Blasphemy: Sentencing of 13-year-old to 10 Years Imprisonment Wrong, UNICEF Tells Kano

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By Kuni Tyessi

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has condemned the sentencing of a 13-year-old boy identified as Omar Farouq to 10 years’ imprisonment over alleged blasphemy by a Sharia Court in Kano.

Farouq was sentenced with menial labour by the Kano State Sharia Court at Feli Hockey after he was convicted of blasphemy on August 10, 2020.

Reacting to the development, the global organisation in a statement issued yesterday quoted its Nigerian Representative, Peter Hawkins, as saying that the action of the court was wrong.

It called on the “Nigerian Government and the Kano State Government to urgently review the case with a view to reversing the sentence.

“UNICEF has expressed deep concern over the sentencing of a 13-year-old Omar Farouq to 10 years’ imprisonment with menial labour by the Kano State Sharia Court at Feli Hockey.”

The statement read further: “The sentencing of this child to 10 years in prison with menial labour is wrong. It also negates all cores underlying principles of child rights and child justice that Nigeria, and by implication, Kano State, 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.”

UNICEF, therefore, called on the Nigerian Government and the Kano State Government to urgently review the case with a view to reversing the sentence.