Christianah Oluwatoyin Oluwasesin, a teacher at Government Secondary School of Gandu in this northern Nigerian town, was in high spirits last Wednesday (March 21) as she made her way to school where she teaches government.
Soon her happiness would be cut short. Muslim students at the school, along with outside Islamic extremists, murdered Oluwasesin on March 21 over claims that she desecrated the Quran. They beat, stoned, and clubbed her to death, then burned her corpse.
As a supervisor of a class writing a final examination on Islamic Religious knowledge on that day, Oluwasesin was responsible for ensuring that students strictly kept rules and to prevent mischief in the hall, which had become common among cheating students, said Aluke Musa Yila, a fellow teacher at the school.
Musa told Compass that Oluwasesin had collected papers, books and bags before the exam in the all-girls class, in accordance with school procedures to prevent cheating, and dropped the materials in front of the class.
While noting that Oluwasesin was not aware the belongings included a Quran, a local newspaper reported she tossed the belongings outside the classroom. But Musa, who rushed into the classroom soon after students began yelling, told Compass that Oluwasesin had dropped the belongings in front of the class.
“Usually such items are returned to every student as each returns her answer script,” Musa said. “Soon after the bags collected by Oluwasesin were dropped in front of the class, one of the girls in the class began to cry. She told her colleagues that she had a copy of the Quran in her bag, that Oluwasesin touched the bag, and that by doing so she had desecrated the Quran, since she was a Christian.”
Soon after the student raised this alarm, other students in class began to shout “Allahu Akbar [God is great].”
“While we were thinking of ways to take Oluwasesin out of the school, the Muslims broke into the principal’s office and dragged her out,” he said. “The principal rushed there to save her as they clubbed her with an iron on the head and blood was gushing out from the wounded side of the head. He was pleading that they should not kill her, but they were insisting that she must be killed.”
The school has been closed down since the incident. Principal Mallam Mohammed Saddique, who was injured in the melee, could not be reached for comment, but Vice-Principal Hajiya Hadiza Ali Gombe told Compass that the situation had been brought under control.
“There is no more problem,” she said, declining to speak further on the issue.
Read it all over at Compass Direct News