Nigeria continues to reel from the horrifying murder of Deborah Samuels in Sokoto. Tension continues to rise dangerously, with 24-hour curfews having been declared in Sokoto and in Kaduna. The incident drew international attention, for the first time, to the situation that we have been consistently reporting on – headline articles in the international media, and condemnation from the British High Commissioner in Abuja. We report on this, and other attacks, in this week’s update.

14 May 2022 – A nationwide protest is called by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) relating to Deborah Samuel’s gruesome murder. Deborah (a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education) was accused of blaspheme and this resulted in her being stoned and burnt to death. A letter released by Reverend Olasupo Ayokunle, CAN’s President, calls for Christians to conduct peaceful protests within their churches on the 22 May 2022; in response to the horrific incident.

14 May 2022 – Reportedly, Nigerian Muslim youth attempted to set a Catholic Church ablaze in Sokoto after the police arrested two individuals responsible for Deborah Samuel’s murder.

16 May 2022 – Three locations in Anambra state were attacked by unknown gunmen, only 2 days after Chukwuma Chukwuma Soluda, the Governor of Anambra, visited Mazi Nnamdi (the detained leader of IPOB). Many thought Governor Soluda’s visit would end the sit-at-home order. The areas attacked comprise Eke Oko in Aguata LGA, Ogidi headquarters of Idemili North LGA and a Military checkpoint in Onitsha at the highbrow 3-3 Housing Estate.

In Eke Odo, a man driving a motorcycle dressed in a police vest with “Say No to Crime” was shot dead by an unknown gunman. Mr Tochukwu Ikenga, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), and other members of the community confirm the victim was not even a police officer.

Additionally, a section of Indemili North LGA  headquarters was set on fire by unknown arsonists. Including, the Magistrates Court, a building housing the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), and 4 official vehicles. PPRO Tuchukwu confirmed the fires and stated that police officials and neighbours acted quickly, resulting in no deaths. Some individuals believe the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

Lastly, military men were attacked and forced into a shootout at 3-3 Estate, Nkwelle Ezunaka (near Onitsha) on Sunday evening. A resident confirmed the fear of citizens as the gun battle lasted almost 3 hours. This motivated a stricter sit-at-home order, as even private schools that previously were open, ordered students who attended to go home. The inter-city transport was virtually not operating and the streets of Akwa were deserted. The banks and malls were shut down, and most state workers were absent.

16 May 2022 – Bishop Godfrey I. Onah speaks on “Being a Christian in Nigeria”, lamenting the deplorable state of Nigeria and the difficulty of being a Christian. Bishop Onah speaks on Nigeria being in darkness, as he weeps for his church being stifled out of existence in the world, particularly in Nigeria. He pays particular attention to the death of Deborah Samuel, who found herself in a place she thought she was safe, however, clearly, she was not. He weeps and prays over her death. Secondly, he weeps and prays for his brother, Bishop Matthew Kukah, as the world claimed a voice of the voiceless who have now become soft targets who see him as a problem and not as part of the solution. Thirdly, Bishop Onah weeps and prays for the poor miserable murderers of Deborah, who have been left uneducated and unemployed deliberately so that they can be manipulated, brainwashed and internalized for political reasons. Fourthly, he weeps and prays for political leaders, under whose watch Nigeria has crumbled as they keep looking for whom to blame. Bishop Onah requests everyone to look into the meaning of Christianity and the love we should have for one another. How can you preach love in Nigeria, where hatred and intolerance have become norms rather than the exception, where corruption has become a culture and tradition, where impunity has become law. Equally, where the government feels so helpless that it has now become appealing for religious leaders to talk to non-state actors so that they won’t make the security situation worse in Nigeria (those being the words of the Vice President of Nigeria when speaking to the religious leaders). He questions, how can a Presidency openly admit that they have lost control? How can you follow the law, when you are considered weak if doing so? How can you preach love in Nigeria where a few people have collected what belongs to everybody and they are doing with it whatever they please? In a country where the ruling party, within the space of fewer than 2 weeks can recon from 27 persons ₦26.3 Billion is collected as fees for nomination forms. The same ruling party is unable to finance education properly, such that teachers are sitting at home and students are roaming the streets. Furthermore, Bishop Onah calls out that all the electoral officers who installed the present ruling class in Nigeria, are professors of Nigerian Universities and members of ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities). The members of ASUU in Nigeria collaborated with the INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) and collected money to pay them. Nigeria is a country where forgiveness is regarded as weakness, where you bring the light and you are accused of exposing darkness, where when you love you are seen as being stupid.

17 May 2022 – Hausa Christians Foundation visited Deborah Samuel’s parents to comfort them, however, they were met with surprise, as the Father revealed that through this horrific attack many Muslims have come to Christ, even in Sokoto. Her father states that “they thought they killed her, but they actually multiplied her and exposed the true identity of their religion to the entire world”.

18 May 2022 – Armed Fulani militia attacked a bus along Okigwa – Uturu Road, very close to Abia State University, Uturu. The bus driver is confirmed to be shot dead, only 2 days following the kidnapping of 7 University students along the same road. Students and lecturers of ABSU are reportedly being kidnapped daily by armed Fulani militia.

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