Despite a stakeholders’ meeting between Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, and prominent community and religious leaders, some residents of the state have vowed to kill again if anyone blasphemes the Prophet Muhammad.
On June 2, an Igbo woman, Mrs. Bridget Agbahime, 74, was killed after she refused to allow a Muslim man perform ablution in front of her shop.
An eyewitness, Iruka Okoro, who is a member of the Igbo Community Association in Kano, stated that shortly after an argument ensued because of Agbahime’s refusal, some irate youths armed with dangerous weapons attacked her, stabbing her several times and eventually slitting her throat.
“The murder of Agbahime was a big slap on the Igbo Community Association. I do not see any reason why somebody’s refusal to allow a fellow trader perform ablution in front of her shop should lead to her murder.
“Her assailants killed her for telling a co-trader to go to his shop and wash his legs before prayers. Some irate youths sliced her throat like a cow,” Okoro said.
He noted that the owner of the premises, where they both had their stalls, had on more than one occasion intervened in the dispute between the 74-year-old and her co-trader.
“The landlord instructed the male co-trader to confine himself to his side of the market, as well as perform his ablution there,” Okoro stated.
As if the killing was not enough, it was learnt that some Muslim youths stormed the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital mortuary at about 2 am on Friday, demanding for the head of the murdered woman, but their request was turned down by the guards at the hospital.
To prevent any further breakdown of law and order, 20 vehicles carrying armed soldiers with Armoured Personnel Carriers were stationed along the Sabon-Gari area of the city.
Ganduje, at the end of the meeting which was held a day after the incident, condemned the killing of Agbahime.
The governor, who had condoled with the husband of the deceased, Pastor Mike Agbahime, during the meeting, described the action of the mob as illegal and unjust. He promised that justice would be done.
He also commended security operatives in the state for promptly apprehending the prime suspect, one Dauda.
“We all resolved to condemn this illegal action publicly in the media, while the Ulama and the leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria will participate in public enlightenment in our media houses,” he said.
In his remarks, the state Chairman of CAN, Rev. Ransom Bello, expressed the body’s satisfaction with the resolutions reached at the meeting, adding that “there is nothing better that any person would expect than what you (the governor) have done tonight.”
While urging the people of the state to remain calm, he stated that with the efforts being made by the state government, peace had returned to the state and that the stakeholders’ meeting was an indication that there would be no more religious killings in Kano.
“Such a thing had never happened under any governor in Kano, as far as I know. The Christian body is satisfied and happy with the conclusions,” he said.
However, following a post of photos of the meeting and the resolutions reached by the Director-General, Media and Communications to the Kano Governor, Salihu Tanko Yakasai, on Ganduje’s official Facebook page, some Nigerians appeared to be spoiling for a fight as they condemned the state government for taking sides with the deceased, whom they claimed insulted Prophet Muhammad.
A comment posted by one Ali Idris stated, “It’s a shame, we’ll never tolerate such acts; be warned. Allah ya jikan musulman da iyamure suka kashe a Onitsha, aba da sausansu satinnan a bikin Biafra’s day.” Also commenting on the post, one Ahmad Abdullahi Ibrahim said, “Innaalillahi, we Muslims are lost, the government says ‘Innocent lady.’ Does that mean she did not blaspheme our noble prophet? Indirectly you’re insulting your people.
“Did the government, including the so-called Muslim scholars, take any serious decision when Muslims (were) burnt and killed in the South just because they were Muslims? I am not saying taking the law into your own hands is right, but, you need to be wise enough. Allah ya sawwake.”
Another person, Usman Lawan Tanko, commented that anyone who blasphemed the prophet would be dealt with.
He said, “Muslim (Islam) is a religion of peace, but we will not tolerate such kind of stupidity to our noble prophet. I swear without any exception anybody who did (sic) it again or try to will expect the same consequence or above that. Be careful.”
One Abazarri Lawan Imran pointed out that the people who assaulted and eventually killed the Igbo woman should be commended.
“If it is true (that) she abused our lovely prophet; I really appreciate the decision by the youth. We know the government and its people would not support as it shown in the issue of Adul Inyas. When government can’t defend our religion, we shall (n)ever support or defend that government, whether state or federal. I love you Muhammad (SAW) more than myself and even my parents,” Imran said.
While the commentators praised the killing, they also criticised the governor, saying they would vote him out come 2019.
“We also condemn Governor Ganduje. We are just waiting for 2019,” one Nuhu Suleiman posted on the governor’s Facebook wall.
Another contributor on the issue, Muhammad Usman, said, “I am sure they (the perpetrators of the violence) did the best they could do. May Allah reward them with Jannat ul Firdaus.”
Concerning Ganduje, one Bashir Umar Musa wrote, “Stupid governor.”
Reacting to comments by those who supported the killing of the Igbo woman, one Echezona Iloegbunam said, “I can’t imagine the comments from this post. How come mere mortals are fighting for Prophet Muhammad, the so-called prophet of God?”
One Sani Ahmad shot back, “Echezona, or whatever you call yourself, God’s vengeance is certainly above what they did to this woman. It is a show of love for their prophet and any person who did what she did would get the same reward. So be careful.”
The General Secretary of CAN, Musa Asake, however, told our correspondent that Christians in the state would fight back if pushed to the wall.
“In the first place, that woman did not say anything against their prophet. That man had been disturbing her in her shop for sometime before she was eventually killed that day. We appreciate government’s efforts but things are getting to a point that we are getting so tired. We hear of condemnation each time someone is killed and nothing is done about it. Christians are not stupid; we may be silent. We are listening, watching and will act if that man is not brought to justice.
“Those who are writing on the Facebook wall of the governor are irresponsible. They should go ahead and kill again. We are not dumb. We have hands. Because Christianity does not allow us to kill; we encourage ourselves and accept the tragedy brought on us by them. This time around, we want condemnation to come with judgment. Muslim clerics should single out those ones praising the killing and promising to kill more. They give Muslims a bad name,” Asake said.
The Director of Muslim Rights Concern, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, when asked to respond to the Facebook comments, told our correspondent, “Sorry, I can’t fathom this. Which Kano Muslim residents said these? It is too vague. Quote somebody who has a name.
“The JNI has condemned the killing. The Sultan (of Sokoto) also condemned it. The Emir of Kano (Muhammad Sanusi) has always been on the side of dialogue. Let’s not look for non-existent residents. Those who matter have spoken. What we should all do at this point is to assist the police in ensuring that justice is done.”
Penultimate Saturday, President Muhammadu Buhari had promised that justice would be served in the case of the murdered Igbo trader.
Describing the incident as sad and regrettable, Buhari condoled with the husband of the deceased, Agbahime, the family, and relations, praying that God would give them the fortitude to bear the loss.
The President had said, “The incident at the Kofar Wambai Market, Kano City, is utterly condemnable, and the state government has been quite proactive.
“Let us ensure that we keep the peace, as justice will be done. Let us learn to respect each other’s faith so that we can know each other and live together in peace.”