ABDULLAHI Ganduje, Governor of State Governor has come under criticism from Nigerians for saying that the Kano State government would not add one minute to sign the execution order passed on Shariff Sharifai, a musician convicted for blasphemy.
Ganduje reportedly said during at a stakeholder meeting on the death penalty at the Government House, Kano on Thursday that the State Government has accepted the death penalty on Sharif noting that the verdict would be signed in 30 days.
“Kano State Government has accepted the judgement passed by the Sharia Court and it has also accepted the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Ganduje had said.
He noted that the convict has a 30-day grace to appeal the judgement, adding that failure to do so within that time would lead to the government signing the death penalty.
“In the event the convict appeals the judgement, we shall wait and follow the case up to the Appeal Court. If he further appeals to the Supreme Court, we shall follow the case there. If the Supreme Court upholds the two lower court judgement, the governor of Kano State will not add one minute to sign the execution order,” the governor said.
He also raised alarm on the growing issue of blasphemy adding that the government would ensure that it is curbed in the state.
Sharif, a resident of Sharifai in Kano metropolis, was accused of committing blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad in a song he shared on WhatsApp in March 2020.
Subsequently, the singer’s home was razed down by angry protesters who marched on to Kano Hisbah command’s headquarters to lay a complaint against the actions of Sharif.
In a verdict delivered by Aliyu Kani, the judge presiding over the case at the Kano Upper Shari’a Court, sentenced Sharif to death by hanging.
He was convicted based on Section 382 (b) of Kano Penal Code of 2000.
However, moments after Ganduje’s decision on the verdict, Nigerians reacted by calling him out for stating that he would carry out the execution of the musician.
Many of those who reacted wondered why anyone would want to fight for God by killing another human being.
Abdulbasit Kassim, a Ph.D. candidate in Religion and a Visiting Doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Islamic Thought in Africa at Northwestern University in a tweet said the governor does not have a single shred of religious legitimacy.
“Governor Abdullahi Ganduje does not have a single shred of religious legitimacy. He is neither an Imam nor a caliph. His role in this verdict is an abuse of the sharīʿa itself. What happened to the rule of “ʿidraʿu al-ḥudūd bi-l-shubuhat” and Istitābah?” Kassim’s tweet read.
“This disposition of actively seeking for people’s death by all means in a region where Shari’a is class-based and full of egregious irregularities and irreconcilable contradictions is unbecoming. As ugly as Yusuf’s utterances, he is repentant and deserves another chance.”
A Twitter user @FakhuusHashim, a member of North-Normal, a Non-Governmental Organisation calling for the end of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria said the Nigerian President should intervene to stop this judgement from being carried out.
She said, “I continuously call for the condemnation of the death sentence of #FreeYahayaShariffAminu on the false charges of blasphemy in Kano. @NGRPresident must intervene to stop this judgement from being carried out. Lawyers must advice Mr Yahaya to seek an appeal.”
“Today, Ganduje is Khadimul Islam but I see him with both hands on him even though he was caught stealing with evidence. They have re-crowned him & forgiven him for theft for the price of killing a man whose allegations cause no harm to another human, Certainly not the Prophet.”
“But do you know the cost of Ganduje stealing? On a spiritual level, as Muslims we all know what Allah said on Leaders that betray the trust of their people. On a practical level, that’s your schools, your safe roads, your hospitals, your clean water source in his pocket.”
“Do you know what happens when public funds are not redirected to where they should go? # You have unequipped hospitals, unpaid doctors, dilapidated schools, your children in Limbo, unpaid teachers, the degradation of education, potholes in your roads, road accidents, people die.”
Also, Inibehe Effiong, a constitutional and human right lawyer, said Ganduje has not signed death warrant for criminals convicted for murder and armed robbery in Kano State but wants to use the corrupt hands he used in collecting bribes to sign the death warrant of a citizen over a comment deemed to be blasphemous. Boko Haram will be celebrating.