Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, has said the trial of the alleged killers of Deborah Samuel, a 200-level Home Economics student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, should be handled by the Sokoto State Attorney-General if the state government was serious about the prosecution.

SaharaReporters had reported how the female student was burnt to death by her colleagues for allegedly insulting Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

On Monday, operatives of the Nigeria Police Force arraigned two suspects, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci, who had been arrested in connection with the lynching of the young lady.

The suspects were docked at a Sokoto Chief Magistrates’ Court for their alleged participation in the crime.

It was gathered that 34 lawyers were on the defence team. The accused persons also pleaded not guilty to the crime.

One of the defence lawyers identified as Zayyanu Aliyu Dinyadi took to his Facebook page to announce that the accused persons were charged with criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbance, offences that could be bailed under the Nigerian law.

Dingyadi claimed to be a solicitor, advocate of the Supreme Court and human rights activist.

In a now-deleted post on his Facebook page, he wrote, “I was opportune to be among many Muslims Lawyers that appeared in Court today in Defense of two Suspects charged By the Police in connection with the last Wednesday's Protest at SSCOE leading to the Death of Deborah Samuel (La'anatullahi Alaiha) for Blaspheming the name of our Noble Prophet (S.A.W).

“The Suspects were charged with Criminal Conspiracy and Inciting Public Disturbance which are Bailable Offenses under the Nigerian Laws.

”The matter was adjourned to the 18 May 2022(Wednesday) for ruling on their Bail Application as Prayed by the learned Lead Counsel Brr. Mustapha Abubakar Mada.”

Reacting in an interview with SaharaReporters, human rights lawyer, Effiong queried the rationale behind having the case charged at a Magistrate Court stating that only the High Court had the jurisdiction to hear such matters.

He also condemned the manner with which the police were handling the matter noting that the charges filed against the two suspects were trivial.

According to him, the Attorney General of Sokoto State should have taken over the matter and not the police.

He said, “At this time, the terms are not quite clear on the role they played in the case. Given they actually took part in killing her, they should be charged for culpable homicide.

“The term is the same with murder but that's what they call it over there. If they took part in the commission of the offence, they should be charged and in any event, culpable homicide can only be tried at the High court; the fact that this case was taken to the Magistrate court is also questionable but then, the North has its own process, they have what is called the first information report which is basically a complaint before a formal charge is made.

“From what I've read, it appears the police is either not serious about the case or they are still hunting to get the culprits because this lady was murdered in the full glare of the public and there are videos of people who confessed to taking part in killing her. All of them should be tracked down and arrested and charged for culpable homicide, except that is done, except people are actually convicted for killing Deborah, justice will not be said to have been done.

“The charge that they have filed against these two suspects is very trivial and it does not underscore the seriousness of the crime. Since this is a case of culpable homicide, the Attorney-General of Sokoto should take over. If Governor Tambuwal is actually serious, he should have directed the AG, actually the Attorney-General should be the one prosecuting. I don't understand how the police are going to prosecute culpable homicide. It is not a matter for the Magistrate court.

“I have also read that over 30 lawyers appeared for them, that is an indication that a large section of the society supported the barbarism of these suspects who killed Deborah and that is particularly troubling and that is the more reason why the state government should take up the matter because if they only stop at these two individuals with the unserious charges they filed, then they would have made nonsense of the case.”

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