In what is fast becoming a popular saying in Nigeria, there is freedom of speech,
freedom after speech can however not be guaranteed.
This is surely the case for a Kano-based musician, Mohammed Yusuf aka AGY who has been jailed for two years for defaming the character of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state in a song that he released.
He sang in the song: “Kano governor has already turned blind, I swear what you did is hurting us, For lucre, governor is more than a thief. For lucre, governor can sell out Goggo.”
After the song went viral, Yusuf was picked up by officers of the law on Monday, June 17, and arraigned before Magistrate Court 72, presided over by Aminu Gabari.
On his second arraignment on Wednesday, June 19, the musician was found guilty by the court of three-count charges of releasing a music single without the due approval of the Kano State Censorship Board, releasing a music video without obtaining the same approval and defamation of the character of the incumbent governor of the state.
Reacting to the news this afternoon, Nigerian singer and lawyer Falz condemned the punishment on Mohammed Yusuf and said: ‘it’s shameful to see public officers using the machinery of the state to harass citizens and attempting to hinder our inalienable freedom of expression.’
He wrote: ‘HATE to see stuff like this! This is 2019. Any individual who feels defamed by any statement made by another person can sue for libel or slander under the law of defamation. It is shameful to see public officers using the machinery of the state to harass citizens and attempting to hinder our inalienable freedom of expression.
Anyone who knows the musician Mohammed Yusuf personally should please get in touch with me. We NEED to contend this unjust sentence. #JusticeForMohammed.’