Alleged Blasphemy: Sokoto College Schedules Reopening, Orders Students to Pay Damages

The Shehu Shagari College of Education (SSCOE) Sokoto, where a second year student, Deborah Yakubu was lynched in May, has been scheduled to reopen.

Ms Yakubu was violently murdered by angry student protesters over allegation of posting to the class WhatsaApp a comment deemed blasphemous by her classmates.

The school was immediately shut by the State Government as the crisis escalated, leading to the burning down of some facilities, including a church.
Governor receives report

Ms Yakubu’s comment was said to have ridiculed Islam “blasphemer” against Prophet Muhammad of Islam.

The school has been scheduled for reopening by 8 August, the management said.

A notice by the Registrar of the College, Gandi Asara, said the reopening was approved by the governing council of the college.

The Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, had, on Tuesday, directed the governing council of the college to meet and reopen the college as soon as possible.

Mr Tambuwal gave the directive when he received the report of a 12-member committee he set up to investigate the killing of the female student of the college on 12 May.

A statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Muhammad Bello, assured that the government would implement the committee’s recommendations.

Her killing attracted widespread condemnations and led to the suspension of the ‘Section on Public Interest and Development Law’ (SPIDEL) Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) earlier scheduled to hold in Sokoto. The conference is still yet to be held.

A court had remanded two suspects in connection with her killing. They are being represented by over 34 lawyers.

However, in a notice to students on Thursday, the Registrar of the college of education stated that the reopening of the college was approved by the governing council of the college.

He said all students are to pay a sum of N1000 and sign an undertaking.

While the reason for the undertaking was not stated in the notice, it is assumed that students will sign the undertaking not to cause unrest again in the college. This has been practised in many Nigerian tertiary institutions after student unrest.

Parts of the notice read: “This is to inform all Students of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto that the College Governing Council has approved the Reopening of the College on Monday 8 August, 2022.

“Students are requested to report to the College to sign an Undertaking at their various Schools after the payment of One Thousand Naira (N1000.00) only.”

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About the author

Akeem Alao

Akeem Alao trained as a language teacher. He graduated from Adeniran Ogunsanya college of Education where he studied English/Yoruba Languages and Ekiti State University where he obtained a degree in English Education.

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