Blasphemy: Ganduje petitioned over death sentence

Representatives of musicians around the world have petitioned governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje over the recently passed death sentence on musician, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, over allegations of blasphemy.

The coalition is made up of ten national and international representative organisations in the field of music and artistic freedom.

According to the petition, the death sentence by the Sharia court in Kano is clearly in breach of sections 38 (protecting freedom of thought, conscience and religion) and 39 (protecting freedom of expression) of the Nigerian Constitution.

“The application of the death penalty also violates Nigeria’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which it is a party,” the petition further stated.

Singer Sharif is facing the hangman over allegations of blasphemy against Islam’s Prophet Mohammed

In line with this, the musicians’ body called on Governor Ganduje to use his influence to ensure that the rights of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu under the Nigerian Constitution are fully respected and that all charges against him are dropped.

The full statement dated September 6, 2020 reads:

His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State,

Dr Abdullahi Ganduje (OFR)

6 September 2020

Re. Yahaya Sharif-Aminu

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned, speak on behalf of the following ten national and international representative organisations in the field of music and artistic freedom:

European Music Council (EMC), Finnish Music Council, Finnish Musicians Union (SML), Freemuse, International Federation of Actors (FIA), International Federation of Musicians

(FIM), International Music Council (IMC), Nordic Musicians Union (NMU), Artists at Risk / Perpetuum Mobile, Safemuse.

We wish to express our deepest concern regarding the situation of the young Nigerian musician, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, who has been sentenced to death by a Sharia court in Kano State, for blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed.

According to our information, he will be executed by hanging in less than seven days from today, unless charges are dropped or the sentence is overruled.

This court decision is clearly in breach of sections 38 (protecting freedom of thought, conscience and religion) and 39 (protecting freedom of expression) of the Nigerian Constitution.

The application of the death penalty also violates Nigeria’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which it is a party.

Considering the above, we urge you to use your influence to make sure that the rights of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu under the Nigerian Constitution are fully respected and that all charges against him are dropped.

Yours respectfully,

Sanni Kahilainen Ahti Vänttinen Ian Smith Sverre Pedersen, President Finnish Music Council,

SML President, EMC Campaigns Manager,

Freemuse Dominick Luquer

Benoît Machuel Alfons

Karabuda Gunnar Hrnasson

General Secretary, FIA

General Secretary, FIM President, IMC

Chairman, NMU.

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