Killing of Deborah and Nigeria’s descent into anarchy

Adeze Ojukwu

Another innocent Nigerian, identified as Ms. Deborah Samuel, was on Thursday, clubbed to death, by unscrupulous elements, masquerading, as puritanical crusaders.

She was butchered and lynched, by her mates, right inside the College of Shehu Shagari College of Education(SSCOE), Sokoto.

What a dangerous precedent and an irony, that such a center of learning, has degenerated into a field for human butchery. This crime is in bad taste and a gross violation of the ethos and creed of educational ideals.

Spurious and credulous reasons were given by her accusers. They judged her, and gave her no chance to defend herself.

In a jungle justice style, they murdered her like a common criminal. No one could save her from the fury of the frenzied horde, intoxicated by hatred and rage.

Deborah was exterminated by students, who can best be described, as convoluted vagabonds.

She died, due to the nation’s colossal failure to stamp out religious fundamentalism and its callous incursions.

This gruesome murder, has once again, exposed the failure of government to protect its citizens.

It has also displayed the pernicious state of this quivering union, called Nigeria.

This administration, often boasts of security sophistry and successes over terrorists and criminals.

Many discernible nationals, often disregard these bogus and phony claims, given the widespread violence and escalating unrest across the country.

Indisputably, this sad incident has underscored this fact. The killing of this young lady is a clear indication that government has failed in its primary responsibility to secure lives and properties.

As a result, Nigeria is seriously, dithering on several fronts, over the inability to confront the unprecedented lawlessness, that is fast eroding its existence.

The utter disregard for law and order, along with corruption and faulty judicial systems, have directly or indirectly led to the nation’s comatose status.

Though the circumstances of the heinous action, remain sketchy, the deceased was accused of posting a blasphemous message through WhatsApp.

Another version said, she was killed, because she rejected a romantic proposal from a Muslim, who allegedly organized the murderous squad that terminated her life.

Her demise has thrown the Christian community into mourning.

Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN) expressed great shock, at ‘the manner in which her life was brought to an end,’ but called for peace.

The young lady, was from Tungan Magajiya Rijau Local Government Area(LGA), Niger State. Until her demise, she was a member of ECWA Church, in the LGA.

Deborah had a bright future, as a 200-Level student at the institution’s Department of Home Economics. She did not have to die. But, the merchants of death, gave her no chance to live.

They hurled her to an early grave, by stoning. It is one death too many. Nigerians are angry, and rightly so. Who is next? That is the question being posed by many citizens.

Since the controversial 1914 amalgamation, innocent citizens have continued to die, over flimsy religious and ethnic reasons.

As in most cases, several prominent personalities, notably, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and Governor Aminu Tambuwal, as well as faith-based groups have called for urgent investigations in order to fish out the perpetrators.

But will these transgressors be nabbed and punished. Unfortunately, many Nigerians believe that justice will not be served. If previous offenders were penalized, this madness would not have worsened over several decades.

Recall that in 1994, Gideon Akaluka, a Christian Igbo trader was lynched and beheaded in Kano prison in by Muslims, who invaded his cell.

He was killed by a crowd of 1,000 Muslims, some of whom scaled the fence of Goron Dutse prison.

Haruna Sanusi, who was in charge of the prison then, revealed this a hearing of human rights violations panel.

‘They used a ladder to climb the wall and called him out. They broke the keys of the cell and killed Akaluka in the prison and cut off his head.’

Sadly they were chanting an Arabic refrain Allahu akbar, while killing him and parading his head, along the dusty streets of the city.

Despite the outcry by several Christian groups and international organizations, this carnage has persisted.

The statistics are horrifying. United States(US) Christian, Open Doors, revealed that the number of Christians killed in 2020, increased by 60 percent, mostly because of Islamic violence against Nigerian Christians.

David Curry, Chief Executive of the group said ‘over 2,200 of 4,761 Christians killed, around the world in 2020, died in Nigeria, because of radical Islamists.’

A study by the Association for Catholic Information in Africa (ACI-Africa), a press agency based in Nairobi, Kenya, was equally dreary.

It estimated that ‘3,462 Christians, were killed in the country, in the first 200 days of 2021.’

This means that 17 Christians were murdered, every day in Africa’s most populous country, according to ACI Africa.

No fewer than 10 priests and clerics, were also reportedly murdered, between January 1 and July 18, in the same year.

Another US-based organization, International Christian Concern, in its findings, estimated that ‘50,000 to 70,000 Christians died, in violent attacks in Nigeria over the last 18 years, essentially by Boko Haram terrorists and several arms-wielding gangs.’

Evidently, many citizens, particularly Christian minorities live in palpable fear and despair, due to these incessant attacks.

They carry out their heinous crimes with impunity, because these slayers enjoy the sympathy of the ruling class and security personnel.

This is why these nefarious individuals continue to act so brazenly, as if they have monopoly to violence.

Obviously, religious and political leaders, in the north, have not shown enough commitment toward tackling this malaise.

Ironically, this violence has ravaged many parts of the region, thus making the epicenter of poverty, illiteracy, maternal/child mortalities, drug abuse, youth restiveness, radicalism, poverty and insurgency.

The incessant killings and anachronistic ideological traditions, are clearly driving away investors and development, thus ultimately de-marketing its value and prospects.

The society, must reappraise and jettison obnoxious cultural patterns and beliefs, that undermine the welfare and development of its people.

Unfortunately, successive governments, by their ineptitude, failed to confront this monstrous mayhem, that is destroying the region and steadily threatening the nation’s unity and progress.

The current regime has not exhibited enough courage and commitment towards dealing with this malaise.

Therefore, the Northern elite must lead the fight against these multi-layered woes and afflictions, with all seriousness and sincerity.

The reckless destruction of lives must be tackled with urgency, because the country is fast descending into anarchy, as predicted by many.

The death of Deborah should prod government to find the good will to stop this looming descent.

Not doing so would be most destructive and disastrous for the nation, that is already bedevilled by humongous socio-economic and political crises.

• Ojukwu, is an award winning journalist, publisher and fellow of USA-sponsored Hubert H Humphrey Fellowship, under the Fulbright Scholarship. She wrote this tribute in honour of late Deborah Emmanuel and other victims of religious extremism in Nigeria and the world.

The publication is, part of her contributions to the global campaign against religious violence and terrorism. Please kindly send feedback to [email protected]

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