In this present age, faced with circumstances people seek solace in religion whiles others do not. To some, religion is the source of life and what keeps them going whiles some just do not believe in the existence of religion. Religion is a very sensitive topic and this can be seen in some parts of the world.
On 10th August, a thirteen-year-old boy named Omar Farouq was convicted in a Sharia court in Kano State in Northwest Nigeria after he was charged with using profane language toward Allah in an argument with a friend. His sentence violates the African Charter of the Rights and Welfare of a Child and the Nigerian Constitution said his attorney Kola Alapinni.
His attorney says he found out about Omar’s case by coincidence when working on the case of another man who was sentenced to death for blasphemy by the same court. “We learned that they were both convicted by the same judge, on the same day in the same court for blasphemy. We found out that no one was talking about the boy, so we had to act quickly and file an appeal” says the attorney.
Omar was tried as an adult because in Islam he had attained puberty and therefore knew wrong and right. UNICEF called on the Nigerian government and stakeholders involved to review the case and give out a fair judgement. Peter Hawkins, a UNICEF representative in Nigeria also expressed his concern about the sentence and described it as wrong.
He added that “this case further underlined the urgent need to accelerate the enactment of the Kano State Child Protection Bill so as to ensure that all children under eighteen including Omar Faroq are protected and that all children in Kano are treated in accordance with Child Rights Standards.