The cases of mob attacks against alleged blasphemy are on the high rise in Nigeria, as “many Shariah laws in northern Nigeria continue to criminalize blasphemy and result in harsh punishments for blasphemers,” according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The country’s Criminal Code prohibits any act that publicly insults any religion and stipulates a prison sentence of up to two years, while there are Islamic laws against blasphemy by sharia courts in 12 northern states.
Blasphemy accusations often trigger mob violence before authorities even get involved. Nigeria’s history is rife with mob killings and deadly riots over alleged blasphemy against Islam.
Currently, tension has gripped residents of Bauchi state in northeastern Nigeria as a fresh wave of violence broke out after angry youths went on rampage and beats a pastor mercilessly before burning down his house to ashes over alleged blasphemy.
According to media reports, a pastor has allegedly been injured, and many houses razed in the latest incident that occurred in the Katangan area of Warji Local Government Area of the State.
Trouble began when a message was allegedly circulated on social media that a Christian girl in the town allegedly engaged in blasphemy of Islam.
“Yes, the incident is true. It is an aftermath of the incident of the alleged blasphemy that happened in Sokoto over the weekend.
“The situation there is more than tension since many houses have been burnt down. But no life that was lost, to the best of my knowledge.
Area chief officer affirmed the incident, saying The offices belonging to alleged preacher in the city of Kaduna were also burned down for allegedly passing out information deemed to have been blasphemous. This was the catalyst for a spate of violent clashes between Muslim and Christians.
The area Assistant Chief further said that the Human Rights Watch have documented around two injuries during the clashes and criticized the authorities lacking effective action and resolve to bring those responsible to justice.
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