The police in Sokoto have declared the men seen in the viral video of the murder of Deborah Samuel wanted for culpable homicide.
Public Relations Officer of the Sokoto Command, ASP Sanusi Abubakar, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday, a day after two other suspects were arraigned for killing the 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education.
“Prime suspects that claimed responsibility for the murder of Deborah Samuel in the viral video were declared wanted,” Abubakar said.
He called on members of the public to cooperate with the police and report to the command or any security outfit in their domain if they have information on the suspects.
He also assured that the Sokoto Police Command is committed to apprehending the suspects, adding, “The command has already deployed all its intelligence and is on the lookout for the suspects.”.
Deborah had been killed on Thursday last week by a mob after she was accused of blasphemy.
The gruesome murder sparked outrage and drew condemnation from many and led the Sokoto State government to shut down the school.
As the news spread and videos of the murder went viral, the police announced the arrest of two suspects.
Catholic Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah, and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, were among those who condemned the killing.
Amid calls for justice, the situation in the state degenerated on Saturday after an angry mob held a violent protest attacking the Holy Family Cathedral and another Catholic Church facility in the state while demanding the release of those arrested.
In reaction, the state government imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state.
The curfew was relaxed on Monday and the two arrested suspects were arraigned on the same day. They were both remanded in custody.
Meanwhile, the remains of Deborah were buried in her home town, Tunga Magajiya, in the Rijau Local Government Area of Niger State over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Bar Association has condemned extra-judicial killings in any part of the country, describing them as reprehensible, barbaric and unacceptable.
A statement signed by the President of the bar, Olumide Akpata also called on security agencies to do more to stem these ugly developments, and to ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous acts are made to face the full wrath of the law.
Citing the specific cases of a young man (simply identified as David) in Lagos who was reportedly lynched by commercial motorcyclists around Lekki; and the incident in Sokoto involving the murder of Miss Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto by some of her school mates for alleged blasphemy, the NBA asked government to immediately commence the prosecution of all suspects involved in these brutal and arbitrary killings in order to send a strong signal that such acts will no longer be tolerated in Nigeria.
The NBA said it believes that the prompt and effective prosecution of the alleged killers will instill confidence in the citizens, promote accountability, and signpost the government’s commitment to the rule of law.
With particular reference to the murder of Deborah Yakubu and related developments in Sokoto, the NBA said it is worried by unconfirmed reports that the suspects have been charged with mere breach of public peace and called on the Sokoto State Government to immediately rethink its prosecution strategy and file charges that truly reflect the gravity of the situation.
On the demand for the release of the suspects by some protesting youths coupled with assault on innocent citizens, burning of worship centres and destruction of property, the NBA said this is worrisome and clearly a test of the will of the State to fully enforce its laws and foster rule of law.
On its annual conference of the Section on Public Interest and Development Law, SPIDEL scheduled to hold next week in Sokoto, the NBA said, having critically reviewed the current security condition in the state, it has become apparent that it cannot guarantee the safety of participants and accordingly, the Conference has been postponed also as a mark of respect for the memory of the slain Deborah Yakubu.
The NBA urged the State Government to fully collaborate with the Federal Government to initiate measures — and where necessary deploy its coercive instruments — to restore peace and order to the State, safeguard lives and property and dissuade vandalism and impunity.