A 13 years old boy Umar Faruk has been convicted in a Sharia court in Kano State after he was accused of using foul language toward Allah during an argument with a friend.
The boy was sentenced on 10th August,2020 by the same court that recently sentenced a studio assistant Yahaya Sharif-Aminu to death for blaspheming Prophet Mohammed (SAW).
Omar Farouq was sentenced to 10 years in prison with menial labour.
Child rights agency UNICEF has condemned the sentencing of the13-year-old boy to 10 years in prison for blasphemy.
His counsel Kola Alapinni has said ”The punishment is in violation of the African Charter of the Rights and Welfare of a Child and the Nigerian constitution’
According to CNN, Kola Alapinni and other lawyers working on the case have not been granted access to Faruk by authorities in Kano State.
Kola found out about Farouq’s case by chance when working on the case of Sharif-Aminu, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy at the Kano Upper Sharia Court.
“We found out they were convicted on the same day, by the same judge, in the same court, for blasphemy and we found out no one was talking about Umar, so we had to move quickly to file an appeal for him,” said Alapinni
“Blasphemy is not recognized by Nigerian law. It is inconsistent with the constitution of Nigeria.”
UNICEF on Wednesday had issued a statement expressing deep concern for the child who was sentenced.
“The sentencing of this child — 13-year-old Omar Farouk –to 10 years in prison with menial labour is wrong,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF representative in Nigeria.
“It also negates all core underlying principles of child rights and child justice that Nigeria — and by implication, Kano State — has signed on to.“
UNICEF has called on the Nigerian government and the Kano State government to urgently review the case and reverse the sentence, the organization said in a statement.
“This case further underlines the urgent need to accelerate the enactment of the Kano State Child Protection Bill so as to ensure that all children under 18, including Omar Farouq are protected — and that all children in Kano are treated in accordance with child rights standards,” Hawkins said.
The mother of the convict has fled to a neighboring town after mobs descended on their home following his arrest.
The People in Kano state are mostly Muslims as such the state practice Islamic law alongside Secular law.
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Khadija Ali is an Editor at VouxElan, a Medical student from Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto. A promising writer & a books addict.