We put everything into Deborah’s education, says father


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We put everything into Deborah’s education, says father

Garba Emmanuel, the father of Deborah, the 200-level student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, who was burnt to death for alleged blasphemy, is still struggling to come to terms with the loss of his daughter.

The grief-stricken father said he put in everything into her schooling and could not afford to finance the education of Deborah’s six siblings.

He told reporters: “Everything we have, we put it into the education of Deborah and today, she is dead.

“Because of Deborah’s schooling, we couldn’t send her siblings to school because we can’t afford it.

“If you have nothing, you can’t sponsor all your children to such schools.”

The late Deborah was the second of seven children.

Emmanuel said they would leave everything in God’s hands.

“As believers, we have taken this as an act of God. We will not seek for vengeance or any action. A believer resigns his fate to God,” he said.

Emmanuel, based in Niger State, was able to retrieve his daughter’s remains for a funeral.

He said: “I went to the police in Sokoto and I pleaded with them that since the corpse had been burnt, they should help me with it so that it does not completely decompose, so I could bury it.

“I also pleaded with the Department of State Services (DSS) and they reasoned with me and agreed. I signed some documents and they gave her remains to me.

“I paid for the transportation from Sokoto to Rijau. I paid N120,000. It was hard getting anyone who will help us take the corpse down here.

“Most of the Hausa men were reluctant to help us but you know that no matter the circumstances, someone always needs money. That was how we got someone to bring her body down to Niger.”

He said the government was yet to contact the family.

Deborah’s mother, Alheri, who was hospitalised following the incident, said was yet to get over the shock.

She said Deborah was a respectful and diligent young lady who hated injustice.

Northern governors condemn murder, appeal for calm

The Northern Governors Forum condemned Deborah’s murder.

Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, said in a statement that the governors were concerned about the development.

He said any attempt to adopt self-help in addressing grievances, whether religious or otherwise, would only lead to chaos.

While commiserating with the family of the victim, Lalong said security agencies should conduct a thorough investigation and ensure that the law takes its full course on anyone found culpable.

Gumi: Prophet Muhammad never killed despite insults

Popular Kaduna-based Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, while condemning Deborah’s killing, said any Muslim who kills a Christian because the prophet was insulted will not go to paradise.

He said Nigeria was not an Islamic state.

In a sermon yesterday, the cleric said: “Allah has told us in the Qur’an that the non-Muslims will insult Allah and His Prophet.

“In fact, it is now the blasphemy will start after the killing of that lady in Sokoto. The insult will increase, not reduce.

“We the clerics need to wake up and teach the Muslims their religion. We must leave this state of ignorance. We the Muslims are not the only ones in this country.

“It is not only that we are not the only ones in this country, we must know that, there was nothing the unbelievers did not do to Prophet Muhammad.

“But he was patient, because he was conscious that if he killed them, the unbelievers he was trying to bring to the fold of Islam will tag him a killer.

“There are people who are neither Muslims not Christians in Nigeria, and everyone is trying to win their souls.

“Also, there are people who are not Muslims, whom we are preaching Islam to, so that they can enter the fold of Islam and be salvaged in the hereafter.

“If we now begin to kill people, they will say it is even from the leader of our faith, Prophet Muhammad that we have learnt it.

“They will say their religion is a religion of bloodletting. At a time we are trying to draw attention of people to see the beauty of Islam, we are now scaring them away.”

He added: “Anyone who kills a non-Muslim, who they have agreed to live peacefully with, will not smell the fragrance of Paradise for 40 years.”

The Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Nigeria, known in Hausa as Tarayyar Ekklesiyoyin Kristi a Nijeria (TEKAN), which comprises of over 15 denominations in the North, described as shocking and tragic the gruesome murder of Deborah.

TEKAN, in a statement by its President, Rev. Caleb S. Ahima and General Secretary, Very Rev. Moses J. Ebuga, said the irreligious dastardly act must not be tolerated at all.

“We condemn this inhuman act in totality and in the strongest terms possible.

“We call on the Nigeria authorities to act decisively to bring those who committed this criminal act to face the full wrath of the law regardless of whoever is involved,” it said.

The Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria expressed concern over the killing.

Its National President, Mr Henry Yunwap, said there was no justification for the dastardly act.

He urged the authorities to ensure that all those involved in her killing are arrested and punished according to the laws of the land.

“We want to remind the Federal Government that this is not the first time such act is taking place in the country all in the name of religion.

“The reason we are witnessing same now is because the expected action to serve as deterrent was never taken as the perpetrators were often left to go scot-free,” he said.

In Oyo State, family heads (Mogajis) in Ibadanland, traditional chiefs, senior and high chiefs urged religious organisations and youths not to let religion divide them.

The chiefs said the co-existence of Muslims, Christians and traditionalists in Ibadanland was one of the strengths of the ancient city.

Sokoto schools shift resumption 

Basic and secondary schools in Sokoto state are to resume on May 22, the state announced.

The one-week extension followed the curfew imposed following violent religious protest in the state capital.

Calm is gradually returning to Sokoto following the imposition of the 24-hour curfew on Saturday.