Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Thursday endorsed death sentence passed on 22-year-old Yahaya Sharif-Aminu by upper Shari’a court for blaspheming.
Sharif-Aminu, a resident of Sharifai quarters in Kano municipal, was sued for “insulting religious creed, contrary to section 382 (b) of Kano State Shari’a Penal Code Law 2000.”
According to the litigation, he committed blasphemy against the prophet in a song he circulated that went viral via WhatsApp in March 2020. The Shari’a court, presided by Khadi Aliyu Muhammad Kani, found him guilty of the charge and orderd he should be hanged until he dies.
Ganduje applauded the judgment while speaking at Africa House, Government House, Kano, in a “Special Meeting” with Muslim Ulamahs.
Leaders of the Ulamahs, who represented the three major sects of Islam: Izalah, Tijjaniyya and Kadiriyya, unanimously hailed the judgment.
The meeting also had in attendance the Commissioner of Police, Director State Security Service (DSS), Representative of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Eze of Kano Chief Boniface Ibekwe, Representatives of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Representatives of Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN) and Comptroller of Kano Correctional Centre.
The governor Ganduje noted that the involvement of the Ulamahs and the court’s verdict is very “important to the security of Kano state and the country,” as it prevented what would have been extrajudicial killing.
“What the Court did is absolutely right. And we support it completely. Such kind of irresponsible act, if not because of the state power, nobody could know what would happen in the future.
“The man who did that (blasphemy), confessed to be a follower of a particular Islamic Sect. But the adherents of the sect rejected him right away. So, we need to understand the importance of this judgement. We are lucky that scholars maintained that it wasn’t a case for a particular Sect, but rather of one who just decided to derail.
“The state government has accepted the death sentence verdict and the rule of law surrounding the case. I will not waste time in signing the warrant for the execution of the man who blasphemed our Holy Prophet of Islam,” Ganduje said.
The accused, however, has the right to appeal which exhausts at the Supreme Court. He was sentenced to death on August 10 and had 30 days to appeal. Today (Friday), he has 12 days left to file an appeal, failure to which he will be killed.
Ganduje said the Kano State government also respects the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which gives a person convicted the right of appeal. And while he is appealing, the government has no right to sign the death warrant.
He said: “If he does not appeal within the 30 days, I, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the Executive Governor of Kano, will sign the death warrant. If he exhausts his appeal at the Supreme Court, I will not waste a minute to sign the death warrant.”
The prison service said the accused (Sharif-Aminu) has not appealed the judgment, yet. No lawyer has also shown up to his defense, it was learnt.
Ganduje commended the manner in which the Court handled the case. He also commended all sections of the society for not fomenting trouble when the case was in the court.
“Our eyes are there following everything bit by bit. We thank Almighty Allah, that the court sitting went on successfully. Lawyers just told us that the case could go up to Supreme Court. So, if that happens, I will not waste time in approving the verdict right away. And the second issue is, if the victim did not take up the case to appellate courts, I will not waste time to give the approval for the execution. I will not take more than few minutes to accept the verdict.”