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Blasphemy killing: How Muslim vigilante fell to mob justice after row with Islamic scholar

Blasphemy killing: How Muslim vigilante fell to mob justice after row with Islamic scholar
June 05
10:35 2022

Ahmad Usman, a 30-year-old vigilante, was killed on Saturday afternoon in the Lugbe area of Abuja for alleged blasphemy.

Usman was said to have insulted Prophet Muhammad during an engagement with Mallam Lawan, an Islamic scholar and fried yam seller in the market.

The deceased and his colleagues were said to have been on a raid of the market to enforce the closure of shops and stalls around 12am on Saturday.

The vigilante group is responsible for guarding the Timber market at the Federal Housing Estate, Lugbe.

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TheCable understands that there is a law in the market forbidding traders from operating beyond 12am.

During the raid, Usman was said to have instructed Lawan to lock up his shop.

According to a witness, Lawan argued with Usman over the directive, and the latter vowed to arrest him even if “the prophet comes down to beg him”.

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“They had resolved the matter around 1 am this morning and everyone had gone to sleep,” the witness said.

Mallam Lawan’s shop

Usman’s colleague, Abbah Bakko, told TheCable that around 1 pm on Saturday, a group led by Lawan came to the vigilante office to accuse the deceased of blasphemy.

“We were all shocked that the issue that happened last night was turned into a case of blasphemy and they brought tyres,” Bakko said. “The crowd kept gathering until the mob dragged him out, beat him and burned him down.

“You can see our boss is not around. He has gone with other people to bury him (Usman).”

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Some traders said Lawan is a member of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), but TheCable could not independently verify the claim.

According to Josephine Adeh, FCT police command spokesperson, normalcy has since been restored to the section of the market, while monitoring and surveillance of the area continues.

The police statement reads: “Upon the receipt of this information, a quick intervention team comprising of The Surveillance and Ambush team of the Command attached to the Gwagwalada Divisional Police Headquarters was drafted to the scene where the enflamed victim was rescued suffering severe degrees of burn and taken immediately to the hospital where he was confirmed dead by a Doctor on call.”

“Normalcy has since been restored to the situation, while monitoring and surveillance of the area continues. Residents are therefore urged to go about their lawful duties without fear or apprehension of any kind from any quarters as discreet investigation continues to unravel facts surrounding the ugly incident and to effect the arrest of the perpetrators therein.”

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The spot where Usman was burned to death

The killing of Usman is the third reported incident of mob action over alleged blasphemy in the country in less than one month.

On May 12, Deborah Emmanuel, a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, was murdered over alleged blasphemy.

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Videos of the late student being stoned and beaten with sticks were shared on social media.

Her killing had sparked outrage across the country, with Nigerians asking the government to fish out the perpetrators of the crime.

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A few days later, Naomi Goni, a student in Borno state, was alleged to have made a blasphemous statement against the Prophet Muhammed on her Facebook page.

The development had resulted in calls for the Borno state government to intervene in the matter, with some youths threatening to take action.

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Similarly, on May 21, a pastor was reportedly injured in an attack in the Katangan area of Warji LGA of Bauchi over an alleged case of blasphemy.

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