Appeal court affirms Kano singer’s blasphemy case retrial

AdewoleAugust 17, 2022

The Court of Appeal, Kano Division, on Wednesday, affirmed the judgment of Kano State High Court, Appellate Division that ordered a retrial of blasphemy case against Kano Singer, Aminu Yahaya Sharif, who was sentenced to death for committing derogatory remarks against the personality of Prophet Muhammad.

Sharif, a resident of Sharifai in Kano was arrested and arraigned before Upper Shari’a Court for committing blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad in a song he circulated via social media sometimes in 2020.

He was charged under section 382 (B) of Shari’a Penal Code Law of Kano 2000 and consequently convicted to death by Upper Shari’a Court Filin Hockey in Kano.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, his counsel, Barrister Kola Alapinni, approached the Kano State Court asking it to quash the judgment of the trial court, on the ground that the convict was not represented by a lawyer, which is contrary to the doctrine of fair hearing and natural justice.

Alapinni also urged the court to quash the charge against Sharif, alleging that the Sharia Penal Code Law contravened the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

In its judgement delivered on 21 January 2021, the Kano State High court, Appeal Division presided over Justice Nura Sagir ordered for a fresh trial of the case with full representation of his counsel.

Against the judgement of the Kano State High Court, Appeal Division, Sharif again filed an appeal before Appeal Court, Kano Division.

After perusal of the submissions and legal arguments of both appellant and defendant on Wednesday, the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the Kano State High Court.

Similarly, the court upheld the legality of Shari’a Penal Code Law, 2000.

It was also recognised as a capital offense punishable with death under Kano State Shari’a Code Law 2000.

The three-man panel of justices that passed the judgement include Justice I G Mbaba, Justice B M Ugo and Justice Abubakar Muaz Lamido.

It was gathered that Justice Mbaba dissented with the majority while Justices Ugo and Lamido upheld the judgement of the Kano State High Court and consequently ordered for retrial.

The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Musa Lawan, described the judgement as a victory for the entire Kano citizens.

He said the appeal court has fully recognized Kano State Shari’a Penal Code Law, 2000.

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