A legal team of 34 lawyers yesterday appeared in defence of the two suspects, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci, arraigned over last Thursday’s murder of a 200-level female student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Deborah Yakubu,
The suspects, who are students of the college were arraigned before a Sokoto Chief Magistrate’s Court, under tight security for their alleged murder of their colleague, pleaded not guilty to the crime.
In the First Information Report (FIR), prosecuting police officer, Inspector Khalil Musa, told the court that they were accused of participating in a disturbance act that led to the death of Samuel on May 12, this year.
When the charges were read to them, the accused pleaded not guilty.
The leader of the defence team, Professor Mansur Ibrahim, applied for bail on behalf of the accused persons.
Ibrahim urged the court to grant the accused bail on liberal terms, citing constitutional provisions and sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.
The trial judge (name withheld for security reasons), however, reserved ruling on the bail application to a later date which will be communicated to the lawyers and ordered the accused to be remanded at a correctional centre.
Meanwhile, the general overseer of Omega Power Ministries, Chibuzor Chinyere, has offered “automatic scholarships” to the seven siblings of the late Deborah.
Deborah was stoned and burnt alive on the school campus for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammad.
Reacting in a Facebook post on Monday, Chinyere promised Deborah’s parents jobs and a better life.
The cleric wrote, “I just watched a video clip where the parents of Deborah Samuel said they will not be sending their children to school again. God forbid.
“Anyone with their contacts should inform them immediately that I Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere the general overseas of OPM Church is relocating them to Port Harcourt.They would be staying in one of the OPM Free Estates where they will never pay rent forever.
“All their children are given automatic scholarships in OPM Free Schools.
“I will get the father a job and I will also open a shop for the mother. Please get in touch with them immediately,” he said.
Chinyere had earlier in March offered scholarships to two Nigerian security guards who were sacked after being seen dancing during work hours in a viral video.
The security guards, known as The Happy Boys, have since travelled out of the country for studies.
Deborah’s killing has sparked outrage in Nigeria and overseas with calls for justice and swift prosecution of those arrested in connection with the crime.
However, some Muslim youths and leaders have demanded for the release of the suspects and took to the streets last Saturday in Sokoto.
The protesters vandalised and burnt market stalls, churches and structures perceived to belong to Christians.
Governor Aminu Tambuwal subsequently imposed a curfew on the state to stem the violence that broke out.
Last Sunday, the deceased’s mother, Aileri Emmanuel, had said that she would never send her remaining seven children to school because of the barbaric murder of her daughter.
Emmanuel amid tears said, “I have no demands; I don’t want anything but one thing I know is that my children will never go to school again.”
The deceased’s father, Garba Emmanuel, who is a security guard with the Niger State Water and Sanitation, also lamented that he used his whole savings to send his eldest child (Deborah) to school.