By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
ABUJA (Worthy News) – Christians have appealed for prayers and advocacy on behalf of Rhoda Ya’u Jatau, a woman detained in Nigeria since May for posting protests against the killing of a Christian student on social media.
“Rhoda received a message on [messaging service] WhatsApp condemning Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu’s death and proceeded to share that message with others. A group of Muslims who saw Rhoda’s post accused her of committing blasphemy as well, and thereby sought to kill her,” said advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC).
Security services detained the 45-year-old on May 20 in Nigeria’s Bauchi state, and the accused believer has been incarcerated ever since, according to several Christian sources.
Earlier in May, Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu was killed by a Muslim mob in the northwestern city of Sokoto over accusations that the Christian had “blasphemed” the Islamic prophet Mohammed during a WhatsApp group chat.
“The news of this murder understandably shook other Nigerian Christians,” and Rhoda Ya’u Jatau shared those concerns with a larger audience, VOMC explained.
“According to her lawyer, Rhoda has been accused of ‘inciting public disturbance,’ ‘exciting contempt of religious creed,’ and ‘cyberstalking,’” VOMC added. “Efforts to secure bail have been thwarted due to interference from governing authorities and opposing Islamic groups,” the group added.
Seven months after her arrest, her husband Ya’u Adamu was reportedly banned from visiting her. Ya’u, along with their five children, was also forced to relocate to another city for their safety, according to Christians familiar with the case.
No more details were released amid security concerns. “To gain his wife’s release, Ya’u has been forced to sell all of his belongings in order to finance the required legal assistance,” VOMC recalled.
VOMC urged prayers for the detained woman and her family and for “international advocacy of other countries to ensure justice is being upheld” for her and others in Nigeria facing “persecution for their Christian faith.”
Thousands of Christians are known to have been killed in Nigeria this and in previous years, often by Islamist fighters operating in several parts of the troubled African nation.
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