United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) yesterday called for the review of 10 years’ jail term with hard labour against a teenager, Omar Farouq, in Kano State with a view to reversing the sentence. UNICEF expressed deep concern about the sentencing of Farouq (13) with hard labour by the Kano State Sharia Court at Feli Hockey, Kano.
The sentence was handed down after he was convicted of blasphemy on August 10, 2020. The UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said in a statement made available to journalists that Farouq’s imprisonment negated the principles of child rights and justice.
Hawkins also averred that the sentencing was in contravention of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Nigeria ratified in 1991. He said: “The sentencing of this child, 13-year-old Omar Farouq, to 10 years in prison with hard 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 rights to life, survival and development. “UNICEF called on the Nigerian Government and the Kano State government to urgently review the case with a view to reversing the sentence. “UNICEF expresses appreciation of the strides recently made by the Kano State government to pass the Kano State Child Protection Bill.”