By Sam Anokam
The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) is celebrating the release of Aminu Yahaya Sharif, a 22-year-old musician in Kano State, who was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging for blasphemy in August 2020.
Aminu was accused of circulating a song on WhatsApp that allegedly contained derogatory comments against Prophet Muhammad.
COSON had joined several others in a major campaign to overturn the death sentence on Aminu and to spare his life.
In his “No Music Day” address to the nation on September 1, 2020, the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, said, “as we mark No Music Day, we wish to humbly appeal for the pardon of the 22 year old musician in Kano State, Aminu Yahaya Sharif, who was recently sentenced to death for blasphemy. We wish to state that we are an organization representing the interest of musicians and others in the music industry”.
Subsequently, on January 21, 2021, an Appeal Panel ordered that the case of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu be retried by a different judge based on the fact that he was never represented by any counsel throughout his trial.
It is reported that the Executive Secretary of Kano State Films and Video Censorship Board, Ismaila Na’abba Afakallah who reported the singer to the DSS which later arrested him, has confirmed Aminu’s release from custody.
An elated Okoroji expressed joy that the life of Sharif has been spared. “At a time when the lives of innocent Nigerians are being wasted carelessly everyday across the country, it is fantastic to hear that the life of this young musician has been spared. Life is too precious to be taken away by human beings who cannot restore it. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all organizations and individuals who lent their voices and took steps to ensure that Aminu’s life is spared. I also want to thank the authorities in Kano for listening to our plea,” said Okoroji.