Date: May 12, 2022
Muslims falsely accused her of blasphemy, sources say.
By Our Nigeria Correspondent
College student Deborah Emmanuel was stoned to death in Sokoto, Nigeria on May 12, 2022. (Facebook)
ABUJA, Nigeria – A Christian student stoned to death at a college in northwest Nigeria on Thursday (May 12) was falsely accused of blaspheming the prophet of Islam because she had refused to date a Muslim, sources said.
Deborah Emmanuel, a student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, the capital of Sokoto state, was beaten, stoned to death and her body set on fire, area residents said; a video showing the attack reportedly appeared on social media on Thursday (May 12). In the video, an unidentified man reportedly rages in the Hausa language that he killed Emmanuel and set her body on fire.
Emmanuel, a member of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in her native Tungan Magajiya town, Rijau County in Niger state, was falsely accused of blaspheming Muhammad by a Muslim whose advances she had refused, said David Ayuba Azzaman, senior pastor at The King Worship Chapel and Ministries, Inc. in Kaduna city, Nigeria.
Pastor Azzaman said he received information about the killing from Christians at the college in Sokoto.
“Deborah Emmanuel was complaining in a class WhatsApp group chat, kicking against how they discriminate against Christians in the school in areas of assignments and test in favor of the Muslims,” Pastor Azzaman told Morning Star News. “This is what they used as a yardstick to say she insulted Muhammad. She didn’t insult prophet Muhammad, but it was discovered that she turned down a Muslim proposal to date her. That led to him accusing her of insulting prophet Muhammad.”
Area residents told Morning Star News in text messages that a Muslim mob dragged Emmanuel from her hostel in the morning, stoned her to death and burned her corpse.
“This morning, a Christian female student was stoned to death and burned by some Muslim students who accused her of insulting Muhammad,” said area resident James Shingumi, as did another person living in the area.
The Rev. Kelvin Ugwu, a Roman Catholic priest, said in a statement that he had viewed a video of the assault.
“I can’t bring myself to share the videos of how they stoned and beat this young lady to death and subsequently burned her body,” Ugwu said. “It is very, very traumatizing.”
He said the killers video-recorded the killing shouting the jihadist slogan, “Allahu akbar [God is greater].”
“Why does this keep happening? What is the content of the insult she was accused of?” Ugwu asked. “How was it investigated? What part of our constitution allows this? Why are we silent about this evil? Why are Muslim elites silent about this? When are we going to have this conversation to put an end to this evil?”
In the United States, Farooq Kperogi, a Nigerian professor of journalism and emerging media at Kennesaw State University in Kennsaw, Georgia, said in a Facebook post said the “cowardly, homicidal beasts” who killed the Christian woman also pray for God to save them from the “bandits that have made their communities to perpetually drown in oceans of blood.”
“The monsters in that video are easily identifiable,” said Kperogi, a Muslim. “The Sokoto state government must immediately apprehend them and make an example of them. If that doesn’t happen, this kind of murderous barbarism will continue. Nigeria can’t survive indiscriminate, religion-inspired murders of innocent people.”
Sokoto state’s information commissioner confirmed the killing, saying that as a proactive measure against escalation, officials had ordered the closure of the institution. Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal directed the ministry of higher education and relevant security agencies to investigate, said Isah Bajini Galadanci, commissioner of information, in a statement on Thursday (May 12).
“Meanwhile, Gov. Aminu Waziti Tambuwal has called on the people of the state to remain calm and maintain peace as the government would take appropriate actions on the findings of the investigations by the relevant authority,” he said.
Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year (Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021) at 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List report. The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, according to the WWL report.
Nigeria trailed only China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, according to the report.
In the 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 9 the previous year.