1 comment January 3rd, 2008 Headsman
On this date in 2002, a young murderer from the northern Nigerian state of Katsina became the first person executed under that country’s controversial introduction of sharia law two years before.
Yakubu was convicted of stabbing to death a woman and her children, and according to the BBC was initially to be stabbed to death using the same knife. The sentence was moderated to hanging, perhaps to avoid inflaming sectarian sensibilities.
The introduction in 2000 of sharia in several northern majority-Muslim states of the oil-rich nation has pitted those states against majority-Christian territories to the south in a complex duel of identity politics under the klieg lighting of international human rights pressure.
Yakubu went from a guilty plea to death within three months, apparently because he failed to pursue any form of appeal, which might well have availed him: Nigeria’s federal government has pledged to stay sharia executions. Yakubu is in fact believed to not only be the first Nigerian executed under sharia — but also the last.
(It should be noted that just last month, Amnesty International charged Nigeria with carrying out executions in secret over a period of years. Although there was no explicit sharia connection documented in that expose, such behavior counsels caution with any assertion about recent death penalty activities in Nigeria.)
Also on this date
- 1898: Doc Tanner, Copper River gold rusher
- 1661: The effigy and books of Giuseppe Francesco Borri
- 2011: Two leaflet-readers
- Daily Double: The Path to Power in Pyongyang
- 1786: Elizabeth Wilson, her reprieve too late
- 1645: John Hotham the Elder
- 1946: William Joyce, Lord Haw-Haw