On June 25, Usman Buda, a butcher was killed at an abattoir in Sokoto State, over alleged blasphemy, but a veterinary doctor in the abattoir said he was unjustly murdered for reiterating the words of an embattled Bauchi-based cleric, Sheikh Idris Abdul’aziz.
During his Ramadan lecture, the cleric uttered some words described as blasphemous by some clerics. According to him, Islam prohibits intercession [in the course of supplications] either with the name of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) or any saint’s. He has since been in a legal tussle with the Bauchi State Government.
The slain Usman was said to have borrowed from the cleric’s words, according to a phone conversation posted on Twitter by one Kawu Garba.
In the conversation, the veterinary doctor whose name was not mentioned said the butcher was framed by someone who held personal grudges against him.
The doctor said he had known Usman for four years. “He sells meat by the gate of the market. At first, I was not even aware that he was the one that was killed,” he said.
“I am a veterinary doctor, we usually do meat inspection, so I asked my fellow colleague who was on duty that day to inspect the meats,” he continued. “About what actually happened in the market that day, my colleague said the problem was that someone misinterpreted what Usman spoke about. You remember this issue about Mallam Abdul’aziz Bauchi? That was what they were talking about.”
He described Usman as a true worshiper who loves gracing religious gatherings. “Usman is a dedicated follower of Islam wherever Imams are reading the Quran, you will always see him there, he was so very much dedicated,” he said.
According to him, Usman repeated the words of the sheikh while having a heated conversation with someone who later picked a knife to split his blood for what he deduced as blasphemy.
Before Usman was lynched, some security officers in the market, he said, tried to rescue him but they were overpowered.
The veterinary doctor said Usman could have been “handed over to the authorities and allowed a Sharia court to judge the matter instead of killing him.”
He believes the deceased is a victim of jungle justice. Last year, Deborah Emmanuel, a 200-level student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State, was murdered by her schoolmates who accused her of blaspheming Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
The police later arrested suspects in connection to the crime. However, they were set free as police frustrated the trial.