The public murder of Deborah Samuel Yakubu has triggered the religious consciousness of millions of Nigerians.
Religion, a topic that seemed forgotten by many, is now a national discussion, drawing a reaction from every quarter.
It has been a revealing episode for many, as we are witnessing political leaders show their religious side.
Many have emphasised their respect for humanity while also defending their religion with a passion.
Youths in the south have called for justice in Deborah Samuel’s case while youths some in the northern region have defended the culprits.
Religious tolerance is being taught as Muslims and Christians point accusative fingers at each other.
The topic of RED LINES has also been raised.
Before we go on to discuss whether there should be lines, especially for those who are not believers of that religion.
Let us take a look back in history, discussing previous high-profile incidences of hate crimes in the northern region of Nigeria.
We will start with the tragic story of how Gideon Akaluka was killed by a group of 9 Wahabist fundamentalists in the year 1995.
The young Igbo trader who was a resident of Kano was falsely accused of “desecrating the Qur’an”.
He was beheaded by the extremist, and His head was mounted on a stick and paraded on the streets of Kano like a trophy.
The actions of the Wahabist fundamentalist angered the then head of state, Gen Sani Abacha, who was also a Muslim.
Abacha did not handle the case with kids’ gloves as he ordered the assassination of the culprits. Eight of them were killed.
In the year 2007, the brutal murder of Christiana Oluwatoyin Oluwasesin by her students in Gombe state shocked the whole nation.
The married mother of two was stoned, stripped, beaten, and stabbed to death, and her body was later burned beyond recognition, by her students who were largely Muslims and between the ages of 12 and 14.
She had collected the bag of a female student during exams, only to be accused of desecrating the Quran, as it was one of the contents of the bag.
Despite efforts by the staff of the school to stop the violence, the students and some outside extremist will have their way.
In all of these, what baffles many is the fact that throughout the chaos that killed Oluwasesin, the copy of the Quran which was said to have been desecrated was never seen.
“Whether the Quran was in the bag of that student, nobody knows,” Yila said.
The 42-year-old mother of seven, Mrs. Eunice Olawale, and wife of a pastor was brutally murdered on the streets of Abuja, the federal capital territory, in the year 2016.
She was murdered at about 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday, as she went for early morning preaching (Morning Cry) close to her residence. Her throat was slit, with her head rested on the bible she used for preaching.
The case remains unsolved to date.
Another shocking case of religious extremism and violence in the northern region is the murder of Mrs. Bridget Agbahime, who was killed in Kano near her shop.
Mrs. Bridget Agbahime was a 74-year-old trader in Kano state, and her murder which took place in broad daylight at the popular Kofar Wambai Market cut deep into Nigeria’s religious and tribal fault lines.
Her killers confronted her publicly, and hit her with sticks, causing bruises and other bodily injuries to her until she struggled to death.
The suspects in the case were known to the family of the victim and didn’t deny involvement in the crime, though the state government set them all free.
With all of these unfortunate incidents.
Everyone would agree that the northern region of Nigeria has been plagued over the years with ugly episodes of religious extremism.
But not everyone will agree that the killings have not always been religiously motivated.
The notion that religious violence in Northern Nigeria is always characterized by conflicts between Muslims and Christians is too simplistic.
Humans who carry out evil do so out of their free will, and many only hide under religion, political affiliation, or ethnicity to carry out crimes.
If Islam as a World religion actually preaches hate, why then do we have millions of them coexisting peacefully amongst us.
It is also a fact that most cases of hate crime and killings in Nigeria are preceded by a period of economic stress and a breakdown of law.
The unknown gunmen in the eastern region only took advantage of genuine agitation for better living by residents to perpetrate their crimes.
Today most of their activities have a negative effect on the safety and prosperity of their kinsmen rather than the falsely projected enemies.
Bandits and terrorists hide under the umbrella of Fulani Herdsmen to carry out their crimes.
In the same way are some criminal elements hiding under religion to perpetrate evil.
A truly religious person, who follows the tenets of Islam and believes in the teachings of the Quran and Hadith should find it hard to kill a college in class.
The murder of Deborah Samuel originated from a class fight, and her mates actually orchestrated the crime.
These are people who she has sat with for years, and surely knows personally.
What was done is barbaric and those involved are not Muslim brothers or whatever name protesters in Sokoto have ascribed them.
They are criminals and should the treated as such.