Rampaging thugs have destroyed the Sokoto Diocese of the Catholic Church headed by Bishop Matthew Kukah.
St Bakhita, which serves as the secretariat of the diocese, was set alight amid demonstrations for the release of Deborah Samuel’s murder suspects, according to pictures and videos shared online.
The videos geolocated by Peoples Gazette showed that the church along Aliyu Jodi Road was the same building claimed to have been burnt by rampaging thugs.
It was unclear if the church was targeted for arson because of Mr Kukah’s statement condemning Ms Samuel’s gruesome murder or if it was a random hit by the thugs.
When contacted by The Gazette, Mr Kukah said he was on his way out of Sokoto. The windy background on the bishop’s end of the call confirmed he was indeed on the move.
The Gazette could not independently verify if the respected religious leader was being smuggled out of the state for his safety at the time of filing this report.
A spokesman for the police in Sokoto did not immediately comment on the destruction of St Bakhita.
It was gathered that the police fired teargas to disperse protesters from breaking into the church earlier in the day, but the attackers regrouped after the police vans left the neighbourhood, witnesses said.
Deborah, a 200-level student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, was lynched and set ablaze by her Muslim colleagues for allegedly insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.
The angry mob had stormed Deborah’s hostel, dragged her out before beating her to death and setting her body ablaze.
The Sokoto State Police Command later announced that it had arrested two suspects, with investigations going on to arrest more killers.
According to the Sokoto police spokesman, Sanusi Abubakar, the mob overpowered campus security before killing the female student and setting her remains on fire.