CHRISTIAN LAWYERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA (CLASFON) PRESS STATEMENT ON THE GRUESOME MURDER OF DEBORAH SAMUEL YAKUBU OF SHEHU SHAGARI COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, SOKOTO STATE

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The Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) received with great shock and dismay the news of the gruesome and barbaric killing on Thursday, 12 May 2022 of Deborah Samuel Yakubu, a female 200 Level Home Economics Nigerian Christian student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, Sokoto State, by irate youths including her Muslim student colleagues, for blasphemy allegedly committed by her through WhatsApp communication with her course mates.

It is our considered view that there are adequate laws both substantive and procedural in the Statute books of Sokoto State to deal with the alleged blasphemous conduct of Deborah Samuel Yakubu and it was out of place to resort to jungle justice or self-help contrary to the law of the land. The unlawful and cruel termination of the life of Deborah Samuel Yakubu was a gross violation of her right to life guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the supreme law in Nigeria, as well as relevant international human rights instruments. The right to life is the most important and precious of all human rights and it is incumbent on all to ensure its protection. Life is sacred and Nigerian law does not authorise the unlawful taking of anyone’s life in the circumstances depicted by the gruesome killing of Deborah Samuel Yakubu. It is important to reiterate that the rule of law does not in any way support the criminal acts perpetrated with respect to Deborah Samuel Yakubu.

While we commend the Sultanate Council for its condemnation of the unfortunate incident in its entirety and its appeal to law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators of the acts which resulted in the death of Deborah Samuel Yakubu to justice, we expect all people of goodwill to do the same.

We urge the Nigeria Police Force to ensure they leave no stone unturned to see that justice is served
according to the law of Nigeria in the matter of the gruesome killing of a fellow citizen, Deborah Samuel Yakubu. This is against the background that murder or culpable homicide is a criminal offence in the Federal Republic of Nigeria irrespective of the motive for perpetrating it. The Police as an institution must not allow itself to be cowed by the sponsored protests in Sokoto State or pressured into abdicating its responsibilities to the good people of Nigeria by hoodlums whose only interest is the promotion of anarchy. Justice must be done and must be seen to be done in this case of Deborah Samuel Yakubu. Not only will this send the right message to the international community and all people of goodwill that Nigeria is a country governed by law
and committed to the rule of law but it will also help to build the trust of the average citizen in Nigeria’s fidelity to the rule of law and respect for human life.

We urge religious leaders of all persuasions not to be deterred in performing their bounden duty to educate their followers on the need to be cautious, sensitive, tolerant and to follow legally prescribed processes for the vindication of their rights that are infringed cognisant of their tremendous ability to guide adherents of different faiths in Nigeria’s multi-religious environment.

CLASFON commiserates with the parents, family members, friends and associates of Deborah Samuel Yakubu and the entire Christian community in Nigeria on this sad development. We pray for God’s comfort and strength for them at this very difficult time.

We pray God Almighty to cause His peace that passes all understanding to reign in Nigeria in the most precious Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

DATED THE 15TH DAY OF MAY, 2022

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