06/29/2023 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) ––The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) condemned the recent killing of Usman Buda, a Muslim man from northeast Nigeria’s Sokoto State in a statement. Buda, a butcher by trade, was accused of blasphemy and killed in broad daylight by a mob gathered in the Sokoto Fish and Vegetable Market.
Videos showing the stoning depict children joining the mob milling around Buda and throwing objects at Buda, who struggles to stand in the video. Soon after, he fell unconscious and was declared dead upon arrival at a local hospital.
“[Buda’s killing] is unlawful,” CAN said in a statement signed by association president Daniel Okoh Thursday. “CAN firmly believe in the freedom of religion and the peaceful expression of beliefs. We, therefore, denounce any form of violence or jungle justice in the name of religion.”
Okoh and other Christian leaders have collaborated with Muslim leaders to condemn the killing in the days since the incident.
Some media reports suggest that Buda was killed by business partners or competitors after engaging on theology with a beggar asking for money. Other sources report that Buda made a statement interpreted as derogatory of the Islamic prophet Mohammed. In any case, a mob shouting “Allahu Akbar” quickly gathered to avenge the supposed blasphemy and killed Buda.
In a similar case, Deborah Emmanuel, a student at the College of Sokoto, was also stoned to death by a Muslim mob last year for supposedly blasphemous statements. Emmanuel was a Christian, while Buda is reported to have been a devout Muslim.
No one has been arrested for Buda’s killing yet, Nigerian police confirmed.
Last year, two suspects were arrested over the Emmanuel killing but were recently released without punishment. In contrast, individuals falsely accused of blasphemy often languish in prison for years before their cases are tried.
“This tragic incident underscores the urgent need for increased efforts to foster religious tolerance, peace, and unity in our diverse society,” the CAN statement from Thursday continued. “CAN will continue to advocate for the protection of all citizens’ rights, regardless of their religious affiliations. We urge religious leaders and followers to promote interfaith dialogue and peaceful coexistence for a harmonious Nigeria. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Usman Buda during this difficult time.”
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