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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Sokoto imposes 24-hrs curfew over Muslim youth protest as Bishop Kukah suspends services

Sokoto state government on Saturday declared an immediate 24-hour curfew to quell protests demanding the release of suspects in the killing of Deborah Samuel last week, a statement from the governor’s office said.

Just as the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan-Kukah, suspended all Masses in Sokoto metropolis.

On Thursday, Samuel was beaten and burned by fellow students for alleged blasphemous statements about the Prophet Mohammad in a WhatsApp group. Two suspects were arrested.

The curfew applies to the state capital Sokoto. Nigeria is almost evenly divided between the largely Christian south and mainly Muslim north, where some states have adopted strict sharia laws, including death sentences for blasphemy.

A city resident witness described the protesters as Muslim youths.

“They first went to the Sultan’s palace and started protesting, security forces fired teargas and live bullets in the air,” the resident said.

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“The protest then sparked to other areas of Sokoto metropolis such as old market, Hajiya Halima road, Aliyu Jodiroad, Gidan Dare road.”

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the killing and said there should be an impartial investigation. Nigeria’s largest grouping of Christian churches has demanded the authorities bring the culprits to justice.

In a statement on Saturday signed by the Director, Social Communications of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Christopher Omotosho said Kukah’s residence was not attacked though rampaging hoodlums vandalised and torched two of the parishes presided over by the fiery preacher.

The Sokoto State Government has declared 24-hour curfew to help stem the ongoing protests embarked upon by Muslim youth in the state capital today.

“During the protest, groups of youths led by some adults in the background attacked the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral at Bello Way, destroying church glass windows, those of the Bishop Lawton Secretariat were also attacked and a community bus parked within the premises vandalised.

“St. Kevin’s Catholic Church Gidan Dere, Eastern By-pass, was also attacked and partly burnt; windows of the new hospital complex under construction, in the same premises were shattered.

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