In a display of mob rule that would make Black Lives Matter activists in the United States jealous, students in northern Nigeria rioted over the weekend of May 15 after two Muslims were arrested in the brutal lynching of a Christian university student.
The female student’s crime was alleged blasphemy against Islam, and on May 12 a mob of Muslim students at Shehu Shagari College of Education stoned, beat, and burned the corpse of Deborah Yakubu, a Hausa Christian, after she asked fellow students to stop posting religious content on a student-run Whatsapp messaging group.
People get arrested for doing things like that, even in Nigeria, but after police detained two Muslim students and announced a search for other suspects who appeared in social media footage of the killing, Muslim students took to the streets. Utterly rejecting the whole idea of due process, they lit fires and staged protests demanding the release of the detainees.
Not even a local Muslim spiritual leader could stop them. Instead the rioters besieged the palace of Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, who had condemned the woman’s slaying and called for the perpetrators to face justice, Al Jazeera reported.
“It was more of a riot by a mob of young men and women who were demanding the release of the two people arrested over the killing of the Christian student,” Sokoto resident Ibrahim Arkilla was quoted as saying by Agence France Presse (AFP).
Arkilla said the crowd was also “demanding the police stop the manhunt for those identified to have taken part in the killing.”
As Saturday’s protests swelled, Sokotu state Governor Aminu Tambuwal imposed a 24-hour curfew “with immediate effect” to regain order and security in the area.