Two TikTok comedians have been publicly lashed in Nigeria for creating a video that a court found to have slandered the governor of the state.
Mubarak Isah Muhammad, 26, and Nazifi Muhammad Bala, 23, each received 20 lashes, according to a judicial spokeswoman.
Mubarak and Nazifi Muhammad were sentenced for defaming Ganduje on TikTok.
Two TikTok comedians have been publicly lashed in Nigeria for creating a video that a court in the northern Kano State found to have slandered the governor of the state, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. According to a judicial spokeswoman.
For uttering disparaging remarks against the governor, Mubarak Isah Muhammad, 26, and Nazifi Muhammad Bala, 23, each received 20 lashes, according to Baba Jibo Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Kano State Judiciary.
Ibrahim claims that the two companions, who appeared before a magistrate’s court on Friday, were sentenced on Monday. According to a representative for the judiciary, they were remanded in detention over the weekend.
“They admitted the charges. They didn’t even ask or beg for a lawyer to stand for them,” Ibrahim told media.
“They were arraigned before the Kano State Magistrate Court for defaming the character of Governor Umar Ganduje on their TikTok social media account. When the charges were read to them, they pleaded guilty to the two counts of … defamation of character and inciting public disturbance,” Ibrahim said.
The two men’s lawyer has also been reached by media in an effort to get their comments.
According to Saifullahi Ibrahim, a close friend who visited the men in jail, the TikTok video was created four years ago and has only now come to light online. Ibrahim claimed to have known the two men for more than ten years.
In addition to the public lashing ordered by the court, the men were ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 naira (around $23) each and cleaning “including sweeping the court premises and washing the court’s toilets for 30 days,” Ibrahim stated.
Additionally, they were told to record a social media apology video for Governor Ganduje.
Osai Ojigho, the director of Amnesty International Nigeria, condemned the ruling, saying “satirizing those in authority is not a crime.”
Amnesty International condemns the sentencing of TikTokers Mubarak Muhammad (Uniquepikin) and Nazifi Muhammad for allegedly defaming the governor of Kano state in northern Nigeria. pic.twitter.com/bid2Y6olFA
The human rights agency called on Nigerian authorities to “immediately quash this appalling sentence.”
Human rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong wants the ruling of the magistrate’s court challenged at a higher court.
“I don’t understand why people should be flogged. Such form of punishment is inhumane and is inconsistent with the right to dignity of the human person,” Effiong told media.
“It is also doubtful whether they were given a fair trial. I believe that the two men should take steps to challenge the decision at the higher court.”
The ability of citizens to criticize their leaders was also emphasized by Effiong.
“Citizens have the right under the constitution to freedom of expression, and that right should be respected, particularly as it relates to public office holders. The rights of citizens to criticize them is preserved under the constitution,” he said.
The people has already criticised Governor Ganduje after a video that aired on local media in 2018 purported to show him taking home substantial sums of money in a flowing robe that were thought to be bribe money.
All charges have been refuted by the governor.
The northern Nigerian city of Kano follows a stringent application of Sharia law. Blasphemy convictions are frequent in this mostly Muslim nation where the Hisbah Corps, a religious police organisation, upholds a strict interpretation of Sharia law.
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