Upper Sharia Court Sentences Man to Death for Blasphemy

Yahaya Sharif Aminu
Yahaya Sharif Aminu

On August 10, 2020, an upper Sharia court in  Kano, the Kano State capital, found Mr.Yahaya Sharif-Aminu guilty of committing blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad over a song he shared in a WhatsApp group in March 2020 and sentenced him to death by hanging.

The trial Judge, Khadi Muhammad Ali-Kani, said the offence was against the Islamic Law and thereafter sentenced Yahaya to death by hanging under section 382 (b) of Kano State Sharia Panel Code Law 2000 saying the convict could appeal the sentence within 30 days.

Yahaya had in his submission before the court pleaded guilty to the charge.

The sentence can however not be executed without the approval of the state governor.

The Prosecution Counsel, Inspector AminuYar-Goje, had alleged that the Yahaya made a blasphemous post via a WhatsApp group platform named: “GidanUmmaAbiha” with the intention to hurt the feelings of Muslim faithful.“The convict made blasphemous and degrading audio remarks against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH),” Aminu said.

States across Northern Nigeria use both secular law and Sharia law; the Sharia law does not apply to non-Muslims.

Only one of the death sentences passed by Nigeria’s Sharia courts has been carried out since they were reintroduced in 1999.

The last time a Nigerian Sharia court passed a death sentence was in 2016 when AbdulazeezInyass, was sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam during after a secret trial in Kano.

Abdulazeez was alleged to have said that Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the Senegalese cleric credited with reviving the Tijaniya sect and spreading it across West Africa, “was bigger than Prophet Muhammad”.

The Sharia system, which also has its own Court of Appeal, handles both civil and criminal matters involving Muslims and its judgments can also be challenged in Nigeria’s secular Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court.