Exactly one year ago, on May 12, 2022, Deborah Emmanuel, a female student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto State was killed by Islamic extremists over blasphemy allegations against Prophet Mohammed.
The 200-level student was set ablaze after she reportedly advised her classmates against posting religious contents on their WhatsApp group which was created for academic purposes.
A motion picture of the student being stoned and beaten with sticks by her Muslim school-mates before setting her ablaze, was shared widely on all social media platforms.
A few days after the unfortunate incident that relatively set the country on fire, the Sokoto State Police Command announced the arrest of two suspects in connection to Deborah’s murder.
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The suspected murderers, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci were on May 16 docked at a Sokoto Chief Magistrate’s Court for their alleged participation in the crime.
A total number of thirty-four lawyers led by Professor Mansur Ibrahim, allegedly sponsored by some public figures, stormed the court to defend the suspected killers.
DAILY POST recalls that the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Sanusi Abubakar, in a statement on August 28, revealed that those arrested were not the prime suspects, saying that they were only among those who organised the riot.
He then vowed that the command would unearth all the suspected killers upon completion of investigation.
However, one year after the incident, the prime suspect who was boasting in the video of how he led the mob to lynch the innocent girl, is still at large.
A Catholic Priest, Fr Kelvin Ugwu in a post on his official Facebook page on Thursday, asked the state governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigeria Police Force to tell Nigerians what happened to the suspects.
He wrote, “I am asking the Governor of Sokoto, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, please sir, where are the killers of Deborah? Have you found them? Where did you keep them? What did you do to them?
“I am asking President Muhammadu Buhari, where are the killers? Are they invisible? Have they been arrested?
“And to the Nigeria Police Force, what has happened to the swiftness you normally employ in arresting people who make posts on social media you consider inciting and divisive? What did you do to the killers of Ms Deborah? Where are the killers?”
This is coming amid allegations that even the two suspects who were in May 2022, remanded in the Sokoto Correctional Centre may have been freed.
An On Air Personality, Mr Joseph Adejor also told our correspondent yesterday that “there may be something fishy about how the case died silently.”
“The question is, have they been able to arrest the prime suspect? After the incident, there were reports that the murderer fled to Niger Republic, have they traced him to that country?
“Like my friend always says, Nigeria is just a joke. A human being was burnt to death and nothing happened to the suspects. You remember how a popular politician condemned the incident and later deleted the post. I doubt if those two suspects that they managed to arrest were not freed later”, he lamented.
However, the Spokesperson of the Sokoto Police Command, DSP Sanusi Abubakar told DAILY POST on Thursday that the command had played its part by charging the suspects to court.
He said, “The police as an institution, when we charge a case to the court, it is left for the judge to determine whether the suspect is found guilty or not.
“Our duty as police agency is to conduct investigation, and charge the suspect to court. It is now in the hands of the court to determine the end.
“We as a police, we have played out parts it is now left for the judiciary to do the necessary”.
Asked to clarify the allegations that some of the suspects were freed, the PPRO said,
“If there is any allegation that the suspects have been freed, I think only the judiciary is in the position to answer that”.