Blasphemy Case: Sharia Court to Rule on SANs Appearance

Can Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) appear before a Sharia Court?

This is the question an Upper Sharia Court in Kano State will answer on September 2.
Counsel for Kano Islamic preacher, Sheikh Abduljabbar Kabara, who is charged with blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad, yesterday argued that SANs cannot appear before the Upper Sharia Court.
Four SANs — Prof Mamman Lawal Yusufari, Muhammad Sani Katu, Suraj Sa’eda and Dr Nasiru Adamu Aliyu — appeared for the plaintiff.
But Kabara’s defence team, led by Saleh Bakaro, told the judge that the SANs could not represent the state government.
“It contravenes the rules of their engagements,” Bakaro argued.
The defence counsel also challenged the presentation of new charges against the accused after the earlier First Information Report (FIR), in which he was arraigned.
Kabara is being held after the state government accused him of “making controversial religious commentaries and statements regarded as mortifying the companions and Holy Prophet Muhammad.”
The cleric, who accused Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of interfering in the suit, has denied any wrongdoing, saying his sermons only oppose the preaching of “Islamic extremists,” not the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s.

If found guilty, the cleric would be sentenced to death by hanging.
Bakaro argued: “SANs cannot come before any court that is below a High Court, let alone this court and those below it. Every lawyer has the right to practice, based on Section 2 of the Legal Practitioners Act, which establishes the Committee that determines how SANs will work.

“Section 3 of the Act states clearly which court they can appear and this court is not one of such.
“More so, Section 6(3) of the Nigerian Constitution has forbidden SANs from presenting charges before any court in which they have no permission to stand.”
Kabara urged the judge to dismiss the SANs from the case. The Upper Sharia Court judge, Ibrahim Sarki Yola, adjourned the case to decide whether the SANs can appear and if they can, whether the case can continue on the newly presented charges.

He fixed September 2 for the hearing.

Source: The Nation Online

Written by Fanen Ihyongo, Kano.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *