The Presidency, last week, stated that the killing of Deborah Samuel, a female student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, by an angry mob in the State, for allegedly making insulting remarks against Prophet Muhammed demands an impartial and extensive probe.
We tracked two other stories from the seat of power for your reading pleasure.
Probing Deborah’s killing
On May 13, an angry mob waylaid Deborah, pelted her with stones, flogged her, and burnt her dead body for alleged blasphemy against Prophet Muhammed (SAW).
“The case demands an impartial, extensive probe into all that happened before and during the incident. Muslims all over the world demand respect for the Holy Prophets, including Isah (Alaihissalaam, Jesus Christ) and Muhammad (SAW) but where transgressions occur as alleged to be the case in this instance, the law does not allow anyone to take matters into their hands,” Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated.
Buhari’s condemnation of Deborah’s gruesome killing is welcome amidst its justification by some others. Her killing exposed the heightened level of religious intolerance in the country, and affirms the report that Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places for a Christian to live.
The President’s call for an impartial and extensive probe should, however, not be swept under the carpet. He must ensure that a committee, with a clear mandate and timelines, is constituted to investigate the incident in a transparent, and fair manner, and necessary actions taken to avoid future occurrence.
Anything short of this would mean that the President was merely grandstanding.
Needless to add that the Presidency should go beyond a probe, and initiate a campaign against such religious killings.
Two other talking points
Buhari’s pledge on handover of power
The Presidency, on May 10, stated that President Buhari would surely handover to an elected President at the end of his tenure on May 29 next year.
This came on the heels of a demand by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Robert Clarke, for an elongation of the Buhari tenure by six months to enable him to fix the country’s challenges, especially security.
“We wish to categorically restate that the President will step down on May 29, 2023, after serving two terms – as per the constitution. Having been first recipient of a democratic transfer from an incumbent administration to an opposition candidate in Nigerian history, the President is committed to extending and entrenching democratic values across the country,” presidential spokesman, Shehu, reacted in a statement.
Buhari’s commitment to vacating Aso Rock Villa at the expiration of his tenure reinforces the fact that the country is operating a constitutional democracy. To do otherwise will be to breach the constitution and set the stage for an uprising that could consume the polity and worsen an already degenerating political instability.
It is, therefore, timely that the Presidency washed its hands off Clarke’s demand as this would have snowballed into insinuations that the President may be harbouring the idea of staying beyond May 29, 2023.
All said, the expectations are that the Buhari presidency will ensure that the processes leading up to the conduct of the 2023 polls are not only transparent but credible.
On May 12, President Buhari begged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to consider the suffering of students, and call off its ongoing strike.
The President made the appeal at the 19th National Productivity Day and conferment of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM) on 48 eminent Nigerians and organisations in both public and private sectors held at the State House, Abuja.
He also appealed to the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) to exercise patience as the government tries to resolve the crisis.
Buhari’s appeal is not enough. There already exists integrity gaps, and it is doubtful that the academic unions would fall for government’s latest baits. From the look of things, unless there are guarantees of a positive shift in perception, the probability of calling off the strike would remain low.
The President’s direct intervention may just be the magic wand that the sector needs to roar back to life. Till then, it is feared that the country’s education sector would remain comatose.
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