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Blasphemy: UNICEF Kicks As Kano Sharia Court Sentence 13-Year-Old To 10 Years Jail Term

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has blasted the Kano state government over the sentencing of Umar Farouq, a 13-year-old boy, to 10 years in prison for blasphemy, asking them to urgently reverse the sentencing.

In a statement by UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, the sentence contradicts the United Nations convention on the rights of the child, which Nigeria ratified in 1991.

A Sharia court in Kano had convicted Farouq after he was accused of using “disparaging language on Allah” during a disagreement with his friend.

Farouq’s sentencing was handed over by Aliyu Kanu, the same judge who passed a death sentence on Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, a musician, “for blasphemy”.

Hawkins displeased by the sentence of Farouk, said it undermines child rights principles.

The sentencing of this child –13-year-old Omar Farouk to 10 years in prison with menial labour is wrong,” he said in a statement.

He added that the sentencing goes against all core underlying principles of child rights and child justice which l Nigeria  has signed on to.

The sentence is in contravention of the United Nations convention on the rights of the child, which Nigeria ratified in 1991. It is also a violation of the African charter on the rights and welfare of the child – which Nigeria ratified in 2001, and Nigeria’s Child Rights Act 2003, which domesticates Nigeria’s international obligations to protect children’s right to life, survival and development.”