United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says the sentence of 13-year-old Omar Farouq in Kano is wrong and against principles of Child Rights and Justice to which the State is a signatory.
UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Peter Hawkins, reacting to the news of the 10-year imprisonment sentence with menial labour, passed on Omar by the Kano State Sharia Court described the sentence as “wrong”.
Hawkins added, “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 right to life, survival and development”, Hawkins pointed out in a statement released by UNICEF.
Hawkins called on Kano State government to immediately review Omar’s case and reverse the verdict as a way to protect the strides recently made by the Kano State Government in passing the Kano State Child Protection Bill.
The sentence was handed down to Omar after he was convicted of blasphemy on 10 August 2020.
According to the UNICEF boss “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.
He assured that 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.
The child rights organization stressed the Government’s international obligations to ensure child-sensitive judicial measures for children who are alleged to have committed any offence. This should include ensuring quality legal representation and full implementation of child justice principles – all of which are geared towards reform, rehabilitation and reintegration of the child with their family and community.