The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has strongly condemned the killing of a second-year student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, Ms. Deborah Samuel over alleged blasphemy.
The Governing Council of the Commission while reacting to the killing said that there is no law, either secular or religious in a democratic society, anywhere in the world that justifies the killing of any person without due process of the law.
The Council, while urging all persons to exercise tolerance over religious matters also tasked the relevant authorities particularly the Police to thoroughly investigate and prosecute the culprits who have been reportedly arrested.
Council also urged the authorities to put necessary mechanisms in place to effect the arrest of every other person allegedly involved in the gruesome murder, with a view to bringing all perpetrators to book and preventing future occurrences. It stated that the consequence of inaction now by the law enforcement agencies could lead to a recurrence in the near future.
Similarly, the Commission has lamented the killing of a pregnant woman, Fatima, and her four children in cold blood in Anambra state allegedly by Unknown Gunmen.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission Chief Tony Ojukwu SAN describes the killing as one of the worst forms of criminality and human rights violation, which has needlessly portrayed Nigeria in a very bad light.
The Chief Human Rights Officer in Nigeria who stated this in Abuja while reacting to the unfortunate killing of the innocent woman and her children in their fatherland, noted that the country for some time now has been replete with negative stories of killings, kidnappings, armed banditry, rape, etc, "all happening on a daily basis as if the perpetrators do not have human conscience or feeling anymore".
Ojukwu further stated that the incessant killings are gross violations of the right to life and dignity of the human person, all guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and other national and global regional human rights instruments which Nigeria has enacted or is a party.
“These senseless killings are not acceptable, as a Commission we condemn them and urge that citizens must engage and collaborate with the law enforcement agents, by providing the officer with the necessary information that will assist them to fish out those behind these heinous and dastardly acts, and ensure that they are prosecuted and possibly punished in accordance with the law”, Ojukwu stated.
He further tasked the Police, to as a matter of urgency, carry out a comprehensive investigation into the killing of Fatima and her children with a view to serving justice on all the parties involved. “We are keenly monitoring the Police investigation, in this case, to ensure that those who are behind this inhuman and wicked act are quickly prosecuted and consequently punished in accordance with the relevant national, regional and international laws.
The NHRC Boss tasked the law enforcement agencies, particularly the Police and DSS to rejig their strategies and deploy intelligence-led security to get to the root of this instant killing and lots of other killings.
The Executive Secretary is using the opportunity to advise the citizens against any form of ethnic or religious intolerance and divisiveness which he noted are enemies of inclusiveness, national cohesion, and development. He recalled that Nigeria has had a regrettable history of civil war that came with unimaginable loss in terms of human and material resources, “so we must collectively say no to violence to sustain our unity as a country”.
In the same vein, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria warned those championing different ideological and political causes, to always put the security of Nigeria first above any other considerations, saying that “we must first of all be alive peacefully as citizens before we agitate for one interest or another.
He advised that as citizens we must always bear in mind that setting the Country on the path of violence and disunity will rather worsen or complicate our problems”. He expressed his heartfelt condolences to the family of the victims and urged them and their community members to remain calm and never resort to taking laws into their hands, believing that justice will be done in the end.
"The Commission used the opportunity to condemn all acts of religious extremism in the country and appealed to all parties in this matter as well as the concerned public to remain calm even in the face of this provocative and dastardly act, while awaiting the report of the Police investigation into the incident, adding that two wrongs cannot make a right”.