The US has honoured the late Deborah Samuel, a Christian second-year student who was murdered by irate youths over alleged blasphemy in Sokoto State in May 2022.
A mob of classmates beat her to death after accusing her of insulting Islam in a voice note she had shared on WhatsApp.
Samuel was recognised on Monday during the marking of the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.
This was part of the activities to mark this year’s International Day Commemorating the Victims of Violence Based on Religion or Belief by the US Department of State (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
The deceased picture was uploaded to the Office of International Religious Freedom, a body saddled with the responsibility of promoting universal respect for freedom of religion or belief across the world.
“In May, a mob brutally stoned, flogged, and burned to death college student Deborah Samuel in Nigeria, in an attack fuelled by hatred and blasphemy allegations, even as authorities attempted to stop it.
“We honour her life as we continue the work to end such vicious violence,” the Office stated on its website.
The US Ambassador-at-Large Rashad Hussain, who oversees the Office, claimed in a series of Tweets on Tuesday that too many people who experience violence due to their religion or beliefs are not heard because oppression keeps them out of the public eye or because sharing their names would put them in danger.
Too many people around the world who face violence based on religion or belief are unknown because oppression keeps them hidden from view or it is too dangerous for their names to be shared. We remember and honor them. pic.twitter.com/198R9d3lZO
— U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Rashad Hussain (@IRF_Ambassador) August 23, 2022
On his part, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stated that religious freedom was a key element to an open and stable society, stressing that without it people will not be able to contribute to their country’s success.
“Religious freedom is a key element of an open and stable society. Without it, people aren’t able to make their fullest contribution to their country’s success,” he said.
“Whenever human rights are denied, it ignites tension and breeds division.”
Two suspects-Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci were arrested by the police and subsequently remanded in custody by a Magistrate Court in Sokoto.
Nigerians have expressed concern and desire to know about the progress of the case.
Any update on Deborah’s killers? Swept under the carpet?
— Signor Alessandro 🇳🇬🇬🇧 (@_thecapitaine) August 24, 2022