By Rauf Oyewole, Bauchi
Mujama’U As’habil Kahfi Warraqeem in Bauchi State has accused Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, of ‘influencing’ the judgment of the Shariah court that sentenced Sheikh Abduljabbar Kabara, on December 15, to death by hanging, citing blasphemy.
While addressing journalists in Bauchi, yesterday, the Islamic sect described the judgment as un-Islamic, alleging that the cleric’s criticism of government led to his ordeal.
But the Kano government said the convicted cleric never criticised it before he ran into trouble.
The group stated: “The so-called judgment by Torahim Sarki Yolu is totally wrong and un-Islamic. Therefore, we reject it because the judgment was negatively manipulated from the beginning to the end.
“We are not satisfied with the judgment, because we believe it was influenced by the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, and some clerics in the state, who are known to be at loggerheads with him for a long time. They, therefore, ganged up against him and levelled false allegations of blasphemy against him in order to smear him and eliminate him through the court.”
Leader of the group, Musa Pali, said: “We caught him inciting Kano citizens to riot against our spiritual leader. Also, we caught him gathering with pressmen telling Islamic clerics in the state to preach dirty words against our spiritual leader. There was a time he was telling a gathering that our leader is someone to be afraid of, but they discovered he is like a goat, so sent him to a slaughterhouse. You know what that means?”
They group, however, has resolved to approach a higher court of law to quash the judgment and enforce Kabara’s fundamental human rights, especially of freedom of religion and thought as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.
“We call on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Amnesty International (AI), national and international human rights organisations and human rights lawyers such as the revered Femi Falana, as well as respected human rights activist/’Ordinary President’, Ahmad Isa, and others to join us to counter this unfair and unjustified gang-up against our religious leader by providing legal aid to him.
“Kano government and the hostile clerics to Abduljabbar have teamed up to exterminate him for an offence he has been pleading not guilty. We don’t have the strength to protect him in the court alone; hence, our call for legal aid from human rights individuals and organisations to bring us succor,” the sect added.
The Commissioner for Justice, Lawan Musa, said several complaints were received from the residents to prosecute Kabara for blasphemy to avoid jungle justice against him.
Musa stated: “There was pressure from the people that he should be prosecuted like the ordinary citizen for blasphemy. There were plans to burn his house and cause chaos in Kano.
“Abduljabbar Kabara has never been a critic of the government. Before he was arrested, there was never a time he criticised the government. Just recently, when he knew he was going to be arrested by the police, he started criticising the government.”
He said the state government never had a problem with the cleric, adding that there were series of video and audio clips against Kabara that were cited as blasphemous.
Source: The Guardian