The gruesome and barbaric murder of Deborah Emmanuel, a student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto on Thursday by her fellow students speak volumes of the backwardness, zealotry and religious intolerance bedevilling our nation, especially in Northern Nigeria.

Deborah’s offence was an alleged uncomplimentary remark about Prophet Muhammed (SAW) in a class WhatsApp group of supposedly enlightened people in an academic environment like a College of Education. This is unthinkable, bestial and barbaric.

How many of us still remember Christianah Oluwatoyin Oluwasesin, a secondary school teacher who was murdered by her students in Gandu, Gombe state on 21, March 2007?

While supervising an Islamic religious knowledge examination, a student was said to have attempted to enter the exam hall with some textbooks, including a copy of the Koran. Mrs Oluwasesin seized the books and threw them outside the hall. Her students, who accused her of sacrilege by her action killed and cut her into pieces. I’m not sure if she ever got Justice.

Gabriel Akaluka, an Igbo businessman was equally beheaded in Kano by nine Wahabist fundamentalists in 1995 for allegedly desecrating the pages of the Koran and his bodiless head, paraded on the streets of Kano.

When are we going to do away with callousness and bestiality under the guise of extreme religiosity that has no respect for life that only God can give? Why must one fight for a creator who gave life freely to mankind by cutting the same life short to please the giver? Why is this so common in Northern Nigeria than in any other part of the country with the same religion, religious distribution and demographics?

When will religious zealotry and bigotry end in this part of the country given the fact that it is often being joyfully perpetrated by the young and the supposedly educated leaders of tomorrow? What explanation can we give to the bereaved parents of late Christianah that will make them forgive a nation that deceived them with a secular status in words but not in deeds? What is truly wrong with us?

Let the government of Sokoto state and the federal government go beyond the normal rhetoric and theatrics to uncover and punish those heartless religious fundamentalists behind this dastardly act. Or else, it will keep reoccurring, especially in the far north of the country. This is a national shame. Christiana Emmanuel must be served Justice.

  • Austen AKHAGBEME is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online
News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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