Nigerian musician sentenced to hanging for blasphemy

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

A Northern Nigerian musician from the state of Kano has been sentenced to death by hanging for blaspheming against the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. 

An upper Sharia court in the area of Kano stated that musician Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, 22, was guilty of committing blasphemy through a song of his, which circulated via Whatsapp back in February.

Sharif-Aminu, who resides in the Kano Municipal, was taken to court by Islamic police on a count charge of inciting religious creed contrary to section 382 (b) of Kano State Sharia Penal Code Law 2000, a law which does not apply to non-muslims. 

Various states across the Northern Nigeria use both secular law and Sharia law due to many of those states being muslim-majority.

The trial judge, Khadi Muhammad Ali-Kani, said that the offence committed by Sharif-Aminu was an act against the Islamic Law. 

The musician pleaded guilty to the charge laid against him.

Online Nigerian news site, The Whistler, reported that Inspector Aminu Yar-Goje of The Prosecution Counsel, had told the court during the trial that Sharif-Aminu made a blasphemous post via a Whatsapp group with the intentions to hurt the feelings of faithful Muslims. 

“The convict made blasphemous and degrading audio remarks against Prophet Muhammad”, Yar-Goje said.

Protester Idris Ibrahim outside the Hisbah in Kano. Picture: Twitter

Judge Ali-Kani thereafter sentenced Sharif-Aminu to death by hanging in a ruling on Monday, adding that he could appeal his sentence in thirty days.

The Whistler also wrote that when the song went viral back in February and early March, protestors had gathered outside the headquarters of the Islamic police, known as the Hisbah, demanding the arrest of the musician for his derogatory comment made against Prophet Muhammad. 

Few people have heard of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu outside of Northern Nigeria. He is an Islamic gospel musician whose music is mostly received in the state of Kano and the Tijaniyya sect.

The last time a Nigerian Sharia court passed a death sentence was back in 2016 when Abdulazeez Inyass, was sentenced to death for blaspheming against Islam during after a secret trial in Kano.

Inyass was alleged to have said that Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the Senegalese founder of the Tijaniya sect, which has a large following across West Africa, “was bigger than Prophet Muhammad”.

Inyass’ sentence has not been carried out yet as a death penalty in Nigeria requires the sign-off of the state governor.

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