Nigeria: Sokoto curfew enacted after student murder protests | News

Deborah Samuel was beaten and burned by fellow students for allegedly blasphemous statements about the Prophet Muhammad.

The governor of Nigeria’s Sokoto state has declared an immediate 24-hour curfew to quell protests demanding the release of suspects in the murder of student Deborah Samuel.

Samuel was beaten and burned by fellow students on Thursday for allegedly blasphemous statements about the Prophet Muhammad in a Whatsapp group.

The protests erupted after the arrest of two students by the police and the search for other suspects who appeared in footage of the grisly murder of Samuel, a student at Shehu Shagari College of Education, which circulated on social media.

The governor said in a statement on Saturday that the curfew applies to the state capital, the city of Sokoto.

“Everyone should please, in the interest of peace, return home,” said Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people demonstrated in the city over the arrest of students after the murder, residents said.

In the early morning, youths took to the streets, lighting fires and demanding the release of the two detainees, despite the dispatch of police to maintain order, residents said.

Some of the protesters surrounded the palace of Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and the highest spiritual figure among Muslims in Nigeria, who condemned the murder and demanded that those involved be brought to justice.

Nigeria
Nigeria map showing Sokoto state [Al Jazeera]

“It was yet another riot by a mob of young men and women demanding the release of the two people arrested for the murder of the Christian student,” Ibrahim Akilla, a resident of Sokoto, told AFP.

“The crowd also demanded that the police stop the hunt for those identified as having participated in the murder,” said Arkilla, who witnessed the protests.

A large number of protesters besieged the Abubakar palace, said resident Bube Ando, ​​who lives near the palace, adding that the police first tried to ask the protesters to leave.

“Police and soldiers outside the palace fired tear gas and fired into the air and managed to disperse the crowd,” he said, without giving details on whether anyone was injured.

Protesters retreated into the city centre, where they tried to loot shops owned by Christian residents, but were again dispersed by security patrol teams, said another resident, Faruk Danhili.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari strongly condemned the student’s murder.

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