On May 12, 2023, Shehu Shagari College of Education (SSCOE) student Deborah Samuel, a 21-year-old, was stoned to death. And her body was burned into ashes on the school campus for blasphemy. This video floods the internet. It shows a young man boasting and flaunting the matchbox he used to strike the fire on her body. Deborah, also known as Deborah Yakub, was a 200-level home economics student.
Following public outcry that the perpetrator should be brought to book. A few days later, two suspects, Aminu Hukunchi and Bilyaminu Aliyu, who were fellow students with Deborah, were arrested and arraigned at the chief magistrate court in Gwiwa, Sokoto.
Since then, the progress of the prosecution has not really gained media attention. In the early hours of Thursday, May 18, 2023, when Muyiwa Adejobi, Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), tweeted that the suspects were arrested and arraigned. The tweet left no further information about the progress or outcome of the trial at the time of writing this report.
On the contrary, in a recent report by the FIJ, court documents show that the suspects have been released. Presiding over the case, Magistrate Shuaibu Ahmad ruled in favor of the defendants, as their lawyer, M. B. Abdallah, prayed to the court because the prosecution officer, Khalil Musa, is not always present in court for the trial. Recall that 34 lawyers appeared in court on Monday, May 16, 2022, to defend the suspects.
Meanwhile, the suspects in Deborah’s death were standing trial for criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbance, not murder or manslaughter.