Outrage flares up after a man accused of blasphemy was stoned to death in Nigeria

Accused of blasphemy in northwest Nigeria a man has been stoned to death, authorities and activists said, sparking outrage Monday from human rights groups worried about the abuses. What they say is a growing threat to religious freedom efforts in the region.

Usman Buda, a butcher, was killed in Gwandu district, Sokoto state, on Sunday after he was “allegedly blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad” during an argument with another trader at the market. Police spokesman Ahmad Rufa’i on Sunday night said in a statement.

Local residents have shared videos that appear to be from the scene showing a crowd including children hurling stones to Buda’s ground as they cursed him. Rufa’i said a police team had been deployed to the area, but by the time they arrived, “the crowd had dispersed and rendered the victim unconscious”. Mr Rufa’i was later pronounced dead at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Hospital in Sokoto.

Human rights activists said the killing was the latest threat to religious freedom in Nigeria’s northern region, where the majority is Muslim. Blasphemy is punishable by death under Islamic law in the region. Amnesty International’s office in Nigeria said failure to ensure justice in such cases would encourage more extrajudicial killings. Isa Sanusi, Acting Director of Amnesty International Nigeria said: “The government is not taking the issue seriously and that needs to change.

Sokoto Governor Ahmed Aliyu said local residents should not arbitrarily apply the law. But he also warned that his government would “take decisive action” against anyone found guilty of blasphemy.

“The people of Sokoto have great respect and reverence for the Prophet Muhammad…so everyone should respect (and) protect his dignity and personality,” said Abubakar Bawa, his gatekeeper. speak.

Lots of persons accuse of blasphemy never come to court. Last year, a student from Sokoto was beaten and burned to death for alleged blasphemy while a man was killed and set on fire for similar reasons in the capital, Abuja, also in the northern region. Sokoto police said they had opened an investigation into the latest incident, although arrests are rare in such cases.

“Even when arrests were made, there were serious allegations that those arrested were later released or that the whole incident was in jeopardy.

This is very dangerous and it shows itself Nigerian authorities are deliberately unwilling to do what is necessary to remedy this dangerous situation,” added Sanusi.

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