Nigeria

Blasphemy: Sheikh Abduljabbar asks lawyers to take back seat, moves to defend self

The Kano command of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), says reports on alleged poisoning of Kano based cleric, Abduljabbar Kabara, under its custody, fake news.

There was a mild drama at the Upper Shari’a Court in Kano, on Thursday, when controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasir Kabara, insisted on defending himself in the ongoing blasphemy case.

When he was arraigned in court last month, the cleric had tackled his lawyers. forcing them to withdraw from the case.

On Thursday, the cleric, who was charged with blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed, an offence punishable with death, told the court that he does not have confidence in his lawyers defending him well as they have not mastered Islam.

At the resumed hearing of the case, the prosecution counsel, Professor Saida Suraj (SAN), presented the second prosecution witness, one Murtala Kabir Muhammad, a teacher and resident of Kofar Na’isa Lokon Makera, who said he was one of the students of Abduljabbar.

However, when it was time for the cross-examination of the witness, the defense counsel, Barrister Muhamamd Amin Kabir, applied to the court that the defendant be allowed to cross examine the witness himself, citing section 36(6d) of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

But in his ruling, the presiding judge, Ibrahim Sarkin-Yola, held that the defence had the option of choosing either the defendant to handle his case alone or his lawyers defend him, but that both of them cannot continue together.

Immediately, the cleric chose to defend himself but his lawyers also insisted on remaining in the case till the end.

The prosecution counsel, however, said though they have no objection for the cleric to do the cross-examination, it was their duty to state that since the case is capital in nature, it cannot go on without defense lawyers.

Upon taking all the arguments, the judge, thereafter, adjourned the case to 11th November, 2021.

Earlier, the witness Murtala Kabir Muhammad told the court that he heard Abduljabbar at different times saying bad things about Prophet Muhammad.

According to the witness, on August 10, 2019, he was in Asshabulkhahfi mosque at Gwale Filin Mushe where Abduljabbar used to teach his students and heard the cleric made a blasphemous speech regarding the marriage between the Prophet Muhammad and his wife, Nana Safiyya.

The witness also testified to the court that on December 20, 2019, he heard Abdulljabbar talking badly about the Prophet.

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