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Unchained Vibes Africa joins other Nigerian, African and international organizations to call for the release of upcoming Nigerian singer Yahaya Sharif Aminu

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For immediate release.

Unchained Vibes Africa joins other Nigerian, African and international organizations to call for the release of upcoming Nigerian singer Yahaya Sharif Aminu

May 18, 2023

Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria

Office of the Presidency

Aso Rock Presidential Villa

Three Arms Zone 900103

Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria


CC: Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation


Letter Calling for Immediate Release of Nigerian Prisoner of Conscience Yahaya Sharif-Aminu


Dear President Buhari:

We are a group of Nigerian and international organizations and advocates focused on promoting the protection of human rights, including within Nigeria. We are writing to express our grave concern at the continuing prosecution of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu in Nigeria for allegations of blasphemy. We strongly urge Nigeria to immediately release Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, withdraw all charges against him, and ensure his safety.

In March 2020, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, a Sufi musician in Kano State, was arrested on charges of blasphemy for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad in two WhatsApp audio messages and held without bail. Around the time of his arrest, a mob burned down his home, and no member of the mob has been prosecuted. During his trial, he was not afforded a lawyer. He was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging in August 2020 for violating Section 382(b) of the Kano State Sharia Penal Code Law.

While a court later overturned the conviction, he was ordered to a retrial, where he would face the same potential death penalty. Sharif-Aminu is now appealing to the Supreme Court of Nigeria to find Section 382(b) unconstitutional and in violation of international law, including the African Charter. He has now spent over three years in prison for his peaceful and brief remarks that merely expressed his religious beliefs.

Kano State’s blasphemy law violates both the Nigerian Constitution and international law. The Nigerian Constitution protects the freedoms of thought, conscience, religion, and expression, and that includes the ability to peacefully share with others the tenets of one’s beliefs, even if others may strongly disagree with them.

International law, including the African Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, similarly protect freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief. It also requires that the death penalty be reserved only for the most serious crimes in those States that have not abolished the death penalty. In no sense can the mere posting of peaceful audio messages expressing one’s beliefs amount to a severe crime warranting death, or even any crime at all.

International observers have condemned the continuing prosecution of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu and called for his release. On April 20 of this year, the European Parliament overwhelmingly called on Nigeria to immediately release Sharif-Aminu and found that Nigeria’s blasphemy laws “are in violation of its international human rights commitments, the African Charter and the Nigerian Constitution.” Officials from the United Nations have similarly raised concerns over his prosecution and called for his release, as have officials from the United Kingdom and the United States.

Nigeria is also one of only seven countries in the world—including Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, and Saudi Arabia—with criminal blasphemy laws for which a person can be sentenced to death.

Yahaya Sharif-Aminu should never have been arrested and imprisoned in the first instance. Instead, he has had to suffer mob violence and spend years in prison for simply and peacefully sharing his beliefs with others.

A democracy cannot function when the most basic freedoms are not protected, and as the largest democracy in Africa, Nigeria’s example matters. But now, Nigeria and Your Excellency have an opportunity to set a strong example that you will work to protect the rights of your citizens, not disregard them.

For all of these reasons, we reiterate our call that Nigeria immediately release Yahaya Sharif-Aminu. Sincerely,


  •  21Wilberforce
  • Accountability Lab Nigeria
  • ADF International
  • Alliance of Inclusive Muslims
  • Anglican Persecuted Church Network
  • Avocats Sans Frontières France (Lawyers Without Borders France)
  • Boat People SOS
  • Buddhist Solidarity Association
  • Center for Pluralism
  • Christian Solidarity International
  • Church of Scientology National Affairs Office
  • Committee for Relevant Art (CORA)
  • Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam
  • Coptic Solidarity
  • Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience
  • Culture Advocates Caucus
  • Elixir Trust Foundation
  • Ex-Muslims of North America
  • Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA)
  • GAFCON Suffering Church Network
  • Genocide Watch
  • Global Christian Relief
  • Global Peace Foundation Nigeria
  • Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE)
  • Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam
  • International Christian Concern
  • International Committee on Nigeria
  • International Institute for Religious Freedom
  • International Senior Lawyers Project
  • Jubilee Campaign
  • Katartismos Global
  • Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice
  • Lead Africa International e.V (Germany)
  • Lumières Sans Frontières
  • Media Foundation for West Africa
  • Muslims for Progressive Values
  • Nigerian Centre of PEN International (PEN Nigeria)
  • NOPRIN Foundation (Network on Police Reform in Nigeria)
  • Religious Freedom Institute
  • Save the Persecuted Christians
  • Set My People Free
  • Shai Fund
  • Unchained Vibes Africa
  • Vietnamese Women for Human Rights


Eedris Abdulkareem
Nigerian Rapper, Singer, Activist and Olympics Torchbearer

Jackie Abramian
Founder Global Cadence

Segun Adefila
Nigerian Actor and Culture Activist Artistic Director, Crown Troupe of Africa

Folu Agoi
President Nigerian Centre of PEN International (PEN Nigeria)

Toyin Akinosho
Nigerian Writer
Co-Founder, Committee for Relevant Art (CORA)

Sola Alamutu
Research & Advocacy Manager Unchained Vibes Africa

David Alton, Baron Alton of Liverpool, KCSG, KCMCO
Member of the House of Lords (UK)

Jahman Anikulapo
Culture Curator and Program Chair Lagos Book & Art Festival (LABAF)

Sam Uche Anyamele
Nigerian Actor, Producer and Event Anchor

Seyi Arowosebe, Esq.
Lawyer, Nigeria

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Heiner Bielefeldt
Full Professor of Human Rights and Human Rights Politics
Institute for Political Science University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Former UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

Sarah Virginia Brinton, Baroness Brinton
Member of the House of Lords (UK)

Raymond Bola Browne (a.k.a. DJ Raybee)
Nigerian DJ, On-Air Personality and Culture Activist

Sir Peter Bottomley
Member of Parliament (UK)

Hon. Rollin A. Van Broekhoven
Member, Board of Directors
The Institute for Global Engagement Senior Associate
Oxford House Research Consultancy (UK)

Lisa Cameron
Member of Parliament (UK)

Victor Onuche Chapi, Esq.
Lawyer, Nigeria

Maurice Chukwu, Esq.
Director Centre for Global Tolerance and Human Rights (Nigeria)

Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, Church of England
Member of the House of Lords (UK)

Prof. Dr. Jelle Creemers
Professor and Academic Dean
Evangelical Theological Faculty (ETF) Leuven

Dr. David Curry
CEO Global Christian Relief

Eme Daniel, Esq.
Lawyer, Nigeria

Soraya M. Deen
Muslim Women Speakers

Robert A. Destro
Professor of Law
The Catholic University of America
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Elaina Fowler Founder/Principal FWMGroup
Federal Affairs Associate Secular Strategies

Prof. Shaun de Freitas
Professor of Law
University of the Free State, South Africa

Ayodele Ganiu
Founder/Executive Producer Unchained Vibes Africa

Lela Gilbert
Center for Religious Freedom Hudson Institute

Raymond Hervey Jolliffe, 5th Baron Hylton, ARICS, DL
Member of the House of Lords (UK)

Rev. John Joseph Hayab
Country Director
Global Peace Foundation Nigeria

Charmaine Hedding
President Shai Fund

Lauren B. Homer
Law and Liberty Trust

Philip Hunt, Baron Hunt of Kings Heath, OBE, PC
Member of the House of Lords (UK)

Dr. Shuaibu Husseini
Nigerian Journalist and Film Curator

Mariam Ibraheem

Former Prisoner of Conscience in Sudan
Co-Founder & Director of Global Mobilization Tahrir Alnisa Foundation

Emmanuel Ikule

National Coordinator
NOPRIN Foundation (Network on Police Reform in Nigeria)

El-Yaqub Ismail (a.k.a. Ricqy Ultra)
Nigerian Rapper and Poet

Fr. Fidelis Bature Joseph
Director Centre for Human Resources and Trauma Care Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri, Nigeria

Ven Lannap
CEO and Lead
CHAT-PRAY-ACT and Bo Sita MADE Initiative

Miriam Lexmann
Member of the European Parliament (Slovakia)

Phil Lundman
Benefactor N&P Lumen Christi Trust

Chollom Chuntok Mark, Esq.
Lawyer, Nigeria

Ap. Jorge Márquez and Congregation
Mission Life for the Nations Church, Uruguay

Rachael Maskell
Member of Parliament (UK)

Evan Mawarire
Director of Education Renew Democracy Initiative

Mark McInnes, Baron McInnes of Kilwinning, CBE
Member of the House of Lords (UK)

Scott Morgan
Co-Chair, Africa Working Group International Religious Freedom Roundtable)

Bryan Nerren
Asian Children’s Education Fellowship

Loan Nguyen
Advocates for Faith and Justice

Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang
Laureate of 2011 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award

Tien Nguyen
Human Rights for Vietnam

Pretty Okafor
President Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN)

Ifunanya Okeke, Esq.
Lawyer, Nigeria

Victor Okhai
President Directors Guild of Nigeria (Association of Movie Directors)

Ehi Omokhuale
Nigerian Voiceover Artist
Former President, Association of Voiceover Artists of Nigeria

Francis Onwochei
Nigerian Actor, Producer and Director

Samuel Osaze Programme Manager Unchained Vibes Africa

Myke Pam
Reggae Musician
Chairman, Nigerian Rastafari Community

Patrice J. Pederson
First Freedom Foundation

Dr. Gloria Puldu
President Leah Foundation, Nigeria

H. E. Pwana, Esq.
Chief Executive Director
Allied Legal Advocacy Project, Nigeria

Marie Rimmer, CBE

Member of Parliament (UK)

Bert-Jan Ruissen
Member of the European Parliament (Netherlands)

Andrew Selous
Member of Parliament (UK)

Dr. Christine M. Sequenzia, MDiv.
Founder Oliva International, LLC

Nina Shea
Director Center For Religious Freedom Hudson Institute

Indarjit Singh, Baron Singh of Wimbledon, CBE
Member of the House of Lords (UK)

Tunji Sotimirin
Nigerian Actor, Comedian, Singer and Television Host

Katrina Lantos Swett
President Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice

Paul Teller
Executive Director
Advancing American Freedom

Binh Tran
Antelope Valley Vietnamese Association (AVVA)

Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford, Church of England
Member of the House of Lords (UK)

Joël Voordewind
Member of Parliament of the Netherlands (2006-2021)

Frank Wolf
Member of U.S. Congress 1981-2015, retired

Norbert Young
Nigerian Actor and Educator

Annex of 89 Leaders of Chapters of the Christian Law Students’ Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON)

Kanyinsola Adu, Ajayi Crowther University, President

Prosper Agbaeze, Edwin Clark University, President

Obiano Amanda, Anambra State University, General Secretary

Promise Amaukwu, Ale Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Abonyi State, President Fatile Oluwanifemi Anjolaoluwa, Ajayi Crowther University, General Secretary

Ifechukwu Anyaji, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, General Secretary Sandra Attoh, University of Ibadan, President

Andrew Semasa Avoseh, Lagos State University, President

Omoloye Babatunde, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, General Secretary Olumide Badeniyi, AAUA, President

Dan Oluwapelumi Beloved, Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba, President Umeh C. Ben-Jonah, Abia State University, General Secretary

Famoriyo Abiola Catherine, Bingham University, President Olumba Victor Chibueze, University of Ibadan, General Secretary

Ndukwu Chibundom, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, General Secretary Okoroafor Uniquefavour Chidinma, Afe Babalola University, President David Deborah Chioma, Tansian University, General Secretary Oluwalana Daniel, Ekiti State University, President

Divine Dominion, Rivers State University, President

Iyamba Mighty Edim, Gregory University, Uturu, General Secretary Elisha, University of Abuja, General Secretary

Phillip Elisha, University of Abuja, President

Angel Emeka, Renaissance University, General Secretary Precious Farohun, Achievers University, President Favour, University of Benin, General Secretary

Ikpeazu Favour D., Abia State University (Umuahia Location), President Ekpewerechi Stella Favourite, Gregory University, President

Nwakile Onyinyechi Frances, University of Port-Harcourt, General Secretary Godlove Timothy Garba, University of Maiduguri, President

Nwakibea Gold, Rivers State University, General Secretary

Anita Ibhanesebhor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, General Secretary Kehinde Deborah Ibitoye, Ahmadu Bello University, President Oluwabusayo Ifonlaja, Nile University of Nigeria, General Secretary Ogu Loveth Isioma, Lagos State University, General Secretary

Odoh Jesukobiruo Jessica, Delta State University, President Sylvia John, University of Jos, President

Popoola Moyosoreoluwa Josephine, Achievers University, General Secretary Osemwegie Eseosa Joshua, Ambrose Alli University, General Secretary Egena-Jackson Joy, University of Jos, General Secretary

Aweribo Justice, Niger-Delta University, President

Rejoice Chioma Kalu, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, President Nwansi Chizurum Lawrence, Ebonyi State University, President Gabriel Evalsam Lyster, University of Uyo, President

Matthew Sunday Malle, Bingham University, General Secretary Benjamin Peter Mallum, University of Maiduguri, General Secretary Precious Martins, Tansian University

Faithful Oghenekomeno Matthew, Ambrose Alli University, Presidnet

Hon. Justice Godspower C. Mbuko, Ebonyi State University, General Secretary Alao Emmanuel Mosikabere, Kogi State University, General Secretary

Reuben Zakka Musa, Taraba State University, Jalingo, President Emmanuel Alexander Ndakwayi, NSUK, General Secretary Nathan Nzubechukwu, Anambra State University, President Jacinta Utavie Oboku, Niger-Delta University, General Secretary

Obukohwo Destiny Ogheneruemu, Delta State University, Oleh, General Secretary Emeka Lawrence Okwuokie, University of Calabar, General Secretary

Glory Oladipo, University of Ilorin, President

Inioluwa Prince Olaposi, Obafemi Awolowo University, General Secretary Carew Olayinka, University of Lago, President

Ibiyemi Love Oluwadarasimi, Osun State University, Ifetedo, General Secretary

Adeyeye Elijah Oluwakorede, Kwara State University, President

Ogunkoya Oluwatemiloru N, Olabisi Onabanjo University, General Secretary Adelaja Oluwatobiloba, Redeemer’s University, President

Alagbe Praise Oluwatosin, Bowen University, General Secretary Mosopefoluwa Omojola, Bowen University, President

Ogunleko Omowunmi, Olabisi Onabanjo University, President/National Publicity Head Samuel Moses Osabonya, NSUK, President

God’sBeloved Oyibo, Renaissance University, President Paul, Bayero University, President

Ojiaku Paul, Imo State University, President

Obazee Esohe Peculia, Nile University of Nigeria, President Pena, Taraba State University, General Secretary

Olasupo Praise, Ekiti State University, General Secretary Omoru Precious, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, President Onoja Ene Precious, Benue State University, General Secretary Anagbogu Prosper C., University of Uyo, General Secretary

Bejide Oluwatosin Rebecca, Edwin Clark University, General Secretary Flourish Robinson, University of Benin, President

Israel-Regha Oghenetega Salem, Redeemer’s University, General Secretary Olamide Samuel, Lead City University, General Secretary

Metibemu Sarah, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, General Secretary Larayetan Tosin Sharon, University of Port Harcourt, President

Evuarherhe Avwerosuo Clement Solace, University of Calabar, President Ajibola Taiwo, Uniosun Ifetedo, President

Ihekoronye Solomon Tochukwu, Imo State University, General Secretary Iheoma Ukwe, Unizik, President

Terwase Samuel Ushana, Benue State University, Makurdi, President Chukwuebuka Onyegbosi Victor, Batero University, Kano, General Secretary

Chris-Agunwa Victoria, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, President Jason Zalanga, Ahmadu Bello University, General Secretary

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