AFP
Wire Service
2 minute read
20 May 2022
10:45 pm

Nigeria city lifts curfew after blasphemy killing

AFP

Blasphemy is especially sensitive in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, which is almost equally divided between the mostly Christian south and predominantly Muslim north.

(Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Nigeria’s northwestern city of Sokoto on Friday lifted a round-the-clock curfew imposed after the killing of a Christian student accused of blasphemy sparked unrest.

Deborah Samuel, a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, was stoned to death and her body burnt last week by a group of Muslim students after she made a post on social media they deemed insulted Prophet Muhammad.

Blasphemy is especially sensitive in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, which is almost equally divided between the mostly Christian south and predominantly Muslim north.

The stoning drew outrage with calls for her killers to face justice. The police said they arrested two men suspected of taking part in the murder.

A day later, hundreds went on the rampage in the mainly Muslim city demanding the suspects be released, lighting bonfires and destroying businesses, leading to running battles with soldiers and policemen.

Authorities imposed 24-hour curfew on the city to quell the riots.

“The Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal… has after due consultations, lifted the curfew imposed on Sokoto metropolis with immediate effect,” Isah Bajini Galadanci, Sokoto state information commissioner said in a statement.

“The Governor has urged the general public to be law abiding and remain peaceful at all times stressing the need for peaceful co-existence amongst the people in the State.”

The governor has banned public processions throughout the state to sustain peace, he said.

On Monday the two suspects were arraigned in court where they pleaded not guilty to the charge of manslaughter, according to court staff.

The judge ordered they be remanded in prison pending a ruling on their bail application at a later date, the sources said.

Blasphemy in Islam attracts death penalty under the Muslim Sharia law which operates alongside common law in Nigeria.