Deborah’s murder attracted both local and international attention.


Deborah Samuel





What happened: reported that the deceased, a 200 Level student of Home Economics at Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, was murdered by some Muslim fanatics and set ablaze after she allegedly made a blasphemous comment about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Deborah had posted a voice message on the class WhatsApp group to caution his classmates against spamming the space with unsolicited religious materials, but this was misinterpreted as a denigration of the prophet of Islam by the extremists.


The reactions: The video of her ‘crucifixion’ which trended online for days sparked a nationwide and outrage and international condemnation.

The US honour: Meanwhile, the deceased has now been honoured in death by the US Department of State.



In marking the US International Day Commemorating the Victims of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, on August 22, Deborah’s picture was posted on the website of the US Office of Religious Freedom, The punch 



Honouring Deborah, the office wrote, “In May, a mob brutally stoned, flogged, and burned to death college student Deborah Samuel in Nigeria, in an attack fueled by hatred and blasphemy allegations, even as authorities attempted to stop it. We honor her life as we continue the work to end such vicious violence.

The US Department of State is known for promotion of universal respect for freedom of religion or belief for all as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy.

The office also monitors religiously motivated abuses, harassment, and discrimination worldwide, and recommends, develops, and implements policies and programs to address such concerns.


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