Deborah: Northern Govs, Gumi condemn killing


*Murder, extra-Judicial measure of addressing perceived infraction – Govs

*Calls for calm, respect for one another irrespective of faith, ethnicity, other affiliations

*Prophet Muhammad didn’t kill when insulted while alive, says Sheikh Gumi

*Says those killing for same offence have no justification for their actions

By Golok Nanmwa, Jos with agency report

Northern Governors Forum has condemned the murder of Deborah Samuel, a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education Sokoto who was killed on allegation of blasphemy.

Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong in a statement signed by Macham Makut, his Director of Press and Public Affairs and made available to newsmen in Jos on Sunday said the Governors were concerned about the development which is clearly an extra-Judicial measure of addressing perceived infraction.

According to Governor Lalong, any attempt to adopt self-help in addressing grievances, whether religious or otherwise, will only lead to further chaos that could threaten law and order as well as the general peace and security of the society.

While commiserating with the family of the victim, Lalong said the Northern Governors want security agencies to be allowed to thoroughly investigate the matter and ensure that the law takes its full course on anyone found wanting.

The Northern Governors also appealed for calm following reports of the hijack of a peaceful protest which later turned violent and led to the imposition of curfew in Sokoto Metropolis.

The Governor also extended the support and commiseration of the Forum to Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State over the incident as well as praised his proactive efforts to restore normalcy.

They assured him of their solidarity and prayers in dealing with the matter as well as ensuring that all necessary measures are taken to forestall future occurrence in any part of the region and nation at large.

The Forum also reminded citizens of the region and Nigerians of the need to continue to show love, tolerance and respect for one another irrespective of faith, ethnicity or other affiliations.

In a related development, An Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has faulted those of the school of thought that killing is the punishment for blasphemy, saying that Prophet Muhammad never killed for blasphemy during his time despite insults from his critics.

Sheikh Gumi who was said to have stated this during his religious teaching class in his Kaduna Juma’at mosque said if the Prophet refrained from killing or attacking his traducers and those who blasphemed him while alive; those killing for the same offence have no justification for their actions.

The Kaduna based scholar was reported to have made the clarification in a video clip obtained and translated by PRNigeria while reacting to the killing of a female Christian student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State over an alleged blasphemous statement.

“If we think by killing Deborah, people who are not of the same faith with us will stop insulting our prophet: then we are in delusion”, PRNigeria quoted him as saying.

The cleric added that rather than kill for blasphemy, Muslims in the country must strive to showcase the beauty of their religion by coexisting with non-Muslims and show how beautiful the Prophet lived by adhering to his teachings on how to live peacefully with others.

While condemning resort to extra-judicial killings, Gumi reiterated that Nigeria is a secular state and religious law cannot be used in countries like Nigeria.

“Hence, anyone who kills a non-Muslim who they have agreed to live peacefully with will not smell the fragrance of Paradise for 40 years,” he was also quoted as saying by PRNigeria.

Furthermore, the cleric called on other Islamic religious leaders to ensure reorientation of their students and followers, saying they must refrain from instigating their followers to carry out heinous acts.