Death Sentence For Blasphemy At Kano: A Perspective by O. G. Chukkol
I have been following arguments on social media for the past two days about the death sentence passed on one Yahaya Aminu Sheriff for blasphemy (insulting prophet Mohammed PBH) at Kano.
Let me make few observations here:
- There is actually a Shariah Penal Code law in Kano state
- The said Shariah Penal Code makes provision for offences and punishments recognized in Islam
- The Shariah Penal Code Law prohibits blasphemy and a violator risks death sentence. See section section 382 thereof.
- The Shariah Penal Code Law of Kano applies to Muslims only
- The Shariah Penal Code Law of Kano does not apply to non Muslims. So a Christian or any other non Muslim cannot be prosecuted under the law except if he consents to it
- Sheriff was tried and convicted under the Shariah Penal Code Law because he was a Muslim.
- Sheriff has the right to appeal to a higher court for his conviction to be reviewed or set aside if the trial court was wrong.
- Governor of Kano State has the final say on Sheriff’s conviction. He can pardon Sheriff and allow him go free or change the punishment or sign death warrant for Sheriff to be executed/killed as ordered by court
- A non Muslim who insults prophet Mohammed or commits any other form of blasphemy can at best be tried under the general Penal Code law for defamation or breach of public peace or any other related offence depending on exactly what the person says
In view of the foregoing, I will completely refrain from commenting on the appropriateness of death sentence for blasphemy because it is an Islamic injunction entrenched in a written law. Besides, I may not even be objective about it because I am not a Muslim, but a Christian. I will only end up pouring my sentiment in the guise of criticism. To me, is not even logical to use my religion to condemn another religion.
I submit further, for the purpose of emphasis, that the offence of blasphemy applies to Muslims only and they are in support of it. They are comfortable with it because their religion provides for it. I cannot take panadol for somebody’s headache
Had it been the offence applies to non Muslims also, I would have immediately condemned it for being unconstitutional.
It should be noted that the Shariah Penal Code was enacted pursuant to section 38 of the constitution which provides for right to freedom of religion and sections 4 and 6 of the constitution which gives states power to make laws and also establish courts for themselves and also section 36(12) which provides that person can be convicted for an offence only if the said offence is defined in a written law with sanctions attached.
That is to say, the Supreme Law of the land has given them backing. They can practice their religion provided that a non Muslim shall not be affected
Let me drop my pen here. Everything I put down here is strictly my opinion and I may be wrong.
Greetings Ladies and gentlemen