After spending 18 months in prison for condemning the alleged killing of Samuel Deborah in Sokoto State, Rhoda Jatau, a mother of five from Bauchi, has regained her freedom. Ogunwatch learned that her release was facilitated through interventions by prominent organizations, including the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), and Christian Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria.
Jatau had been in detention since May 2022, facing charges of blasphemy for sharing a video that condemned the lynching of Samuel Deborah, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto. Deborah was brutally murdered after advising against the dissemination of religious materials on a WhatsApp page.
While the specific bail conditions and the court granting her release were not disclosed, a reliable source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Rhoda Jatau was released on bail on Friday. The Inter-Religious Council was instrumental in securing her release.
The Christian community in Nigeria, outraged by Jatau’s prolonged detention, mobilized efforts to bring attention to her case. CAN, NIREC, and Christian Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria were pivotal in advocating for her release.
A source who spoke to The Punch stated, “Following the outcry from the Christian community in Nigeria over the continued detention of Rhoda Jatau in Bauchi Prison, the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, and Christian Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria have swiftly intervened in the matter.”
“We are pleased to report that Mrs. Rhoda has been granted bail and subsequently released from detention today. We have high hopes that the case will end in praise. Let’s continue to uphold her in our prayers. The leadership of NIREC played a key role. Praise be to our God,” the source added.
Rhoda Jatau’s release marks a significant development in a case that garnered widespread attention and raised concerns about freedom of expression and religious tolerance in Nigeria.