From Paul Orude, Bauchi
An Islamic group, As’habul Kahfi Warraqeem, who are followers of Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara, sentenced to death by the Kano State Shari’a court for alleged blasphemy, say the judgment is politically motivated.
Public Relations Officer of the Bauchi State chapter, Abdulllahi Musa, made this known at a press conference held at the NUJ Secretariat, Bauchi, on Monday.
Musa who read the text on behalf of the group led by the State Chairman, Musa Santuraki Pali, and other Ashabul Kahfi Warraqeem executives, said they were dissatisfied with the death sentence on the cleric.
They argued that the judgment was influenced by the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje and some other clerics in the state who are at loggerheads with Sheikh Abduljabbar.
“They therefore ganged up against him and labeled false allegations of blasphemy against him in order to smear him and eliminate him through the court,” the text said.
“The allegation of blasphemy against the Sheikh is nothing but campaign of calumny and character assassination on the popular cleric by his detractors including Ganduje and some clerics who feel threatened by Abduljabbari’s increasing popularity.
“Thus, they purported an allegation of blasphemy to give him a bad name and have justification for their evil plan to exterminate his life.
“We have resolved to appeal against the judgment in a higher court of law to quash this unsatisfactory judgment and impose his fundamental human rights especially of freedom of religion and thought as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution”
The group called on the National Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, National and International Human rights Organizations and Human Rights Lawyers to intervene.
They appealed to Human Rights Lawyer Mr. Femi Falana, respected Human Rights activist Ahmad Isa – Ordinary President, and others to counter what they described as “unfair and unjustified gang up against our religious leader” by providing legal aid to Sheikh Abduljabbar.
“Kano state Government and the hostile Clerics to Abduljabbar have teamed up to exterminate his life for the offense he has been pleading not guilty,” the group stated.
“We don’t have the strength to protect him in the court alone, hence our call for legal aid from human rights individuals and organizations to bring us succor.
“We notice that some of the sects who now ganged up to eliminate Abduljabbar were the ones who committed series of blasphemies in their preaching but nothing was done to them and they continue to practice their religion without hindrance.
“These blasphemers include Qaribu Kabara, Abdulrazak Yahya Haifan, Abbas Jega, Jalo Jalingo Ahmad Gumi, Abdulwahab Abdullah and Sani Rijiyar Lemo, bu because they are close to people in power, they went scot free while our spiritual leader who is innocent is now facing persecution.
“The judgment was politically processed by Governor Ganduje because he was critical to Governor Ganduje’s corruption and he did not support him.
“Finally, the purported un-Islamic so-called judgment by Ibrahi Sarki Yola is totally wrong and un-Islamic, therefore we reject it because the judgment was negatively manipulated from the beginning to the end”