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Blasphemy: Appeal court orders retrial of Kano singer sentenced to death

A Court of Appeal sitting in Kano State has dismissed an appeal filed by a Kano-based singer, Aminu Shariff Yahaya, against the judgement of a…

A Court of Appeal sitting in Kano State has dismissed an appeal filed by a Kano-based singer, Aminu Shariff Yahaya, against the judgement of a Kano State High Court judgment that ordered his retrial for blasphemy.

 The appellate court affirmed that the Kano State Shariah Penal Code of 2000 did not contravene the Nigerian constitution.

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 Delivering the judgement virtually on Wednesday, Justice Abubakar Mu’azu Lamido ruled that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria empowers states through the state assemblies to make laws.

 He ruled that the Nigerian constitution recognises the freedom of religion but does not allow the adoption of a state religion.

 Yahaya, who was convicted and sentenced to death by a Shariah Court in Kano in August 2020, had earlier asked the state high court to squash the judgement.

 The high court in November 2020 overruled the sentence and ordered for retrial of the case at the Shariah Court, citing failure to follow proper procedures because the accused had no legal representation in the trial.

 Dissatisfied, Aminu through his counsel, Kola Alapinni, appealed to the Court of Appeal to determine “Whether the learned high court judges were right to order for a retrial instead of an acquittal after quashing, annulling and vacating the position of the Sharia Court.

“Whether or not the decision of the high court is right in declaring that the Kano State Sharia Penal Code Law 2000 is constitutional”.

 The Kano Shariah Penal Code 2000 provides the death penalty for blasphemy.

 Since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, at least 12 states in northern Nigeria have adopted the Islamic legal system called Shariah in certain designated cases.

 

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