ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury Rt Reverend Justin Welby had added his voice to the global condemnation of the killing of Shehu Shagari College of Education Deborah Samuel saying such violence is a sin against God.
Last week, Ms Samuel was stoned to death and then set ablaze at the college in Sokoto after being accused of blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed. Her death has attracted widespread condemnation and led to the arrest of two suspects who have been charged to court with murder.
However, their arrest has led to widespread rioting by Muslim youths in Sokoto who have demanded their release. Over the last few days, these irate Muslim youths have burnt down churches and attacked businesses owned by Christians.
Condemning the violence, Archbishop Welby the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury, expressed disappointment that to date, people were killing in the name of God. He appealed to the Nigerian government to take proactive measures and ensure that the religious rights of all citizens are protected.
Archbishop Welby said: “I strongly condemn the appalling stoning to death of a Christian woman in Sokoto, Nigeria. This violence is a sin against God. I pray for the family and loved ones of Deborah Samuel, and I continue to pray fervently for the nation of Nigeria.”
He added that he has spent much time in northern Nigeria working with others in pursuit of reconciliation and inter-faith dialogue, saying that he is profoundly disappointed and grieved that such violence still takes place in God’s name. Justin Welby expressed gratitude to Nigerian Muslim leaders that have condemned the atrocity and called for renewed efforts by the Nigerian government to ensure liberty and equality under the law, whether for Christians or Muslims.
Archbishop Welby is a close friend of President Muhammadu Buhari who he has visited at least four times in recent years. When President Buhari was ill and in London recuperating, Archbishop Welby used to visit him regularly.