This week, Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level student of Home Economics at the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, was stoned and burnt to death in northwestern Nigeria.
The incident reportedly occurred on Thursday, May 12, 2022.
The mob of Muslim youth encircled her, cussed her, hurled stones at her, beat her with cudgels and set her ablaze with tyres.
They bayed for her blood and got it.
A video of the lynching has been making the rounds on social media.
Deborah’s offence? She had asked her course mates to desist from posting religious information in a WhatsApp group that was strictly for academic notices.
According to a translation provided by Chiemelie Edochie, Deborah had posted a voice note on the WhatsApp group with the words: “Holy Ghost fire!! Nothing would happen to me. Is it by force? You guys would always be sending these religious stuff in the group. The group wasn’t created for that, but rather as a forum for notices on when there’s a test, assignment, exams etc. Not these nonsense religious posts.”
Another source tells The Guardian newspaper that Deborah “was having an argument with some of her schoolmates over their ongoing examination and when she was asked how she managed to pass her exams, she said it was Jesus.
“She was asked to withdraw the statement and apologise, which she refused.
“The school security intervened, took her to their post, but they were overpowered by students, after which she was killed in the process.
“After killing her, her remains was set ablaze and burnt beyond recognition in the school premises.”
Condemnation, school closure and deleted social media posts
Authorities of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, have since shut down the institution in the wake of Deborah’s murder.
“Following today’s early morning students rampage in the College, the College Management has resolved to close down the College indefinitely with immediate effect.
“Consequently, all students are hereby directed to vacate the College campus immediately,” the school ordered in a statement.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Saad Abubakar, has described the incident as “unfortunate,” while calling on residents of the state to remain calm.
The Sultan has also “urged security agencies to bring perpetrators of the unjustifiable incident to justice.”
Presidential aspirant and former Nigeria Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who took to his social media pages to condemn the incident, had to hurriedly delete his posts after he was threatened with losing votes in the north as a consequence.
Atiku had tweeted that: “There cannot be a justification for such gruesome murder. Deborah Yakubu was murdered and all those behind her death must be brought to justice. My condolences to her family and friends.”
Atiku soon scrubbed the posts off his Facebook and Twitter pages after a horde of Muslim youth descended on him and threatened to scuttle his bid for the presidency.
Nigeria is constitutionally a secular state, with a predominantly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south. Killings and beheadings in the arid north for blasphemy, have been common occurrences throughout the nation’s history.