PRESIDENTIAL aspirant and general overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church Pastor Tunde Bakare has challenged Nigerian Muslims to recite which portion of the Koran supports the killing of anyone accused of blasphemy.
Last week, Ms Deborah Samuel, a 200 Level student at the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto was lynched by an irate mob, who accused her of blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed. Her death has attracted nationwide condemnation, forcing the authorities to act and arrest two of the suspects.
Over the weekend, however, rioting broke out in Sokoto with irate Muslim youth burning down churches and shops belonging to Christians as they demanded that the arrested suspects be released. Wading into the debate, Pastor Bakare condemned the extra-judicial killing, challenging Muslims justifying the lynching, saying there is nowhere in the Qur’an that supports killing.
Pastor Bakare said: “It was with deep distress that I received the news of the gruesome killing of Deborah Samuel in Shehu Shagari College of Education, in Sokoto State. No Nigerian and indeed, no human being, should be subjected to such inhumanity by fellow humans.
“As a nation of diverse peoples and cultures, there are available institutional mechanisms for resolving sensitive conflicts and no matter the provocation, no person under our laws has the right to take laws into their own hands. As one who was a devout Muslim and who read the Qur’an from cover to cover, what was done to Deborah Samuel is nowhere justified in the religion of peace that was handed down to me by my grandfather who was the first Chief Imam of Iporo Sodeke Mosque in Abeokuta.”
He condoled with the family of Deborah Samuel and prayed for God to grant them the fortitude to bear the great loss. Then, Pastor Bakare commended Governor Aminu Tambuwal for deploying security to restore law and order to ensure that justice is done and to address the underlying issues that this sad incident has once again brought to the fore.
Also, Pastor Bakare appealed to the residents of Sokoto State to remember the tolerance and hospitality that they have always been known for. He added: “So hospitable were the people that my father settled in Sokoto State for a period and invested in cotton farms in Shagari Village.
“Although he was Yoruba, my father was given the nickname Sanni Arewa by the very friendly people of Sokoto. Such unity and tolerance should remain our true identity as a people.”