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Enough Of Hisbah Impunity in Kano

Hisbah, an outfit set up to implement the Sharia Islamic law in Kano State, recently caused a stir in the social media when its Director General, Abba Saidu, warned non-Muslims to refrain from eating in the public during the month of Ramadan when Muslims all over the world engage in fasting....CONTINUE READING

We fault this assertion in its entirety because it is an act of brazen impunity. We endorse the notion that to foster peaceful and harmonious cohabitation, Nigerians must respect the sensibilities of fellow citizens, especially during their special religious undertakings such as the Muslim Ramadan fast, and the Christian Lenten fast.

However, no religious group should break out of its constitutional bounds to impose rules of impunity on other citizens because they are carrying out their religious obligation. That warning by the Hisbah boss is totally out of point, and his employers should call him to order.

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Fasting, like other religious activities, is a personal undertaking, even when it is being observed by a group in a special period such as the Ramadan month. That someone is fasting should not in any way curtail the civil liberties and constitutional rights of others.

Kano State, being one of the 36 states of the Nigerian Federation, is bound by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(As Amended) and other laws. Nigeria has no state religion, though the two major faiths- Christianity and Islam- are recognised, which is why some of their special days are observed as national public holidays.

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Under which law would Hisbah harass anyone for eating in the public? Even the criminal aspects of the Sharia law that 12 Northern states adopted have not been enshrined in the Constitution. Therefore, as long as Kano State is still a part of Nigeria, our Constitution remains the supreme law over the conducts of its residents.

There are also Muslims in the Southern parts of Nigeria, especially the South-West. They don’t seek to harass people of other religions as their Northern counterparts do. This is partly why religion is not a clog in the wheel of progress in any part of the South. On the other hand, the insecurity and instability in the North are rooted in the misplaced attitudes of some extremist groups in that region to religion.

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In the past 15 years, Nigeria has spent trillions of naira to rescue the North from some of its extremist elements who have plunged a once peaceful and enviable region to a theatre of chaos and anarchy due to wrong attitudes to religion.

The state government, law enforcement agencies and cultural authorities should call Saidu to order and restrict Hisbah’s activities strictly to adherents of Islam. The Nigeria Police Force, NPF, remains the primary agency of law enforcement.