The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has criticized the Kano State Government for sentencing 13-year-old, Omar Farouq, to 10 years imprisonment over alleged blasphemy. Farouq was sentenced to imprisonment with menial labour by the State Sharia Court at Feli Hockey, after been convicted of blasphemy on August 20, 2020.
In a statement UNICEF, Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, condemned the sentencing of Farouq, as he said the action of the court was wrong. Hawkins called on the Federal and Kano State Government to urgently review the case with a view to reversing the sentence. “UNICEF is deeply concerned 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.
“This case further underlines the urgent need to accelerate the enactment of the Kano State Child Protection Bill so as to ensure that all children under 18, including Omar Farouq are protected and that all children in Kano are treated in accordance with child rights standards,” said Peter Hawkins.
UNICEF will continue to provide support the Nigerian Government and Kano State Government on child protection system strengthening, including justice sector reform, to ensure that states put in place child-sensitive measures to handle cases involving children. This includes adopting alternative measures, in line with international best practice, for the treatment of children alleged to have committed offences that does not involve detention or deprivation of family care.