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UNICEF flays 10-year sentence on 13-year-old boy by Sharia Court

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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has condemned the sentencing of 13-year-old Omar Farouq to 10 years for blasphemy by the Kano State Sharia Court.

The sentence was handed down after the boy was convicted of blasphemy on August 10, 2020.

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UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said the sentence was in contravention of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Nigeria ratified in 1991.

The sentencing of 13-year-old Omar Farouk to 10 years with menial labour is wrong,” Hawkins stated yesterday in Abuja.

He added that it was 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.

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According to Hawkins, the judgment negates all core principles of child rights and child justice that Nigeria – and by implication Kano State – signed on to.

The UN envoy called on the federal and the Kano governments to urgently reverse the sentence.

He said: “This case further underlines the urgent need to accelerate the enactment of the Kano State Child Protection Bill, to ensure that all children under 18, including Farouq, are protected – and that all children in Kano are treated in accordance with child rights standards.”

UNICEF expressed appreciation to the Kano government for its strides to enact the Kano State Child Protection Bill.

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