Members of the Nigerian public are expressing their outrage against a Sharia Court ruling sentencing nine people to death in Kano State for blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad.
The alleged offense was committed last month at a religious gathering in honor of Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the Senegalese founder of the Tijaniyya Islamic sect, which has a large following across West Africa.
Nigerians on Twitter have started using #SaveKanoNine because they argue the sentencing and trial were carried out in secret. Advocates for the Sharia Court verdict say that the trial was held in secret because angry protesters burned down a Sharia Court last month in response to the nine arrests.
#SaveKanoNine has been one of the top trends on Twitter in Nigeria today. Many have been calling for the Sharia Court to reconsider the ruling and not kill the nine people.
If we donât #SaveKanoNine then Boko Harram would have âjustification" for their terrorist activities, they use same excuse to kill & murder— Kayode Ogundamisi (@ogundamisi) July 1, 2015
I am completely in support of #SaveKanoNine | I do not agree with the death penalty & most countries agree it is anachronistic— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) July 1, 2015
This hashtag promotion of #SaveKanoNine will only remain on twitter,if u think U r an activist come down 2 Kano and protest n see for urself— ELTAMA (@eltama007) July 1, 2015
The nine people were reported to have said that "Niasse was bigger than Prophet Muhammad,” triggering unrest. Before this ruling, the Sharia Court had never used a death sentence for blasphemy in northern Nigeria. Offenses like adultery were usual grounds for the death penalty.
In a statement signed by the Kano State Government, the Sharia court was commended for handling the case meticulously and not allowing unnecessary delays in the ruling.