The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has condemned the sentencing of 13-year-old Umar Farouq to 10 years in prison for blasphemy.
Umar was handed the harsh sentence by Aliyu Kanu, the same judge who passed a death sentence on Kano musician Yahaya Sharif-Aminu for blasphemy, after being found guilty of using “disparaging language on Allah” during a disagreement with his friend.
Reacting, Peter Hawkins, UNICEF representative in Nigeria in a statement released on Wednesday condemned the ruling given by the Judge.
Hawkins said the sentence contradicts the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child which Nigeria ratified in 1991.
He also called on the Kano State government to urgently reverse the sentencing.
“UNICEF today express deep concern about the sentencing of 13-year-old Omar Farouq to ten years’ imprisonment with menial labour by the Kano State Sharia Court at Feli Hockey, Kano, in northern Nigeria.
“The sentencing of this child –13-year-old 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.
“The sentence is in contravention of the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child, which Nigeria ratified in 1991.
“It is also a violation of the African charter on the rights and welfare of the child which Nigeria ratified in 2001, and Nigeria’s Child Rights Act 2003, which domesticates Nigeria’s international obligations to protect children’s right to life, survival and development,” the statement said.