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Deborah’s murder is Nigeria’s ‘George Floyd moment’

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Deborah’s murder is another question mark on nationhood, says Ogebe

By Jeph Ajobaju, Chief Copy Editor

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“Nigeria is now, or never…

“We better keep it, or leave it, for ever…”

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Sonny Okosun voiced the evergreen lyrics in the 1980s to call Nigeria to reason. Fourteen years after his own death at 61 on 24 May 2008, his words still resonate.

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That voice tugs relentlessly at Nigeria’s conscience with the senseless Islamic murder of Deborah Samuel, 22, a Christian 200 level student at Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto.

Deborah was stoned to death on 12 May by her jihadist classmates over alleged blasphemy against Islamist Mohammed.  

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Her assailants set her lifeless body on fire and posted the immolation on social media with glee. It has sparked the utter outrage of Nigerians at home and in the diaspora.

Floyd’s murder in US similar to Deborah’s lynching in Nigeria

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Emmanuel Ogebe, human rights activist based in Washington and Special Counsel, Justice for Jos Project (USA), compares Deborah’s death with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 25 May 2020.

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Derek Chauvin, the policeman who murdered Floyd, was jailed for 22 and a half years on 25 June 2021.

Nigerians demand the same justice for the murder of Deborah, whose remains were interred by her family in Tunga Magajiya, Niger State on 14 May.

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“Two years ago this month,” Ogebe said, “the world watched Black American George Floyd plead for his life as a white policeman Derek Chauvin asphyxiated him to death in a painful nine-minute video that sparked global protests and reforms.

“In Nigeria we watched schoolgirl Deborah Yakubu (aka Samuel) brutally beaten and barbarically burnt to blazes on video but an ominous silence from high level quarters on this monstrous outrage proving once more that the lives of Nigerians are the only cheap item left in Nigeria.

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“Indeed, we received the information and video below:

“The same people that killed and burnt Deborah attacking innocent Christian ladies within Sokoto, Northern Nigeria metropolis yesterday.”

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Islam dominates power; produces poverty, death

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“Nigeria can no longer continue under a leadership mindset where such acts are tolerable.

“If we can’t live together in a WhatsApp chat group, how on earth can we live together as a nation?” Ogebe questioned.

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“The murder of Deborah for simply asking her classmates to stop posting ‘nonsense’ in a study group is the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

“A region that dominates political power but produces poverty and death must re-examine itself. Progressive minds worldwide have used social media to generate income but here retrogressive minds have weaponised social media to kill others.

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“Worse still is the silence, complacence and acquiescence of so-called Northern elite who are educated without consequence.

Elections must have consequences

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“Upcoming elections must have consequences. The fact that [Isa] Patami is still in government today is the reason why Deborahs are still dying in Northern schools.

“These home-based terrorists are worse than Boko Haram who do not set women on fire. The British colonialists did not burn women alive.

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“This month’s primaries will determine which direction we’re going as a nation. Our country, citizenship and very humanity is at stake. We must wrest our destiny from the grip of barbarians.”

Deborah-2 Deborah’s murder is Nigeria’s ‘George Floyd moment’
Deborah’s interment on 14 May.
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