Back to Africa Check

No, Nigeria’s Sokoto state has not approved the death penalty as punishment for blasphemy

A post shared on Facebook in Nigeria claims that Aminu Tambuwal, the governor of Sokoto state, has signed a law to punish blasphemy with the death penalty.

"The governor of Sokoto has signed death penalty for anyone who insults the Prophet Muhammad. May Allah reward him with goodness," the 18 May 2022 post reads.

Sokoto is located in northwest Nigeria and is the home of the Sokoto caliphate, a group of Islamic emirates that was a powerful economic and political region during the 19th century. It contributed to the Islamisation of northern Nigeria.

The state was in the news in May after Deborah Samuel, a second-year student at the Shehu Shagari College of Education, was stoned to death and burnt by a mob for alleged blasphemy against the Islamic religious leader.

But has the state approved the death penalty as punishment for blasphemy? We checked. 

Sokoto_False

‘No, it’s false’

Muhammad Bello, the special adviser on media and publicity to governor Tambuwal, told Africa Check that the claim was false.

“No, it is not true. The governor has not signed such a penalty into law. That news is false,” Bello told Africa Check. 

We also found no evidence that the Sokoto State House of Assembly had deliberated on or passed such a law.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.