Blasphemy: Appeal Court dismisses Kano singer’s appeal

An Appeal Court sitting in Kano has dismissed the appeal challenging the re-trial order against 23-year-old Kano singer, Aminu Shariff, accused of blasphemy.

In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Abubakar Lamido and affirmed by Justice B. M. Ugo, yesterday, the appellate court upheld the verdict of Justice Nasiru Saminu of the high court, which had ordered the re-trial of the accused.

Although one of the three justices, Ita Mbaba, dissented to the verdict, discharged and acquitted the appellant for the offence, the majority decision prevailed.

The High Court in 2021, had ordered the re-trial of Shariff at the Sharia Court in Kano after the ruling that convicted and found him guilty was faulted.

The lower court, which dismissed the death sentence on Shariff, insisted that the conviction lacked merit because he was not given legal representation to defend himself.

Shariff, sometime in 2020, reportedly composed musical lyrics considered derogatory to Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (PBUH), an offence considered blasphemy under the Penal Code of Kano law.

The accused had earlier been sentenced to death by the state Upper Sharia Court. But dissatisfied with the death sentence, Shariff, through his lawyer, Kola Alapinni, appealed the matter before the Kano State High Court (Appeal Division).

The defendant was returned for re-trial and the defence counsel proceeded to appeal court to seek outright discharge and acquittal of the accused.

The appellate court also dismissed the argument of the defence challenging the legality of the Kano Sharia Law 2020, which the justices unanimously agreed as constitutional law of the country.

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