Alleged blasphemy: Kano musician appeals death sentence

Kano musician
Yahaya Shariff-Aminu


A 22-year-old musician, Yahaya Shariff-Aminu, who was sentenced to death for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Mohammed, has filed a notice of appeal before Kano State High Court.

He described Sharia law as practised in the state as unconstitutional and undemocratic.

Shariff-Aminu was sentenced to death by an Upper Sharia Court on August 10, 2020, but was given 30 days to file an appeal.

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje had expressed readiness to sign the convict’s death warrant once the 30 –day grace lapses.

In the notice of appeal marked CR/43/2020, and filed by his lawyer, Kola Alapinni, the convict sued Kano Attorney-General and Kano Governor.

He based his appeal on one ground which is that Sharia law which formed the basis of his conviction was illegal and unconstitutional.

His appeal parts: “The appellant’s trial, conviction, and sentencing by the Upper Sharia Court of Kano State pursuant to the Kano State Penal Code Law 2000 were unconstitutional, null, void having grossly violated and conflicted with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended and having violated the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights respectively.”

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The musician said the confessional statement was a nullity because the alleged crime did not exist in the constitution.

He added: “The Penal Sharia Code Law is only applicable and permissible in Islamic theocracies or countries whose constitution allows for such whereas Nigeria is a secular state with constitutional democracy and the constitution being the supreme law.”

The convict said the state was quick to charge and convict him but denied him legal representation even though there is an existing framework for legal aid in Kano State.

The musician noted that the trial was a secret one and was a breach of his right to a fair hearing.

He prayed the court to set aside the trial, conviction, and sentencing handed down by the Sharia Court and entering a judgment in his favour.


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