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‘It is wrong,’ UN blasts Nigerians for imprisoning boy,13, over blasphemous words



The UN children’s agency Unicef has expressed grave concern over the imprisonment of a 13-year-old boy convicted for blasphemy.

Recall that in August, a Sharia Court in Kano had sentenced Omar Farouq to 10-years- imprisonment with menial labour.

The sentencing “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,” said Peter Hawkins, Unicef representative in Nigeria.

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The sentence is in contravention of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Nigeria ratified in 1991, Unicef said in a statement.

Unicef called on the Nigerian federal and state authorities to urgently review the case with a view to reversing the sentence.

Several states in northern Nigeria introduced Sharia after the country returned to civilian rule in 1999.

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The Sharia courts only try Muslims but if a case involves a Muslim and a non-Muslim, the non-Muslim will be given the option of choosing where he/she wants the case to be tried.

The Sharia court can only hear the case if the non-Muslim gives written consent.

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