Some Nigerians on Tuesday slammed the Personal Assistant to the President on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, after an old tweet he made supporting the death penalty for blasphemy went viral.
Ahmad had in 2015 supported the death sentence on nine people who described Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the Senegalese founder of the Tijaniya sect, as being greater than Prophet Mohammed..
Some Nigerians on Twitter campaigned for the discharge of the nine convicts with the #SaveKanoNine.
But the president’s aide had a different opinion.
He wrote, “I can’t pretend or keep silent. I support the death penalty for blasphemy. That’s my belief and I do not and will never support #SaveKanoNine.”
The tweet was brought up on social media after a court in Kano sentenced an artiste, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, to death for blasphemy on Monday.
The 22-year-old was convicted for circulating a song via WhatsApp in March 2020.
Some Nigerians described Ahmad’s statement, which trended for hours on Twitter, as insensitive.
A Twitter user, Renè @Rene_noire, said freedom of speech is guaranteed in all religions.
He said, “Freedom of speech is a human right that can be exercised by anyone from any religion. Anyone at all. Also, hate speech should never result in murder. How can you confidently say this? This is not Islam.“
Another user, Slimbaba, @ademulegun_femi, wondered why terrorists get amnesty in Nigeria, while people are killed for blasphemy.
“Bashir won’t apologise or retract that tweet. The fact that it’s still there five whole years later is scary. You wanna know why nothing will happen? – Twitter Noise – Rage, Drag, and it’s all gone after some days, Rinse and Repeat,” Wale @wale101010 wrote.
However, some other users sided with Ahmad’s tweet.
One of them Mohnice Syringe @Official_mohnyc, wrote, “A remarkable verdict! Like Bashir, I appreciate any sentence for the blasphemy against our Prophet Mohammed. This would stand as a lesson to those who may be thinking of doing the same. People have totally deserted the laws and teachings of the Qur’an, thereby following the devil blindly and idolising their ego.”
_Anfield said, “Unfortunate Nigerians using Bashir Ahmad’s words of 2015 wrongly to castigate him is uncalled for. These people should learn to accept our differences. The usage of religious beliefs will only enhance diversity among ourselves in Nigeria. Cut it out.”
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