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Blasphemy: Tambuwal imposes curfew as riot breaks out in Sokoto

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Following the gruesome murder of a Christian student for alleged blasphemy, and a riot that broke out in Sokoto State on Saturday, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, has imposed a 24-hour curfew on the people of the North-West state.

The governor in a statement said, “Following the sad incident that happened at the Shehu Shagari College of Education on Thursday and sequel to the developments within (Sokoto) metropolis this morning till afternoon, by the powers conferred on me by sections 176(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and section 1 and 4 of the Public Order Act; and, also Section 15 of Sokoto State Peace Preservation Law, I hereby declare, with immediate effect, a curfew within (Sokoto) metropolis of Sokoto township for the next 24 hours.

“I appeal to the good people of Sokoto state to kindly continue to observe law and order and calm down (on the) restiveness currently pervading in the metropolis.

“Everyone should, please, in the interest of peace go back home and observe these measures, with a view of the reestablishment of peace, law and order in the state.

“It is not in the interest of anyone for us to have a breakdown of law and order. I, therefore, appeal for restraint; and, for people to observe and respect the rule of law.”

Some placard-carrying Muslim youths had protested in Sokoto on Saturday morning and demanded the release of two suspects arrested in connection with the gruesome murder of Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level Home Economics student of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, mauled and burnt to death for alleged blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

The Christian youth was murdered in the most barbaric manner and her killers had gleefully posted videos of the act on social media.

The police in Sokoto had confirmed the killing of Deborah by her Muslim colleagues on campus and the youths had protested on Saturday, clashing with security operatives who fire shots to disperse the surging demonstrators.

The youths, it was gathered, met at the Gawon Nama Roundabout at 9am, where the protest started.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Sokoto, Sanusi Abubabar, confirmed the protest in a telephone interview with The PUNCH on Saturday.

“We are on top of the situation,” he told our correspondent, adding that the police authorities in Sokoto are in talks with leaders of thoughts and opinion moulders in the state.

Many civil society groups and lawyers have condemned the murder of Deborah while some persons have defended the mob action.

Sokoto, a state in Nigeria’s North-West has a more Muslim population than Christians and there have been cases of sectarian strife and religion-triggered extrajudicial killings.