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PROTESTS rock Sokoto, youths demand release of suspected killers of Deborah, 24-hour curfew imposed

Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has declared a 24-hour curfew in Sokoto to prevent escalation of protests by the youths calling for the release of two suspects arrested over the killing of Deborah Samuel over alleged blasphemy in Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto on Thursday.

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Tambuwal announced the curfew on Saturday at the Government House in Sokoto, the state capital.

Deborah, a second-year student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State, was killed on Thursday following an allegation that she had blasphemed Muhammad (SAW), the prophet of Islam.

According to the Governor, the curfew has become necessary as the only option left for the government to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the state.

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“Following the sad incident that happened at the Shehu Shagari College of Education on Thursday and sequel to the developments within (Sokoto) metropolis this morning till afternoon, by the powers conferred on me by Sections 176(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Section 1 and 4 of the Public Order Act, and also Section 15 of Sokoto State Peace Preservation Law, I hereby declare, with immediate effect, a curfew within (Sokoto) metropolis of Sokoto township for the next 24 hours,” he said.

“I appeal to the good people of Sokoto state to kindly continue to observe law and order and calm down (on the) restiveness currently pervading in the metropolis. Everyone should, please, in the interest of peace go back home and observe this measure with a view to the re-establishment of peace, law, and order in the state.

“It is not in the interest of anyone for us to have a breakdown of law and order. I, therefore, appeal for restraint and, for people to observe and respect the rule of law.”

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Protest Turned Looting?
Deborah’s death has sparked outrage from various individuals and groups across the country, including the Christian community who demanded that her killers be brought to justice.

But the curfew imposed was in response to a demonstration by scores of residents over the detention of two students arrested in connection with Deborah’s murder.

The victim was stoned to death and her body burnt by a mob of Muslim students of the college after she made a post they deemed insulted Prophet Muhammad.

Following the arrest of two persons, police said they had begun a manhunt for other suspects who appeared in footage of the gruesome murder which trended on social media.

Angered by the police action, Muslim youths reportedly took to the streets of Sokoto, lighting bonfires and demanding the release of the two detained suspects, sources said.

Some of the protesters, according to them, besieged the palace of the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, chanting “Allahu Akbar” or God is Great.

The youths were, however, said to have been dispersed by police and soldiers guarding the palace.

They reportedly retreated downtown where they attempted to loot shops belonging to Christian residents, but were dispersed by security patrol teams.

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Written by Adesoji OMOSEBI

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