The Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, on Wednesday gave an account of what happened in Talata-Mafara community on Monday when eight people were set ablaze by a mob for rescuing an undergraduate accused of blasphemy.
Yari spoke with State House correspondents shortly after he and his Borno State counterpart, Kashim Shettima, met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“Intelligence reports from the security agencies indicated that there was a fight between two students, during which one said the other abused Prophet Muhammed. Students beat up the other boy, said to be a Yoruba from Kogi State. His religion was, however, in contention,” he said.
“They beat him until he collapsed and they thought he was dead. Then security personnel requested help from a shop owner who took him to the hospital in his car.
“When the students heard that the victim was still alive, they went to the hospital, but soldiers intervened. I don’t know if he is alive or dead.
“Then the students returned to the polytechnic and burnt the shop of the man who helped the victim. Unfortunately, the police in the division didn’t have enough men to contain the riot.
“Before reinforcement came, the crowd also burned down the man’s house. Everyone in the house was killed, all of them Muslims, despite the rumour in the social media that Christians were being killed in Zamfara.
“In fact, the mob wanted to go and burn churches and attack non-Muslims, but the security forces stopped them. It is my home town, where I also live.”
He said, “The government will not take the issue of people taking the laws into their own hands lightly.
“You cannot say that whoever abused the Prophet should be killed when there is a government in place.
“There are laws and there are courts where Islamic laws are practised in Zamfara. So, why should someone take laws into his hands? Definitely, all the culprits will be brought to book.”
He said although there was no arrest as of the time he left the state, policemen and officials of the Department of State Services were working hard to apprehend the culprits.
The governor said the accusation of blasphemy levelled against the victim was false.