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Blasphemy: Court orders retrial of Aminu Sharif sentenced to death

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Yahaya Aminu Sharif
Yahaya Sharif Aminu

 

 

Nasiru Yusuf

The Kano State High Court (Appeal Division) has) on Thursday quashed the conviction of one Yahaya Aminu Shariff, who was earlier in August last year sentenced to death by the Upper Sharia Court Filin Hockey presided over by Aliyu Muhammad Kani.

The court presided over by Justice Nura Sagir Umar, the Chief Judge of Kano State, ordered in its judgment read by Justice Nasiru Saminu, that Mr Shariff be tried afresh by another Upper Sharia Court.

He stated, “On Yahaya Aminu Sharif, the court set aside the trial for some procedural irregularities.

“But the case has been remitted back to the sharia court for a retrial”.

Justice Saminu also said the defendant must be provided with legal representation during the retrial.

He said it is mandatory where anyone is standing trial for a capital offence that may result in death penalty, such a defendant is entitled to a legal representation.

Justice Saminu relied on section 269 (3) and (4) of the Kano State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, ACJL, which says any person standing trial in capital offence shall be entitled to legal representation, which must under any circumstances be provided even if it entails the court appointing a lawyer for the defendant, what is known as ‘Dock Brief’.

It may be recalled that on August 10, 2020, the Upper Sharia Court Hausawa Filin Hockey convicted and sentenced Mr. Sharif under section 382B of the Kano State Sharia Penal Code (2000) for insulting Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in a voice note he shared to a WhatsApp group called Gidan Umma Amina.

Similarly, the court also discharged and acquitted another blasphemer, Umar Faruk Bashir who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

The court set aside the sentence passed on Mr Bashir and declared the entire Upper Sharia Court’s judgment a nullity as the said Umar Faruk is a minor whose admission of guilt is inadmissible in law.

It could be recalled that the duo of Yahaya Sharrif Aminu and Umar Farouq Bashir were said to have sometimes early last year committed blasphemy against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and making derogatory statement against Almighty Allah respectively.

The defendant through one Kola Alapinni appealed against the death sentence and 10 years imprisonment at the Kano State High Court (Appeal Division).

Reacting to the Thursday’s judgment, Mr Alapinni described the judgment as bitter and sweet.

He said, “Today, we have a bitter-sweet judgments as Umar Farouq has been set free completely because he was a minor that was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

“On the issue of Yahaya Aminu Sharrif which was a death sentence and that really shocked the whole of the country and international community. It also made us a laughing stock before the international community where someone will say something which was regarded as being disrespectful in a religion and he will be sentenced to death.

“He was sentenced to death without legal representation. It is unacceptable. And the court found in our favour that there were procedural irregularities. We were hoping that the court will set him free but unfortunately that didn’t happen and the matter has now been remitted back to the Shari’a court and it will be heard by another judge. And will be with proper guidance and legal direction. We will defend this robustly even up to the Supreme Court.”

On the constitutionality of the Shari’a penal code, he said, “we will go back and study the judgment and decide if we want to go to the court of appeal and Supreme Court thereafter. We want to know if the Shari’a penal code is in conflict with the Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution which says the Federal or state government must not be seen to be promoting any religion. That is what Kano State is doing.”

On his part, the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Musa A. Lawal said on one hand the judgment was a victory for the people of Kano especially that the court reaffirmed that the Shari’a penal code law has come to stay in the state.

“Constitutionally, the courts are created so that people can go there to get justice. The court today, reaffirmed that the Shari’a penal code law in Kano state is here to stay because in the appeal, the appellant clearly claimed that the law is contrary to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the court says no that the Shari’a penal code is a law that is here to stay in the state. So of course, this is a victory for the people of Kano state on one side.

“On the second part, if you look at the second case which was a minor, what the court says is that he is a minor and so cannot be tried as he has not attained the age or incurring liability. That is the reason why he was discharged and acquitted not because the Shari’a penal code law was unconstitutional or for any other reason.

“To buttress that fact, the second case was ordered for retrial under the said law. And the only reason given there was based on the constitutional provision especially when you are charging someone with a capital offence you need to get him a lawyer. There was no legal representation on his part. So if you look at the two cases it is a victory for the people of Kano state and victory for the Shari’a penal code,” Mr Lawan stated.

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EFCC Grills Rabiu Kwankwaso

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Rabiu Kwankwaso

Nasiru Yusuf

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Saturday grilled former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso over allegations of abuse of office, diversion of public funds and fraudulent allocation of government properties to cronies.

KANO FOCUS reports that Kwankwaso, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, was first invited by the EFCC in September but failed to honour the invitation as reported by Channels TV.

An associate of the politician informed Channels Television that Kwankwanso may have been invited in relation to a petition by some retired employees of the Kano State Government.

The retired employees had told the EFCC that the former governor mismanaged pension remittances to the tune of N10 billion between 2011 and 2015, to fund a housing project for his cronies.

EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren did not comment on the interrogation of the former governor when contacted on Saturday.

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Crisis rocks Kano APC as Ganduje, Shekarau hold parallel Congress

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Aminu Abdullahi

Crisis rocked Kano chapter of All Progressive Congress (APC), as Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and faction loyal to former governor of Kano and serving Senator Ibrahim Shekarau held parallel state congress.

KANO FOCUS reports that while Ganduje group held their congress at Sani Abacha stadium, faction loyal to Shekarau had their own at Janguza town, Tofa local government area.

Ganduje’s led group endorsed Abdullahi Abbas as state chairman of APC for a second term in a consensus arrangement, while the faction loyal to Shekarau announced Ahmadu Haruna Zago as newly elected chairman of APC in Kano state.

Reports shows that the security have earlier disrupted Shekarau’s camp congress at Sani Abacha youth centre and sealed the premises before they moved to Janguza where they held the election.

Below are some pictures of the parallel Congress.

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje while voting at Sani Abacha stadium

 

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje with APC chieftains

 

Delegates at Sani Abacha stadium

Ballot box

Factional chairman of Kano APC Ahmadu Haruna Zago

Ahmadu Haruna Zago and Abdilkadir Jobe

APC factional congress at Janguza

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NCC moves to address poor network service at densely populated Kano markets – Prof Danbatta.

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Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

Nasiru Yusuf

 

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) Umar Garba Danbatta says the commission will address the poor network at Kantin Kwari, Sabongari Singer and Kurmi markets.

KANO FOCUS reports that Danbatta announced revealed this while responding to complaint raised by a participant at a two day stakeholders consultative meeting tagged ‘talk to the regulator’ organised by Nigerian Communications Commission in Kano.

The complainer noted that that there is poor telecommunications service in Kantin Kwari, Sabongari, Singer and Kurmi markets in Kano metropolitan area.

Danbatta responded that the commission will deploy investigative team to determine the nature of the problem and proffer solution.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

“We have the capacity to monitor the performance of MNOs, that is the most important thing. Because of this valid observation by our stakeholder, we are going to direct our searchlight in those areas where we think the quality of service needs to improve.

“And if it is necessary, we will send the investigative team what is the nature of the quality of service in such places with a view to improve the quality of the service,” Danbatta said.

The Executive Vice Chairman explained that the commission considers stakeholder feedback “as a critical component of our forward – looking regulatory model.”

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta with senior management staff of NCC

“Hence, the overarching objective of this forum is to get direct feedback from our licensees on how we, as a regulator, are meeting your expectations, and on areas where we can improve our regulatory service, particularly those that have to do with licensing.

“We also intend to use this forum to seek your support for the several initiatives that the commission has carefully developed in our quest to enhance market opportunities for all our licensees.”

Danbatta added that the commission will focus it’s energies for the next five years on five strategic pillars.

Participants

The pillars according to him include “organisational renewal for operational efficiency and regulatory excellence.

“Facilitate the provision of infrastructure for a digital economy which fosters national development.

“Improve quality service (QoS) for enhanced consumer quality of experience (QoE).

“Promote fair competition, inclusive growth, increased investment and innovative services as well facilitate strategic collaboration and partnership.”

Participants

He disclosed that the federal government has articulated a number of critical policy objectives for the sector such as those articulated in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025), the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Registration among others.

He added that the instruments require the full and unalloyed commitment of all stakeholders to ensure their successful implementation, and the meeting in Kano would provide a veritable channel for licensees’ buy-in.

Participants

In his address the Director of Licensing and Authorisation Department, Mohammed Babajika, said the commission is further liberalising the telecoms industry by finalising the framework for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) and is currently reviewing existing regulations.

“The Commission is also finalising the Information Memorandum (IM) for 5G deployment, emerging trends like Internet of Things (loT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Over The Top (OTT) Services and Big Data Analytics, all aimed at initiating strategies to improve service delivery that is accessible and affordable.

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