The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), on Wednesday, condemned the sentencing of 13-year-old Omar Farouq to 10-year imprisonment with menial labour by the Kano State Sharia Court at Feli Hockey, Kano.
The boy was handed down the sentence having been convicted of blasphemy on August 10, 2020.
The Foundation for Religious Freedom had filed the appeal on his behalf at the Kano State High Court.
UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said the sentencing was wrong and negated the core underlying principles of child rights and child justice that Nigeria had signed.
He said though the UNICEF the Kano State Government for recently pass the Child Protection Bill, the boy’s sentencing further underlined the urgent need to accelerate the enactment of the bill to protect all children under 18, including Farouq.
“UNICEF will continue to support the Nigerian Government and Kano State Government on child protection system strengthening, including justice sector reform, to ensure that states put in place child-sensitive measures to handle cases involving children.
“This includes adopting alternative measures, in line with international best practice, for the treatment of children alleged to have committed offences that does not involve detention or deprivation of family care,” he said.