example, instead of beating people to death in the name of blasphemy and subsequently cremating them as they did to Deborah, they could approach the Nigerian Police, Shariah Hisbahs, and the Islamic sectarian police for intervention.

The murder of Deborah Samuel is one killing too many. Deborah’s bloodshed adds to our dear country’s overflowing blood-soaked geographical spaces. How could one ever rationalize the stoning, clubbing, and beating to death of a harmless young girl in her twenties, had a tire laced around her neck and cremated by people believed to be defending Islam and condemning the derogatory comments on prophet Muhammad S.A.W?

How did we get to a level where people kill humans like chickens without blinking? Despite how Deborah was lynched and killed, I find it shocking and unthinkable that there are pockets of people justifying the action of those who perpetrated the act. I have read comments from those who could quickly have passed as educated, seemingly worse than so many illiterates.

A segment of the youths in Sokoto also mobilized to target the ECWA and Catholic properties for destruction. Can anybody explain the nexus between the arrest of some of those who killed Deborah and the threat to cause further destruction of lives and properties? But for the intervention of the Governor and the law enforcement agents, it would have been horrendous.

What is happening in our socio-religious spaces calls for a complete reorientation of the younger generation and a paradigm shift. In this appeal to preachers, let them dissect what the Holy Scriptures say about loving God with all our hearts and loving our neighbors. They should also please align the younger generation with modern-day realities of using religion to build and not destroy. One of the reasons the United Arab Emirates has become a great tourist destination and attraction is religious tolerance and obedience to the rule of law.

Christians should please be encouraged that the blood of Deborah will bring about a turnaround in the way those with the poverty of the mind turn Quranic injunctions upside down. I have reached this conclusion because of the outpouring of love, expressing emotions, and outrage among the Muslim faithful to Christians and the family of Deborah. 

The Spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria and Head of the Sultanate Council of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’idu Mohammadu Maccido, condemned the killing and demanded Justice for Deborah by asking the perpetrators to be brought to book. The Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), described the dastardly incident as outrageous, illegal, and unlawful. It also appealed to the authorities to bring those involved to justice.

The Nasrul-Lahi-l-Fatih Society (NASFAT) also condemned the extra-judicial killing and was categorical in saying that such an act is alien to Islam, which means Islam abhors jungle justice

Irrespective of these laudable steps and pronouncements, I urge Islamic spiritual leaders and authorities to commence massive reorientation campaigns on the need to stop using blasphemy to spill blood. They should reorientate adherents to stop taking laws into their hands.

To us Christians, we should be cautious in what we share on WhatsApp and online social media platforms because such platforms house the informed and the uninformed.  

The informed could process information and use it for the people’s good. The uninformed could use that same information to destroy the people. So, for us Christians, preachers of the gospel across the length and breadth of this country should counsel their congregants to be sensitive to what other religions find pricey. They should also be taught to apply wisdom in communicating their feelings on social media because wisdom profits and is usually more pricey than ornaments.

The killing of Deborah has demonstrated that we need a religious rebirth to use religion as a development tool. The time for that rebirth is now

Once again, good night Deborah. Grace and peace!!!

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