Few weeks ago, Nigerians on social media were outraged following the news that a Kano-based musician, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, had been sentenced to death by hanging for reportedly blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad. Activists and citizens alike, wielded loud opinions on the matter, declaring the verdict as extreme and a violation of human rights.
However, no one saw the latest development coming and this announcement shook most people to their spine. A Sharia’a court had sentenced a 13-year-old, Umar Farouq, to 10 years in prison for the same ‘crime’ of blasphemy. The boy was convicted in August for making uncomplimentary remarks about God during an argument with a friend in northern Kano state.
At this point, even the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has kicked back against this ruling; calling it a “negation of all core underlying principles of child rights and child justice that Nigeria – and by implication, Kano state – has signed on to.”
The convict is merely a boy – a 13-year-old child and it’s frightening to think that even a child is not free from the unmerciful clutches of such a legal system. Kano is one of 12 Nigerian states still practising the Sharia’a legal system alongside the country’s secular laws and many believe that’s 12 too many.
A number of schools of thought believe that we have long evolved from the need of the ‘Sharia law.’ Religious beliefs and the laws of the land have no place intersecting. If allowed to go on, who knows how many unconstitutional and inhumane verdicts we might have to witness?
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks