Unicef has asked the central government of Nigeria and the state of Kano to “urgently review the case” to “revoke” and “reverse the sentence” to 10 years in prison and domestic chores against a 13 year old boy, Omar Farouk, convicted in August of blaspheming God while arguing with a friend. He was sentenced by an Islamic court in the northern city of Kano, sentenced him for making “disparaging” comments about God during a public discussion.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) criticized the sentence last Wednesday. The agency’s representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, considers it “a mistake.” “It denies all the underlying principles of children’s rights and child justice that Nigeria, and by implication Kano State, is committed to upholding,” said Hawkins. in a statement released by his office.
Unicef argues that the judgment contravenes the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the African country in 1991, as well as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, ratified by Nigeria in 2001, and the Nigerian Child Rights Act of 2003. Hawkins has highlighted the need for state authorities to “expedite the implementation of the Child Protection Act in Kano to ensure that minors under 18, including Omar Farouk, They are protected”.
The state of Kano, with a Muslim majority as is usual in northern Nigeria, has both secular and Islamic courts, although the latter do not use the sharia to judge those who are not Muslims. But for Islamic believers these courts pass sentences that allow stoning to death or amputation of members of the body for crimes of theft, blasphemy or adultery.
On the same day that the 13-year-old boy was sentenced, the singer Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, 22, was in turn sentenced to hang for the court’s understanding that he had used foul language against the Prophet Muhammad in one of his songs. , which spread on WhatsApp. Amnesty International has denounced that the young man and his family had to flee from their home, in Kano, last March, when a crowd of young people gathered in front of them and ended up burning the building, without, according to the NGO, no one being found arrested.
Kano, the capital of the homonymous state, is the largest city in northern Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, and also stands out as the main commercial center of a region with a strong Islamic tradition.