We are writing to the United States, the United Kingdom, the Government of Canada and the European Union to impose visa restrictions on the above individuals who supported the extrajudicial killing of Ms Deborah Samuel by a marauding group of misguided youth a few days ago, saying that they are a blasphemous testified against the Prophet Mohammed (SAW).
Nigerian police’s attempt to arrest the perpetrators of this heinous crime was met with fierce opposition and violent protest from overzealous youth in Sokoto state.
However, while most Nigerians have largely called for religious tolerance and a return to normalcy, a few notable Nigerians have chosen the path of shame in justifying the gruesome murder of Ms Deborah Samuel.
In a country where Muslims and Christians mostly live under mutual suspicion, any misguided testimony by a religious fanatic is enough to set the country on fire, with dire consequences and accompanying refugee crises across Africa and the world.
In light of the foregoing, we are calling for an immediate visa ban on Captain Jamil Abubakar and Mr. Aliyu Tilde, the Commissioner of Education at Bauchi State, for holding extremist religious views in Nigeria and making inflammatory statements likely to disrupt the nation along the way of the religious war.
Captain Abubakar’s statement, included here in media reports, reinforces the long-held delusion held by most Muslims in northern Nigeria that the penalty for blasphemy is instant death, even though Nigeria is a secular nation governed by the Constitution, not theocratic principles! Barely a few hours after the statement was made, thousands of Twitter followers, particularly Muslim, joined Captain Abubakar’s statement in justifying the cold-blooded murder of Ms. Deborah Samuel.
Similarly, Mr. Tilde justified Ms. Samuel’s murder on his Facebook page, which was also reported by many media platforms in the country, by stating that her killers were provoked by the voice memo she posted on her WhatsApp platform for her class .
It is deeply disheartening that a sitting commissioner and a sitting board member of one of the country’s most respected online news platforms should publicly express such views.
We note that Captain Abubakar made a feeble attempt to make blasphemy a mandatory requirement under Sharia law. However, he has failed to acknowledge that Sharia only applies to Muslim adherents. Mrs. Deborah Samuel was a Christian! Even in the case of a blasphemy allegation, it is not in the hands of the prosecutor to take laws into their own hands. The suspect must be given an opportunity to defend himself before a duly appointed authority.
We therefore believe that the statements made by Captain Abubakar and Mr. Tilde were made intentionally to incite a religious war in Nigeria. We are concerned that Captain Abubakar and Mr. Tilde, although quite educated, hold extremist views that should not be held in any civilized world. Under these circumstances, we firmly believe that a visa ban on them will send a strong message to all those seeking to enforce religious laws beyond the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s constitution.
Please accept our professional greetings as we thank you for your continued action using the visa ban tool to strengthen the rule of law and religious tolerance around the world.
Comrade Deji Adeyanju LLB (Hons)