Blasphemy: COSON calls for pardon of Kano singer Yahaya Sharif-Aminu

The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has appealed for the pardon of the 22-year-old musician in Kano State Yahaya Sharif-Aminu who was recently sentenced to death for blaspheming Prophet Muhammad.

In his ‘No Music Day’ address to the nation on Tuesday issued from COSON House in Ikeja, Lagos and syndicated on multiple media platforms, COSON chairman 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 organisation representing the interest of musicians and others in the music industry.

“Our organisation is neither religious, political or tribal. We have members from every state in Nigeria belonging to different religions and different political parties and we respect the beliefs of each of them.  We make our appeal on completely humanitarian and compassionate grounds and hope that other organizations and individuals will join us in pleading that the life of this young Nigerian is spared.”

Kano State Governor Ganduje last month said he would not hesitate to sign the execution order at the expiration of the 30-day grace if the singer failed to appeal the judgment.

Okoroji, a former president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) further said: “Everywhere you go, the ingenuity of the Nigerian people continues to be on display. Our music, movies, literature, fashion, programming, and similar products of the creative endeavour are in substantial demand across the world. In the creative industry, Nigeria has significant comparative advantage. We are only asking for people who have the vision, the passion and the understanding of the new world to be in the right positions to spark the fire and change the national narrative.”

“No Music Day” is traceable to that historic week in 2009 when Nigerian artistes embarked on a weeklong hunger strike staged in front of the National Theatre in Lagos. The hunger strike which was a result of the frustration of the musicians with the devastating level of intellectual property theft in Nigeria was the prelude to what has become known as “No Music Day” in Nigeria. The day was September 1, 2009, when as practitioners in the Nigerian music industry, musicians in one voice asked the over 400 licensed broadcast stations in the country not to broadcast music for a significant period of the day and “No Music Day” was born.