The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata, has said the association may apply for a fiat to take over the prosecution of suspects arrested in connection with the lynching of a 200-level Home Economics student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto State, Deborah Yakubu, by a mob who accused her of blaspheming Prophet Muhammad.
The mob stoned the victim to death and subsequently set her corpse ablaze while a video recording of the act was made.
The killing generated nationwide outrage and condemnation, with many calling for justice.
The police had on Monday taken two suspects – Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci – before a Sokoto State Magistrates’ Court where they were reportedly arraigned on charges bordering on ‘public disturbance.’
But the NBA, in a statement by Akpata, said it was worried by “yet-to-be confirmed reports reaching us that the suspects have been charged with mere breach of public peace in an episode that cut short Deborah’s life in her prime.”
The NBA President said, “The NBA is strongly opposed to a banalisation of the situation, and if these reports are true, then we call on the Sokoto State Government to immediately rethink its prosecution strategy and file charges that truly reflect the gravity of the situation.”
During a telephone interview on Thursday, Akpata said that beyond the statement, the NBA might apply for a fiat to take over the prosecution if the right thing was not done.
He said the NBA’s initial statement was to let the police know that the body was watching and expected the police to do more.
“We know that in a mob action like this, investigation may take time, but our statement was to let the police know that we are watching.
“We will let our colleagues in the Sokoto State Ministry of Justice do their work. We may apply for fiat to take over the case,” Akpata said.