Blasphemy: Archbishop of Canterbury, OPC condemn Deborah’s lynching

Deborah Samuel

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has condemned the lynching of a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Deborah Samuel Yakubu, killed on the school premises in Sokoto for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammad.

Welby, who is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury, said this in a series of tweets late on Wednesday.

The revered cleric said it was disappointing that people were still killing in the name of God.

He, therefore, called on the Nigerian to ensure that religious rights are protected.

Welby stated, “I strongly condemn the appalling stoning to death of a Christian woman in Sokoto, Nigeria. This violence is a sin against God. I pray for the family and loved ones of Deborah Samuel, and I continue to pray fervently for the nation of Nigeria.

“I have spent much time in northern Nigeria working with others in pursuit of reconciliation and interfaith dialogue. I am profoundly disappointed and grieved that such violence still takes place in God’s name.

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“I’m grateful for those Nigerian Muslim leaders that have condemned this atrocity. I call for renewed efforts by the Nigerian Government to ensure liberty and equality under the law – whether for Christians or Muslims – which was so tragically absent in this case.”

Welby is known to be close to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) whom he has visited at least four times.
In 2019, pro-transparency group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, sent an open letter to Welby and asked him to convince Buhari to obey court orders and respect the rule of law.

Meanwhile, pan-Yoruba group, the Oodua People’s Congress has called on northern leaders and the Federal Government to halt ethno-religious violence in Sokoto and other northern states, as well as guarantee the safety of the lives and businesses of southerners in the North.

In a statement by OPC’s President, Otunba Wasiu Afolabi, the group also demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution by police and security authorities of the Islamic leaders who fuelled the crisis by directly mobilising rioters and through making inflammatory statements, following the killing of the female student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education.

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“These people must know that nobody has a monopoly of violence. Nobody should provoke Yoruba people.

“Northerners cannot continue to take the laws into their hands. We hold President Buhari and all the governors responsible for this provocative resort to violence by rioters.”

The OPC said northern leaders must immediately put a stop to this madness because it is capable of provoking reprisals from other parts of the country.

While demanding justice for Deborah whose life was so brazenly cut short in her prime, the OPC demanded that her killers be hunted down, brought to justice and made to face the maximum punishment that the law dictates.

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