Nigeria's social media space is currently filled with outrage over the death sentence handed out to a singer over for blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
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Social media opinions on the issue are heated and diverse, emotions are running high; many want the Nigerian government to intervene.
But there are still some missing links regarding the burning issue as only a few journalists were reportedly allowed entry into the court.
A report by Daily Trust assembled the missing links and gave a clearer picture of how a Sharia Court in Kano sentenced the 30-year-old singer, Sharif Yahaya Aminu, to death by hanging on Monday, August 10.
The presiding judge
Khadi Muhammad Ali Kani was the presiding judge at the court sitting at Hausawa Filin Hockey. He gave the verdict after finding Sharif guilty of the offence.
The offence; how it was committed
Aminu was arraigned on a one-count charge of insulting religious creed, which is contrary to Section 382 (6) of the Kano State Sharia Penal Code Law 2000.
Specifically, Aminu reportedly called the Holy prophet a ‘mushrik (proclaiming other gods)’.
A mushrik, according to askislampedia.com, “is a person who believes in another deity together with Allah The Almighty, and who demonstrates this by dedicating acts of worship, such as kneeling, prostration, supplication, slaughtering or any other act of worship, to a being other than Allah The Almighty," Daily Trust explains.
The newspaper states that the First Information Report (FIR) indicates the accused committed the offence via a WhatsApp post on Friday, February 28, 2020.
“On 28 February between the hours of 20:00 to 23:50 hours, you Sharif Yahaya Aminu, (M) 30 years old, Muslim of No 26 Sharifai Quarters Kano, with an intention to hurt the feelings of Muslim faithfuls made a post via a WhatsApp group named Gidan Umma Abiha, some abusive and degrading audio statements in which you called Prophet Muhammad S.A.W atheist, mushrik, who propagates shirk and whose position is lower than that of Inyass in the hereafter," the FIR states.
The prosecutor of the controversial case is Inspector Aminu Yargoje. He told the court that Aminu's post was intended to create ill feelings among the Muslim faithful in the state.
There is room for appeal
According to Inspector Yargoje, Aminu has 30 days, starting from Monday, August 10, to appeal the ruling which sentenced him to death by hanging.
What are Kano residents saying?
One of the Kano residents who spoke to Daily Trust, Amadu Mustapha, believed the judgment was right, though it sounded unusual.
Mustapha believed the convict has done wrong and has to face the consequences of his action, adding that others will learn a lesson from the judgement.
“The reason why people are taking the law into their hands before now is that those that did what he did now are going freely without a verdict. I hope the governor will execute it," another resident, Balarabe Yusif Babale Gajida, said.
Also, Idris Ibrahim, the leader of the protesters that reportedly called for the prosecution of the convict earlier in March, expressed satisfaction with the court’s verdict, saying it was long overdue.
What clerics are saying
Contrary to the social media outrage, Sheikh Aminu Ibrahim Daurawa, a Kano-based Islamic cleric of the Izala sect, said the court’s judgment would ensure peace and stability in the state.
Another cleric, Sheikh Muhammad Nur Arzai of the Tijjaniyya sect, also said the verdict was in consonance with Islamic provisions on blasphemy.
“For blasphemous offenses, even if the offender has regretted his act and asked for forgiveness, he should not be forgiven. Nobody should carry such an offence and go unpunished," Sheikh Arzai said.
What Nigerians on social media are saying
Below are some Twitter reactions to the issue:
For a brief insight on the controversial issue of blasphemy in Nigeria, Legit.ng provides here some key facts and the attendant or perceived constitutional contradictions.
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