Musician Yahaya Aminu Sharif

An Upper Shari’a Court sitting at Hausawa Quarters in Kano has sentenced a 22-year old singer Yahaya Aminu Sharif to death by hanging for blasphemy against Prophet of Muhammad.

In his ruling on Monday, the Shari’a court Khadi, Aliyu Muhammad Kani, found Sharif guilty of the one-count charge bordering on derogatory comment contained in one of his songs that was circulated via WhatsApp somewhere in March.

Judge Khadi Aliyu Muhammad Kani said he could appeal against the verdict.

States across Muslim-majority northern Nigeria use both secular law and Sharia law, which does not apply to non-Muslims.

To date, none of the death sentences passed by Sharia Nigeria’s courts have been carried out.

The singer who is currently in detention, had gone into hiding after he composed the song.

Critics said the song was blasphemous as it praised an imam from the Tijaniya Muslim brotherhood to the extent it elevated him above the Prophet Muhammad.

‘Judgement will serve as deterrent to others’

The leader of the protesters that called for the musician’s arrest in March, Idris Ibrahim, told the BBC that the judgement will serve as a warning to others “contemplating toeing Yahaya’s path”.”When I heard about the judgment I was so happy because it showed our protest wasn’t in vain.

Protestors had burnt down his family home and gathered outside the headquarters of the Islamic police, known as the Hisbah, demanding action against him.

“This [judgement] will serve as a deterrent to others who feel they could insult our religion or prophet and go scot-free,” he said.

He was alleged to have said that Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the Senegalese founder of the Tijaniya sect, which has a large following across West Africa, “was bigger than Prophet Muhammad”.

The sentence has not been carried out as a death penalty in Nigeria requires the sign-off of the state governor.

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