The Socialist Workers and Youth League (SWL) condemns the gruesome murder of Deborah Samuel Yakubu in the most categorical of terms and demands that her murderers be brought to justice. On Thursday 12 May, Deborah, a student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto was brutally murdered and set ablaze by some fanatic students at the school who accused her of blasphemy. She was stoned to death and her corpse burned because of her reaction to the posting of religious content on their class’s WhatsApp group.
The murder of Deborah is definitely not an isolated case. The perpetrators of the gruesome murder have been emboldened by state violence, particularly on poor people, because of their religion or social conviction. We recall that an upper Shari’a court in Kano State, sentenced a musician, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu to death by hanging for allegedly committing blasphemy against the prophet of Islam in a song he circulated via WhatsApp in March 2020.
It must be noted that, the ruling bosses are above the Shari’a law just as they are above any law which is primarily meant to be obeyed by the poor. That is evident in how selective the Hisbah, a state creation effects Shari’a law in several northern states. Religion must be separated from the State in its entirety.
But the ruling bosses are satisfied with the current position religion holds in governance, not because of piety – which they don’t have, but because it benefits their hegemony on the popular masses. This unwittingly leads to the emboldening of non-state actors like the students who openly murdered Deborah and flaunted the murder in broad daylight, sharing this homicidal frenzy on social media. This is a tragic exemplar of state impunity being reflected in the impunity of individuals.
It is also doubly heinous that this abominable incident could take place on the premises of a tertiary institution. It goes to show how the education system which should promote critical thinking has been allowed to descend to such an abysmal level where free speech and debate is no longer valued or permissible but is rather punishable by mob action.
The killing of Deborah is totally condemnable, and justice must be done without reservation, to prevent such dastardly act again. Justice for Deborah includes open prosecution of everyone involved in her killing. And this must be done with immediate effect, for justice delayed is justice denied.