Deborah Samuel was beaten and burned by fellow students for allegedly making blasphemous remarks about the Prophet Muhammad.
The governor of Nigeria’s Sokoto state has imposed an immediate 24-hour curfew to quell protests demanding the release of suspects in the murder of schoolgirl Deborah Samuel.
Samuel was beaten and burned by fellow students on Thursday for allegedly making blasphemous statements about the Prophet Mohammed in a Whatsapp group.
Protests have erupted following the arrest of two students by police and a search for other suspects who appeared in footage of the gruesome murder of Samuel, a student at Shehu Shagari College of Education, circulating on social media.
The governor said in a statement on Saturday that the curfew applies to the state capital, Sokoto.
“Everyone should please go home in the interest of peace,” Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of people demonstrated in the city over the students’ arrest following the killing, local residents said.
Early in the morning, youths took to the streets, lit bonfires and demanded the release of the two detainees, despite efforts by police officers to maintain order, local residents said.
Some of the protesters besieged the palace of Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and the highest spiritual figure among Nigeria’s Muslims, who has condemned the murder and called for those involved to be brought to justice.
“It was more of an uprising by a mob of young men and women demanding the release of the two people arrested for the killing of the Christian student,” Ibrahim Arkilla, from Sokoto, told AFP.
“The crowd … also demanded that the police end the manhunt for identified people involved in the killing,” said Arkilla, who witnessed the protests.
A large number of protesters besieged Abubakar’s palace, said resident Bube Ando, who lives near the palace, adding that police first tried to tell the protesters to leave.
“Police and soldiers standing in front of the palace threw tear gas canisters and fired in the air and managed to disperse the crowd,” he said, without specifying whether anyone was injured.
The protesters retreated to the city center where they tried to loot shops owned by Christian residents but were again dispersed by security patrol teams, said another resident, Faruk Danhili.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has strongly condemned the student’s murder.