Blasphemy: Ezekwesili, Odinkalu boycott NBA conference in Sokoto
Nigeria’s former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, and Human rights activist and lawyer, Chidi Odinkalu, have cancelled their scheduled attendance and participation at the Nigerian Bar Association event slated to begin this weekend in Sokoto State, following the lynching of a female student in the state.
Deborah Samuel, a Christian 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education Sokoto, was killed for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
The Bring Back Our Girls convener is one of the speakers for a special panel at the annual programme, which is scheduled to hold from Sunday, May 22 to Thursday, May 26, 2022.
“I have decided to withdraw my speaking commitment to @NigBarAssoc for its event holding in Sokoto,” she tweeted on Friday. “I was billed to speak from abroad via Zoom but even now will no longer do so. NBA should seize this moment to reflect on how relevant its actions are in a troubled democracy.”
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The former minister asked the NBA’s President, Olumide Akpata, to ensure the association engage in judicial activism for Deborah and others who had suffered the same fate as her.
“This would have been my session at the @NigBarAssoc conference in Sokoto: I shall no longer participate. NBA owes citizens like #DeborahSamuel #EuniceOlawale #BridgetAgbaheme the judicial activism to enforce Justice. It is not late. Start now @OlumideAkpata. Thank you,” she wrote.
Also, Odinkalu said he would no longer be part of the Section on Public Interest and Development Law, SPIDEL, conference in the state.
In a statement on Friday, Odinkalu said, “I was prepared to suspend final decision on participating in Sokoto until I heard from the leadership of SPIDEL.
“Having now heard from them, it is clear to me that they do not get the significance of this issue. I am now convinced that I will be unable to accept an invite to participate in the SPIDEL conference.
“So, I, Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, am cancelling my participation. I will, in addition, actively campaign against the meeting.
“Everyone has to take their own decision. The SPIDEL leadership has taken its decision. I have taken mine. This is a matter of conscience.”