The Kano government may be imposing Sharia law on non-Muslims and we’re worried

Alcohol Kano State

Reports indicate that the Kano State Hisbah Board has destroyed well over 1,975,000 bottles of beer- worth over N200 million. Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, represented by his Deputy Nasiru Gawuna during the destruction exercise at Kalebawa in Dawakin Tofa Local Government, said that the consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants is forbidden in Islam.

In a report by Daily Trust, the deputy governor stated that one of the missions of the state government is to increase the welfare of the Hisbah, whose duties are to enforce the Sharia Law. Deputy Governor Nasiru also urged all stakeholders to support the Hisbah in any way that they can.

This will, however, not be the first time that goods of this nature have been reportedly destroyed in Kano under the precepts of the Law. In 2013, the Islamic police also carried out an action like this and stated that they were acting under the guidance of Islamic law. Today’s report has, however, left many social media users to debate the authority of the Hisbah, the Sharia law and the way it is being enforced.

For emphasis, the Sharia Law is a religious law based on Islamic tradition and injunctions derived particularly from the Quran and the Hadith – Sharia refers to ‘God’s immutable divine law.

However, the application of the law in modern times has become a subject of dispute between Muslim fundamentalists and modernists. In Nigeria, the law has been instituted as a main body of civil and criminal law in twelve Muslim-majority states since 1999. It has long been argued that the enforcement of this law infringes on the rights and freedoms of Nigerians, including rights to move freely, express one’s ideas freely and now, to own and distribute alcohol – or even consume alcohol.

In a deeper sense, the Kano government banning the consumption and distribution of alcohol comes off as somewhat hypocritical. Essentially, the same law that prohibits the consumption and sale of alcohol also prohibits the association with anything related to alcohol including taxes derived from it.

Where the Nigerian constitution envisages the law be applied only to Muslims, this law has been extended to non-muslims with this move. It now appears that this law only plays out in cases where it affects the affairs of an average Nigerian or business owners irrespective of the fact that they may not be Muslims. In August, we debated the legality of sentencing 23-year-old Yahaya Aminu to death for ‘blasphemy’ and now, the debate is on how the law determines who drink alcohol or not – but where was the Hisbah when in 2018, Kano governor Umar Ganduje was caught on camera taking dollars as bribe?

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