Child rights agency UNICEF has condemned out-rightly the sentencing of a 13-year-old boy to 10 years in prison for blasphemy in northern Nigeria.
According to reports, Omar Farouq was convicted in a Sharia court in Kano State in northwest Nigeria after he was arrested for using foul language toward Allah in an argument with a friend.
He was sentenced on August 10 by the same court that recently sentenced a Kano singer Yahaya Sharif-Aminu to death for blaspheming Prophet Mohammed, according to lawyers.
Peter Hawkins, UNICEF representative in Nigeria who released a statement condemning the court sentence, insisted that it contradicts the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child which Nigeria ratified in 1991.
The statement read;
“The sentencing of this child –13-year-old Omar Farouk 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.”