The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says it is deeply saddened by the news of the release without trial of the five suspects in the killing of a 74-year-old Christian woman, Mrs Bridget Agbahime, over allegations of blasphemy.
In a statement signed by its Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Samuel, CAN described the purported handling of the June killing as highly provocative and insulting.
“The Association condemns the continuous act of killing of innocent Nigerians under the pretense of blasphemy and considers the willful absence of justice for victims of these mindless killings in Nigeria by the relevant authorities as a very serious constitutional breach and security threat to our unity and collective survival as a nation.
“The now-familiar tradition of avoidance to arrest or properly investigate and prosecute cases involving the deliberate killing of innocent Nigerians is evidence of a scripted plan to operate another nation within the Nigerian state and to deny justice to those who truly deserve justice.
“The cardinal responsibility of Government to protect the lives and property of the citizens is sacrosanct and must not be sacrificed on the altar of religious convenience.
“As it stands today, there is no single prosecution record of any criminal who killed under the pretence of blasphemy in Nigeria despite the number of victims and incontrovertible facts showing that those killings were done in daylight and mostly by persons who live within the communities where these heinous crimes were committed,” the statement reads.
The Association called on the Kano State Government and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that justice is served in the matter, adding that “the act of condoning crass criminality in the name of blasphemy deserves greater attention and broader treatment in this era of transforming the mindset of the citizens to work toward progressive change”.
The association vowed that as the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, it would not relent in its effort to ensure that justice is served on the religiously intolerant and to ensure that all Nigerians are treated equally irrespective of their faith, social status and where they come from.
They sympathized with the family of the Kano victim over the reported outcome of the case. The Kano magistrates’ court on Thursday (Nov. 3) discharged all the five suspects, who allegedly killed the female trader in Kano on June 2 over allegations of blasphemy.
The suspects, Dauda Ahmed, Abdulmumeen Mustafa, Zubairu Abubakar, Abdullahi Abubakar and Musa Abdullahi were slammed with a four-count charge of allegedly inciting disturbance, culpable homicide, joint act and mischief.
74-year-old Mrs Agbahime was murdered in Kofar Wambai market after a reported disagreement with the suspects.