Mob kills students for ‘blasphemy’ at northern Nigeria college | religion news

Mob kills students for ‘blasphemy’ at northern Nigeria college |  religion news

Cases of mob attacks for alleged blasphemy occur intermittently in Nigeria, particularly in the north.

A college in northwest Nigeria’s Sokoto state has been closed indefinitely after a student at the school was killed for alleged blasphemy.

The student, who has not yet been identified, was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad, which local media reports said led to bullying that resulted in her death on Thursday. Her body was also allegedly cremated on the school grounds afterwards.

Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal ordered the school closed and instructed the Ministry of Higher Education and relevant security agencies to investigate the incident. This comes after social media outrage over the killing, the state’s information commissioner, Isa Bajini Galadanchi, told reporters.

“The governor has urged the people of the state to remain calm and keep the peace as the government will take appropriate action based on the investigation findings,” Bajini said.

School officials described the incident in a May 12 circular as an “early morning student rampage” and ordered all students to “leave the college campus immediately.”

Nigerians are taking to Twitter to protest the killing and are calling on the government to ensure justice is done.

“Murderers of Christian women in Sokoto must be arrested and punished!” Farooq Kperogi, a journalism professor at Kennesaw State University, said in a tweet.

“Unfortunately, this kind of indiscriminate killing of people in the name of revenge for ‘blasphemy’ has been going on in the North for far too long. That has to stop! The monsters in this video are easy to identify. The Sokoto state government must arrest them immediately and make an example of them. If that doesn’t happen, this kind of murderous barbarism will continue,” he added.

Popular human rights activist Aisha Yesufu, herself a Muslim, also condemned the act, saying: “No one has the right in any way to kill another.”

Incidents of mob attacks on suspected blasphemy occur intermittently in Nigeria as “many Sharia laws in northern Nigeria continue to criminalize blasphemy and result in harsh penalties for blasphemy,” according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Northern Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is majority Muslim while the south is predominantly Christian.

The country’s penal code prohibits any act that publicly insults a religion and carries a prison sentence of up to two years, while there are Islamic laws against blasphemy through Sharia courts in 12 northern states.

The latter, according to the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, “deal exclusively with acts that are considered insulting to Muslims and the punishment of which can be as severe as execution.”

“Most accusations of blasphemy are made by Muslims against Christians and often spark mob violence before official action such as police arrests and trials can be taken. Blasphemy, therefore, in the Nigerian context is a driver of sectarian violence rather than court cases,” the Berkley Center said.

In April, a Nigerian court sentenced an atheist to 24 years in prison for publishing posts on social media that were deemed blasphemous against Islam. Mubarak Bala, a former Muslim, was convicted after pleading guilty after a long trial that saw him spend almost two years in prison.

In 2020, a Sharia court sentenced Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, a 22-year-old Muslim gospel musician, to death for committing blasphemy in a series of private WhatsApp messages.

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