On August 22, at the Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, Talata Mafara, Zamfara state, a moslem mob pounced on one of the Christian students, and set about the not-unusual business of gruesomely terminating his life. He had been accused of blaspheming the Prophet of Islam.
In his statement in the later national fall-out to the incident, Governor Abdulazeez Yari of Zamfara provided some details: “From the intelligence report I got from the security agencies, there was a fight between two students and I think one of them injured the other and started shouting that his assailant had abused Prophet Muhammad and other students came and beat the other boy who is Yoruba and from Kogi State…..Some people said he was a Muslim and some said the boy was a Christian, so they beat the student until he collapsed and thought he was dead.” (http://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2016/08/25/blasphemy-yari-explains-how-eight-people-were-killed-in-zamfara/)
One can only imagine the kind of mauling meted out to the young man – such that he actually collapsed and appeared dead in every way! The governor’s pretended ambiguity on the religious affiliation of the assaulted student was based on the fact that the unnamed student had actually converted from Islam to Christianity. According to Christian students on the campus, the Islamists had long been looking for an opportunity to KILL the convert, based on the charge of apostasy, which is punishable by death in Sharia law which still operates in Zamfara state! (see http://christianresponse.org/news/student-counters-official-version-of-eight-christians-killed-in-zamfara-state-nigeria/). To the Islamists, once a moslem, for ever a moslem!
Anyway, back to the story. Just as in the case of the Apostle Paul, (Acts 14:19-20) the young man, after being picked up by God-sent friends, did revive and he was carted off to the hospital. The irate Islamists, as they have done on countless occasions in diverse locations in Northern Nigeria, simply re-mobilized and violently charged the hospital to finish the job. Again frustrated in this objective by Divine providence, the mob reverted to the house of one of the good Samaritans who reportedly had assisted in moving the supposedly-dead Christian convert to the hospital. They burned down the house, and with it, eight innocent souls.
From the settings, it was presumed that all the eight students roasted to death in the off-campus residential building were Christian. But the Christian body, Northern-CAN (not the one affiliated with the Christian Association of Nigeria) later issued an authoritative statement correcting that presumption. According to Rev John Hayab, the Public Relations Officer of Northern-CAN, “Our people on ground confirmed to us that none of our people were killed. We don’t need to mention those that were killed.” http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/08/blasphemy-no-christian-killed-talata-marafa-northern-can/
Governor Yari however provided the identity of those who were killed by the Islamic mob. In his account to ThisDay, he continues: “Then the students went back to the polytechnic and burnt the shop of the person who gave his car to rescue the boy and …… threw tyres on the man’s house and burnt the house down. That was how everyone in the house was killed and everyone killed in the house was Muslim.”
The Northern-CAN however expressed sorrow that innocent lives, whether Christian, Moslem, or whosoever, were needlessly terminated just because government is refusing to decisively address a nagging national issue or provide adequate security for the citizenry. Even the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), an Islamic body led by the Sultan of Sokoto, this time around, lent its voice in condemning what it termed a “recurring” and “tediously monotonous” issue. The JNI went on to describe the incident as “most unfortunate.” (http://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2016/08/25/blasphemy-yari-explains-how-eight-people-were-killed-in-zamfara/)
In what might be the first clear official pronouncement by the JNI on the issues of blasphemy or apostasy, (both punishable in the Sharia code by death, in sharp contrast to the provisions of the Nigerian constitution), the body in its written statement, declares: “The unfortunate attacks that ensued thereafter the alleged blasphemy of the Prophet … are criminal and also stand condemned.” According to the report in the Morning Star News, the JNI Secretary-General Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu further added that individual Muslims do not have the authority to define heresy or label someone as an apostate. See http://christianresponse.org/news/student-counters-official-version-of-eight-christians-killed-in-zamfara-state-nigeria/
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