The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said it would get justice for Deborah Samuel, a 200 level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, who was recently lynched and burned to death for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammad.
This was made known by Reverend Bayo Oladeji, the Spokesman for the CAN President during an interview with The PUNCH. Oladeji said the Christian body would consider writing petitions to the United Nations and other international organisations in a bid to bring them up to speed on the persecution of Christians in Nigeria.
Oladeji said the killing was proof that Nigeria should not have been removed from the United States list of countries which violate religious freedom.
The Reverend noted that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, visited President Muhammadu Buhari recently but failed to visit victims of religious violence despite a request by CAN for him to do so.
He said if the warnings by CAN had been taken seriously, the killings of Christians in the North would have stopped.
Oladeji said: “The incident just happened, so we will be taking things a step at a time. Rest assured the peaceful protests will just be the beginning. We will take every available step to draw the attention of the world to what is happening in Nigeria.
“If it involves going to the ICC, we will do it. If it involves going to the United Nations, we will do it. We are not going to stop. This was what we said when the US removed Nigeria from the list of religious violators. CAN is the voice of the voiceless. Unfortunately, when we raise the alarm, people don’t listen until things like these happen.
“When a woman was killed in Kano, we cried out but nobody listened. When a preacher was killed in Kubwa, we cried out but no one listened. When you refuse to cry out, these killings will continue.”
Meanwhile, Deborah’s father, Emmanuel Garba, in a recent interview with The PUNCH, said he paid N120,000 to convey the remains of Deborah from Sokoto to Niger State.
Garba said he would not seek any legal redress and revealed that he had not been contacted by the government despite the gruesome killing of her daughter.
He said: “I have yet to get a call or message from anyone concerning the incident. Nobody called me; I decided to go on my own. I went to the state CID (Criminal Investigation Department) office and begged them to help me get the corpse so I could bury it because leaving it there might make it decompose. Then they took me to the mortuary, did some paperwork and released the remains to me.
“I was the one who paid to transport the remains. I was charged N120,000 which I was forced to pay because that was the cheapest I got as the majority of people don’t like transporting corpses.”
Garba, who works with the Niger State Water and Sanitation, said Deborah’s mother had fallen ill, and added that she just finished taking injections.
He said: “We are not seeking redress in any court over the killing of our daughter. We are firm believers in Christ who always leave everything in the hands of God. No vengeance, nothing. Everything is left to our creator.
“We don’t want anything (from the government) but it is just unfortunate that we used all our resources to send her to school and now she is dead. She was my eldest child and I have seven others left.”
Deborah’s mother, Alheri Emmanuel, broke down in tears and said: “I have no demands; I don’t want anything but one thing I know is that my children will never go to school again.”