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Kano Singer, Yahaya Shariff-Aminu Finally Appeals Death Sentence Judgement On Blasphemy

Shariff-Minu said Sharia law which formed the basis of his conviction was illegal and unconstitutional.

A 22-year-old musician, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, who was sentenced to death by hanging for blasphemy against Prophet Muhammed, has appealed the judgment before Kano State High Court.

Kano Singer, Yahaya Shariff-Aminu Finally Appeals Death Sentence Judgement On Blasphemy 1

KanyiDaily recalls that a Sharia Court in Kano State had sentenced Sharif-Aminu to death by hanging on August 10, 2020, but was given 30 days to file an appeal.

The singer was accused of committing blasphemy against the Holy Prophet Muhammad in a song he released via WhatsApp in March 2020.

Even though the court granted him a 30-day grace to appeal the judgment, Sharif-Aminu was allegedly denied access to a lawyer, a claim confirmed by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

Last week August 27th, Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje expressed readiness to sign the musician’s death warrant if his 30 days elapses on September 9th without his appeal.

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With the deadline of appeal expiring next week, Sharif-Aminu’s counsel, Kola Alapini, has finally filed a suit at the Kano State High Court on Thursday, September 3.

In the notice of appeal marked CR/43/2020, the singer pleaded that the court should set aside the judgement because the Sharia law used to convict him was unconstitutional.

He noted that the law conflicts with the Nigerian constitution, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Also, he argued that his confessional statement and plea in the court is legally irrelevant in the absence of a valid law criminalising the alleged conduct.

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He added that the Sharia law is only applicable and permissible in Islamic theocracies or countries whose constitution allows for such laws and not in Nigeria- a secular State with constitutional democracy.

“The offence of Blasphemy is no longer a cognisable offence in Nigerian by virtue of Section 10 standing alone or in conjunction with Sections 38 and 39 of the Constitution respectively.

“A capital offence seeking to terminate human life must comply strictly and especially with the right to life provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he stated further.

Mr Sharif-Aminu said his trial was devoid of transparency, not conducted in an open court and there is no record of proceedings indicating any compliance with due process.

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He further alleged that the Kano State Government, as a party and prosecutor to the complaint, is a complicit party when it failed to provide adequate security and equal enforcement of secular laws.

“The Kano State Government lacks the constitutional authority to adopt legislative mechanism to exclusively compensate Muslims for its lack of performance in providing good order and security by enacting unconstitutional laws that curtail the right to freedom of expression and freedom of conscience and blasphemy laws essentially censored religious opinions, critical expression of human conscience and thoughts and significantly.

“The Kano State Government as a party and prosecutor to the complaint is was a complicit party when it failed to provide adequate security and equal enforcement of secular laws and good order for all citizens/residents regardless of ethnicity or religious affiliations and thereby encourages religious fundamentalism, vigilante activities, insecurity, lawlessness, mob actions, all of which blasphemy law or provisions seek to justify unlawfully in order to placate Muslims,” Mr Sharif-Aminu argued.

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He said the entity called Kano State is a creation of the constitution and thus cannot operate outside the constitution.

The musician, therefore, prayed the court to set aside the trial, conviction, and sentencing handed down by the Sharia Court and entering a judgment in his favour.

KanyiDaily recalls that the Supreme Council for Shari’ah in Nigeria had also urged Governor Ganduje to execute the court judgement that found the singer guilty of blasphemy.

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