Appeal Court orders a retrial of Kano singer sentenced to death for blasphemy


The Court of Appeal sitting in Kano state has ordered a retrial of the death sentence against a singer who was accused of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad.

The court gave the directive during a sitting on Wednesday.

A Shariah court in Kano had sentenced Yahya Sharif-Aminu to death on August 10, 2020, after he was found guilty of committing blasphemy in a song.

The ruling had stirred an outcry among a segment of Nigerians.

He was convicted by judge Aliyu Kani based on Section 382 (b) of the Kano penal code of 2000.

However, the appellate division of the High Court of Kano State on 21 January 2021, quashed the death sentence and ordered a retrial by the same shariah court.

The High Court’s judgment delivered by a panel of two judges – the Chief Judge of Kano State, Nuraddeen Umar, and Nasiru Saminu, cited irregularities in the Sharia Court’s previous trial.

However, Yahaya-Sharif instituted an appeal against the judgment of the High Court as he argued that the High Court was wrong to have ordered a retrial. Instead, he said the court ought to have discharged and acquitted him.

He joined in the suits, the Attorney General of Kano State, Musa Lawan and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje as respondents.

The Court of Appeal session, which was held via Zoom on Wednesday, ruled in favour of the defendants, upholding the initial judgement of the Kano High Court which ordered the retrial of the case in the shariah court.

The appeal panel comprised three judges. Two of the judges supported the respondents while one objected.

The singer is said to be a member of the Islamic Tijjaniya sect and a member of the Faidha group – followers of Ibrahim Nias, a Senegalese Islamic scholar.

The song prompted violence against the family members of the musician who fled the area while his family house was set ablaze by irate youth, who protested against him.

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