On May 12, 2022, the life of Deborah Samuel, a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, was taken by fellow students.
Her brutal killing over alleged blasphemy was captured on camera and circulated over the internet.
In the videos, her assailants bragged and celebrated ending her life while showing the matchbox from which they drew matchsticks to burn her with.
The Sokoto Police Command, on May 16, four days after the incident, arrested Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunchi, two students of the college, and arraigned them at a Chief Magistrate Court in the Gwiwa area of the state.
Muyiwa Adejobi, Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), on Thursday morning, disclosed this via a tweet. He then said if anyone wanted to know more about the case, they should approach the court.
What Adejobi kept from the public was that although the police arraigned the suspects before the court, they failed to properly prosecute the matter, and the suspects were released on this ground.
Court documents obtained by FIJ and dated January 30, 2023, confirm that Magistrate Shuaibu Ahmad, who presided over the matter, ruled to set the suspects free after the police made no appearance during trial.
Aliyu and Hukunchi were not standing trial for murder but for criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbance.
M. B. Abdallah, their lawyer, told the court on January 30 that Khalid Musa, the prosecution inspector, was “conspicuously absent”.
He asked the court if Musa had communicated reasons for his absence, but the court registrar confirmed that while Musa was aware of the date, he did not communicate his absence.
Abdallah informed the court that Musa was also absent from court on December 29, 2022. He said, “Since the arraignment of the defendants in May 2022 last year, there was never a time the defendants failed to come to the court for their trial, but on the contrary, the prosecution are always absent, and where they are present, they are always not serious in prosecuting this case.”
Ahmad granted Abdallah’s prayer for the matter to be struck out.
FIJ called Adejobi on Thursday, but he did not respond to our calls. He also did not respond to our text message.
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