The Sharia Law as practiced in some places in Northern Nigeria will face legal scrutiny as 22-year-old musician, Yahaya Shariff-Aminu, who was sentenced to death for blaspheming Prophet Mohammed, has appealed against his conviction before a Kano State High Court, describing Sharia law as as unconstitutional and undemocratic.
Shariff-Aminu was sentenced to death by an Upper Sharia Court on August and given 30 days to appeal the sentence.
In the notice of appeal filed by his lawyer, Kola Alapinni, the musician sued the Attorney-General of the state and the Kano State Governor.
He argued that Sharia law under which he was sentenced to death is illegal and unconstitutional. He added that his confessional statement was a nullity because the alleged crime did not exist in the constitution. Shariff-Aminu therefore prayed the court to set aside the trial, conviction, and sentencing handed down by the Sharia Court.
The notice of appeal read, “The appellant’s trial, conviction, and sentencing by the Upper Sharia Court of Kano State pursuant to the Kano State Penal Code Law 2000 were unconstitutional, null, void having grossly violated and conflicted with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended and having violated the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights respectively.”
“The Penal Sharia Code Law is only applicable and permissible in Islamic theocracies or countries whose constitution allows for such whereas Nigeria is a secular state with constitutional democracy and the constitution being the supreme law.
The appeal further read, “The Kano State Government as a party and prosecutor to the complaint is was a complicit party when it failed to provide adequate security and equal enforcement of secular laws and good order for all citizens/residents regardless of ethnicity or religious affiliations and thereby encourages religious fundamentalism, vigilante activities, insecurity, lawlessness, mob actions, all of which blasphemy law or provisions seek to justify unlawfully in order to placate Muslims.”
It added that the trial was a secret one and was a breach of the appellant’s right to a fair hearing.
Kano State governor Abdullahi Ganduje had already said he will sign the convict’s death warrant without delay once the 30 days given to him to appeal lapses.