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Judicial CP - January 2001
PM News, Lagos, 2 January 2001
Canada Rises Up For Sharia ConvictBy Bolaji Adepegba in Lagos
Both the authorities and a large portion of the population of Canada have spoken out against Sharia in Nigeria. The government of Canada has caused President Obasanjo to ask the government of Zamfara State to suspend the sentence of 180 lashes of cane handed down Bariya Magazu, a seventeen-year old pregnant woman. She was sentenced for pre-marital sex which led to pregnancy. Aside the public protests in Canada which forced the Canadian government to send a strong protest to the Federal Governmental expressing the apprehension that the young lady might die as a result of the proposed canes, human rights organisation have added their voices to the pressure.
The Nigerian High Commission in Canada has been flooded with phone calls and letters, condemning the Zamfara sentence. In this light, the Amnesty International has launched a campaign tagged "urgent action" to protest the lack of due process of law at Bariya's trial. The spokesman of Amnesty International, John Tackaberry said that it was not enough for President Obasanjo to promise to do something. "If the Nigerian Federal Government says it will intervene, that's good sign. But we have to ensure the state government complies with that," the Amnesty spokesman said.
A member of Bariya's family told an AFP reporter that she was delivered of her baby last week but did not state when the 180 strokes of the cane would be given to her. Bariya had claimed that three of her father's associate had sex with her in exchange for their money. The Sharia court however claimed that he lied against the men about the money and therefore set the men free. Canadian press held that the federal government had been reluctant in taking action against Sharia legislation because of the fear of arousing religious tensions. "The silence from Nigerian authorities has been disappointing but hardly surprising. Like other Nigerian leaders before him, President Obasanjo is struggling to govern a country that is split along ethnic and religious lines," a Canadian newspaper said. "Zamfara is not an island, it is part of Nigeria and part of the world. What it does matters to Nigeria and matters to the world. If one of its courts, in an awful and extreme interpretation of Islamic law, imposes such disproportionate and, yes, sadistic punishment, it cannot wrap itself in the cloak of local customs or religious differences," it concluded.
Copyright © 2001 P.M.News.
Follow-up: 13 January 2001 - Nigerian girl flogging reduced
BBC News Online, London, 4 January 2001
Nigerians flogged for drinkingBy Nigeria correspondent Barnaby Phillips
Two men found guilty of drinking alcohol have been flogged before large crowds in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after they became the first people in the state to be sentenced under new Islamic laws.
The Muslim men received 80 lashes each before excited crowds, after confessing, in a packed Sharia courtroom, to drinking alcohol.
Kano, the largest city in northern Nigeria, extended the jurisdiction of Islamic law, or Sharia, late last year, following the example of several neighbouring states.
Later, the younger of the two promised to never drink again and said he felt happy that he had been cleansed of his sins.
They had been arrested by a new Islamic vigilante group known as the Hisba.
This group has been making a determined effort to end drinking and prostitution in Kano, in accordance with the Sharia.
The governor of Kano has assured Christians that they have nothing to fear, but on Tuesday a Christian man living in Kano told journalists that he too had received 80 lashed from Muslim vigilantes after they broke into his house and accused him of selling home-made beer.
Last year, thousands of people were killed in religious fighting in the nearby northern city of Kaduna.
Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he will not intervene on the Sharia controversy because of the passionate emotions that surround it.
UN Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), 12 January 2001
Another girl faces flogging for sex
A second teenage girl has been sentenced to flogging by an Islamic court in northern Nigeria after being found guilty of engaging in premarital sex, AFP reported on Thursday.
It said family members of Attine Tanko, 18, of Malumfashi town in Katsina State, said she was convicted on 15 November 2000 and sentenced to 100 strokes of cane, after she was discovered pregnant while unmarried. The sentence is to be carried out after she has given birth and weaned her baby over 18 months to two years.
Her boyfriend, Lawal Sada, received a similar sentence which was carried out in public the same day.
In an earlier case in nearby Zamfara State, Bariya Ibrahim Magazu, 17, was sentenced to 180 strokes for premarital sex and falsely accusing three men of being responsible for her pregnancy. Magazu gave birth in December and is due to receive the punishment 40 days later.
Zamfara state authorities have rebuffed protests by local and foreign human rights groups. The state was the first in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north to adopt full Islamic law, a step subsequently followed by eight other states.
Copyright © 2001 UN Integrated Regional Information Network.
BBC News Online, London, 13 January 2001
Nigerian girl flogging reduced
In a case which has drawn strong international attention, a court in northern Nigeria has reduced a flogging sentence against a young girl.
The girl, Bariya Ibrahim Magazu, who's believed to be in her early teens, was sentenced to one-hundred-and-eighty lashes by a Sharia Islamic court in Zamfara state when she became pregnant, and named three men in her remote rural village as possible fathers.
Miss Bariya said all three were older, and married, and had coerced her into having sex.
But now Nigerian court officials say the sentence has been reduced to one-hundred lashes, which under Islamic law must be imposed softly, leaving no mark on the girl's body.
The date for the flogging has been postponed indefinitely. The Canadian government was among foreign organisations to protest at the sentence in a case which the BBC Lagos Correspondent says was fast becoming an embarrasment for the Nigerian government.
Islamic law was introduced in parts of northern Nigeria a year ago.
From the newsroom of the BBC World Service
Follow-up: 24 January 2001 - Sharia Victim's Flogging Condemned
Vanguard Daily, Lagos, 18 January 2001
Igbo Youths Vow to Avenge Flogging of Obi in KanoBy Victor Ahiuma-Young in Lagos
Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) has vowed to retaliate the public flogging of Mr. Livinus Obi in Kano in order to save the honour of Ndigbo.
Mr. Livinus Obi was recently given 80 strokes of the cane in Kano by some religious fanatics for allegedly selling alcoholic beverages contrary to the provision of the Sharia legal system recently introduced in the state.
A statement by IYM's President, Evangelist Elliot Uko said: "After carefully studying the true situation in Kano and after interviewing Livinus Obi, the Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) can authoritatively affirm, that the public humiliation of Ndigbo in Kano, was a political move deliberately, orchestrated to ascertain the degree of public acceptability of Sharia laws and its implementation in Northern Nigeria. IYM has discovered that the major onslaught will be unleashed soon."
"Ndigbo, who constitute over 60 per cent of the total population of Christians resident in the north, have therefore been marked out for further public flogging in the weeks and months ahead."
According to IYM: "The numerous assurances given Ndigbo that Sharia will not affect them and the unhelpful attitude of President Obasanjo who strangely believes that Sharia will go away on its own, we find incomprehensible. Suddenly it has got to the point of "Nwa afo Igbo" being publicly disgraced with 80 lashes."
"Sharia cannot work in Nigeria. We have said so before. These states who flouted our secular constitution by introducing Sharia laws into a heterogeneous society like ours ought to know that this time around Ndigbo are not willing to continue to pay the price for one Nigeria."
IYM noted that "Ndigbo will soon, officially react to the 80 lashes in Kano. Nothing will stop Igbo youths from retaliating the public humiliation of "Onye Igbo" in Kano over use of alcoholic beverage by the end of an on-going investigations. The oppressors of Ndigbo keep forgetting that Ndigbo are actually tired of remaining in one Nigeria at such a heavy lost. We are ready to go our way.
"Let the World know the truth, that we have been pushed to the wall. We have no other choice than to retaliate in order to save our honour. The explanations, legal drama and so-called pardon, by Mr. Livinus Obi does not guarantee that, over zealous Muslim fundamentalists will not strike again tomorrow."
Copyright © 2001 Vanguard Daily.
PM News, Lagos, 24 January 2001
Sharia Victim's Flogging Condemned
LAGOS -- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has condemned the flogging of a teenage Nigerian mother for having had premarital sex, saying it violated a key international treaty federal government signed.
"UNICEF's position is clear: Under no circumstances should countries use flogging, lashing or any other type of violence as punishment for children," Carol Bellamy, the agency's executive director, said.
"UNICEF calls on responsible authorities in Nigeria to investigate this incident and make the amendments to its domestic legal system necessary to guarantee that this incident is never repeated," she said.
Seventeen-year-old Bariya Ibrahim Magazu was given 100 lashes of the cane in Zamfara on Friday as punishment by Muslim authorities for having become pregnant outside marriage. She said her pregnancy was the result of rape.
Magazu was given 100 strokes of the cane before a large crowd in front of the Islamic Sharia court in Gusau, a town in Zamfara.
Bellamy said there were very few nations anywhere in the world whose justice systems allowed the flogging or lashing of children under the age of 18.
UNICEF stated that the universal ratification of the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child means there is a global consensus on protecting children from violence and sparing them from forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
"Nigeria has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits the use of flogging as a punishment for Children," it said.
"Nigeria has undertaken the obligation to implement the principles of the CRC and ensure that the nation's legal order conforms to its principles," Bellamy added.
On Tuesday, a Nigerian women's human rights group, Baobab, gave eyewitness accounts of the flogging of Magazu, who gave birth to a boy last month and is still breast-feeding.
"The lashes were on her buttocks," Baobab spokeswoman, Ayesha Imam said in a statement sent to Reuters in Lagos. "She was crying. There did not appear to be any sign of a doctor present."
Human Rights Watch condemned the flogging and urged the Nigerian government to protect those accused from "the arbitrary meting out of extreme and unacceptable punishments."
"Nigerian officials rushed to impose this cruel and unusual punishment and ignored the court's review of Magazu's conviction and sentence," said Regan Ralph, who heads the group's women's rights division.
There has been no official reaction from the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Although he has been trying to redress human rights abuses under past military rulers, Obasanjo is walking a tightrope over the sharia issue.
In 1999 Zamfara State blazed a trail for northern Nigerian states by adopting the strict Muslim sharia legal system, which is opposed by many non-Muslims.
The declaration of sharia law in some northern states led to Christian-Muslim fighting in March and May 2000 in the northern city of Kaduna in which hundreds of people died.
Copyright © 2001 P.M.News.
Follow-up: 23 April 2001 - Women's Group Tackles Zamfara Governor
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© Colin Farrell 2001
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