The barbaric slaughter of Deborah, a young, female Christian student in Sokoto by her fellow students who, within minutes, transformed themselves into a rampaging and wild mob of religious bigots and fanatics is totally unacceptable. It is also inhuman and unislamic.
Worse still it has set back ethnic and religious harmony in our country and threatens to fuel and ressurect age-old divisions, bad blood, malevolence and malice between our people.
We must resist the temptation of going back to the heady days of harsh confrontation, undue antagonism and reckless abandon but at the same time let no-one be mistaken about our resolve to resist evil and the sort of gratuitous violence that these road-side butchers have displayed.
The truth is that our people will never accept this level of barbarism and neither will they continue to remain passive and turn the other cheek if it continues.
Both the Sokoto State Government and the Federal Government would do well to do everything in their power to put a stop to it.
We have sheathed our swords in good faith, limited our criticisms, refused to be confrontational and sought to build bridges of love, compassion, unity, forgiveness and understanding for almost two years now.
This must not be taken for granted and neither does it mean we cannot return to the trenches.
Politics or no politics the authorities must bring the culprits of this heinous and condemnable act to justice and ensure that the targetting and brutal slaughter of our people by homicidal maniacs and rabid mobs, for whatever reason, ceases forthwith.
Whilst it is important that we respect each others religious sensitivities we must also acknowledge and recognise the fact that Nigeria is a SECULAR state where freedom of speech is guaranteed by the constitution and that killing others for no just cause is an indefensible and unacceptable way to behave.
The number of calls that I have received today over this issue from members of the Christian community and Church and Christian leaders in our country are legion and the outrage is real.
The truth is that we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder and we must do all in our power to ensure that it does not explode.
We cannot and must not tolerate the lynching of Christians, Muslims or members of ANY other religious faith in our streets by frenzied and rabid mobs for ANY reason whatsoever. We must also put a stop to the targetting and murder of members of other ethnic nationalities.
We are not a nation of animals but one of civilised human beings who must always be compassionate, respectful, disciplined and restrained when it comes to interacting with one another.
May God guide and defend our people and may He keep the peace and preserve the unity of our nation.
Our union may have its’ challenges and its’ ups and downs but we must iron out our differences in a peaceful manner and MAKE IT WORK.
Permit me to end this contribution with the following.
I acknowledge the strong and timely condemnation of the mobbing, lynching and burning of Deborah by no less a person than His Eminence, Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar 111, the Sultan of Sokoto.
The Sultan has consistently spoken against religious intolerance and sectarian violence over the years and he has fought hard for the peaceful co-existence of those with different faiths thorought the country and particularly in Sokoto state, the North West and indeed the wider North.
This gladdens my heart and provides a veritable and credible source of hope for the future.
May the soul of the courageous young martyr by the name of Deborah who was murdered in cold blood for no just cause rest in peace and may the good Lord comfort her loved ones and all those she left behind.