Kano state Attorney General and commissioner for Justice Musa Abdullahi Lawan said it is wrong for United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) to ask the state government to intervene in a court judgement that sentence a minor to 10 years in prison for alleged blasphemy.
Unicef’s country representative in Nigeria Peter Hawkins had called on the Nigerian Government and the Kano State Government to urgently review the case with a view to reversing the sentence.
He said, “The sentencing of this child – 13-year-old Omar Farouk – to 10 years in prison with menial labour is wrong. It also negates all core underlying principles of child rights and child justice that Nigeria – and by implication, Kano State – has signed on to.”
However, in his swift reaction, the Attorney General said there has been issues that the convict is a minor but what on the court record was that he is 17 years old.”
“For UNICEF to say that the state government should intervene, of course there is no country where government intervenes in court cases. Once there is judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction, the next thing if there is problem with the judgement the aggrieved party can file an appeal,” he said.
“And in this instance he has the right of appeal to the High court, to the court of appeal and to the Supreme Court and so if indeed he is a minor record will show that and if he files an appeal like you know under the law a minor cannot be held accountable especially in criminal cases. So, I think is wrong for UNICEF to say the state government should intervene,” he added.
He said, ” Not even here but Europe and America, they do not intervene in court cases. Once there is a valid judgement, there is a valid judgement there, whether the judgement was rightly entered or not it is a subject of appeal. And as per as I know he has filed an appeal so the best thing for us is to wait and see the outcome of the appeal.”
On August 10, a Shari’a court sentenced Farouk to 10 years in prison after he pleaded before the court for his alleged derogatory remarks on Allah, during a heated debate on March 4.
The trial judge, Khadi Muhammad Ali-Kani, in his judgement said the offence contravened Islamic Law, and sentenced the convict to 10-years imprisonment under section 382 (b) of Kano State Panel Code Law 2000 and granted a 30-day grace to appeal the judgment