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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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Sheikh Mahy Niasse denies urging Emir Sanusi to step down

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

The Supreme leader of the Tijjaniyya Ibrahimiyya Sect, Sheikh Muhammad Mahi Niasse, has debunked a letter making the round that he appealed to the Reinstated Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II to step down and follow his grandfather’s footsteps.

KANO FOCUS reports that this was just as the organisation said: “This is the second time these kinds of letters have been forged against our Global Tijjaniyya leader; the same things were done during the previous administration of Umar Ganduje, but this time around, anybody who is behind it will have himself to blame.”

However, in a counter letter written in Arabic and translated to Hausa, signed by the Commissioner of Religious Matters of Kano State and who also doubled as the Nigeria spokesperson of the Global Tijjaniyya Leader, Sani Auwalu Ahmad Tijjani, the purported letter asking Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II to step down is a forged one and does not emanate from their leader.

The letter reads: In fact, the purported letter touches on the integrity of our leader, who sees Muhammadu Sanusi II as his disciple in Nigeria and a person of humble background with sound religious character.”.

He said, “We have given those behind the purported letter to, within 24 hours, show themselves and explain from where it’s emanated and to whom it was sent; otherwise, we will not hesitate in taking legal action against them.”

He said already that security has been detailed on the matter, and anybody who is behind it will soon face the full wrath of the laws, “because we ask him to be arrested and prosecuted duly.”

Tijjani stated that they will not allow the continued destruction of the names of their religious leader and will always link him to things that he has never written.

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NUP presents Gov Yusuf with Outstanding Governor of the Year award

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….Acknowledged him as the “Most friendly Governor for pensioners

The national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners has bestowed upon the Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, the title of the most pensioner-friendly Governor of the year.

This was contained in a statement issued by governor’s spokesperson Sunusi Bature Dawakin Tofa on Thursday.

In presenting the accolade to the Governor, the national chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mazi Godwin Ikechuku Abumisi, expressed that it was incumbent upon the union to acknowledge the Governor due to his steadfast dedication to the welfare of pensioners in the state.

“Your Excellency, you shine brightly as a beacon of support to our members.

“Over the past year, you have authorized and disbursed eleven billion naira to clear the backlog of pension gratuity payments.

“This milestone is unparalleled; no other governor has accomplished such a feat within a single year since the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.”

In their messages of goodwill earlier, the state chairmen of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in Kano expressed gratitude to the Governor for his unwavering commitment to addressing the pension liabilities amounting to N43 billion left by the previous administration.

Responding to the honor, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf reiterated his unwavering dedication to supporting pensioners by the settlement of their gratuities and the timely disbursement of monthly pension allowances.

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Kano emirate tussle: Police ban Sallah durbar

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

The Kano State Police Command has prohibited the planned Durbar celebrations by both dethroned Emir Aminu Ado Bayero and reinstated Emir Muhammad Sanusi ll.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Durbar, a traditional ceremony typically held a day after Sallah, involves the Emir riding on horseback through major areas of Kano city.

Despite both Emirs having made preparations and requested security permission from the state police command, the police have denied their requests due to potential security concerns.

The Kano State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Haruna Kiyawa, confirmed the ban in a statement issued on Thursday.

The statement, titled “Ban on Durbar Activities and Other Security Restraints During Sallah Festivities,” emphasized that the police command has issued security advisories to residents in preparation for the forthcoming Sallah celebrations.

The police decision aims to prevent any potential conflicts or security breaches that could arise from the ongoing emirship dispute.

The Kano State Police Command congratulates Muslim faithful and all law-abiding residents of the State for witnessing yet another Eid-El-Kabir Sallah period and assures that adequate security deployments have been put in place to ensure no breakdown of law and order in all parts of the State before, during and after the festive period.

SP Kiyawa added “This is part of the commitment to sustenance of the peace by the Kano State Police Command in conjunction with all the relevant security stakeholders.

He state that “in furtherance, a ban has been placed on ALL DURBAR activities throughout the State for the upcoming Eid-El-Kabir celebrations”.

This measure is taken as a result of series security reports obtained and wide consultations made with relevant security stakeholders to ensure the safety of the larger community.

However, worshippers are advised to conduct their normal Eid Prayers at the various designated Eid praying grounds, traditionally done in the past.

On a final note, the Command encourages continued collaboration and cooperation from all stakeholders to collectively work together to build a safer and more secure environment.

The Command also urges everyone to keep reporting any suspicious movement of person(s) or item(s) they come across to the nearest Police Station or through the following Kano State Police Command emergency contact numbers:- 08032419754, 08123821575, 09029292926.

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