A Pro-Democracy and Human Rights Civil Society Organisation, CSO, Concerned Nigerians, on Wednesday, condemned alleged death sentence on a musician based in Kano, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, by an Upper Sharia Court setting in Kano, for allegedly blaspheming against Prophet Mohammed.
This was contained in a statement signed by the spokesman, CN, Theophilus Abu Agada, where the organization described the sentence as “repulsive to natural justice, equity and a good conscience and a gross violation of his rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and expression.”
According to the statement, it is hypocritical on the part of the religious and political class to always hound vulnerable Nigerians on trivial matters while they commit the most heinous crimes against God and humanity.
The statement reads in part, “We condemn in strong terms, the death sentence by hanging for a Kano-based artiste, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, for blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad. “The injustice faced by non-religious and even religious people in some parts of Nigeria is unbecoming. Every Nigerian, irrespective of their belief, should be allowed to practice whatever they believe without being arrested, detained, and sentenced to death.
“It is hypocritical on the part of the religious and political class to always hound vulnerable Nigerians on trivial matters while they commit the most heinous crimes against God and humanity.
“The arrest and detention of Yahaya is a breach of section 38 of our constitution which states that “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including the freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private, to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice, and observance.”
According to the statement, the existence of the death penalty for blasphemy was a prime facie violation of the rights to freedom of thought and expression, and injustices faced by both religious and non-religious people alike must stop.
“It is fundamental that the Nigerian government, Kano state and other states in Northern Nigeria take into cognizance, section 10 of our constitution which stated that the Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion. “Yahaya by law has not committed any crime against the state or any person or group of persons to warrant a death sentence by hanging”, it pointed.
The statement also asserted that international law permits the death penalty only in exceptional circumstances, and requires incontrovertible evidence of intentional murder. “Carrying out the death sentence by hanging of Mr. Yahaya Sharif-Aminu for blaspheming against Prophet Mohammed by Upper Sharia Court in the Hausawa Filin Hockey area of Kano would amount to an arbitrary killing”, it added.