Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) – Religious police in the northern Nigerian city of Kano have destroyed nearly four million bottles of beer, on the grounds that the sale and consumption of alcohol is banned in the predominantly Muslim region.
Sharia police called Hisbah often destroy alcohol and confiscate drugs, but the huge beer trade has been one of the biggest in a recently intensified crackdown.
Hundreds of Hisbahs unloaded 3,873,163 bottles of beer and some assorted liquors into an open space in Tudun Kalebawa village on Wednesday.
Bulldozers then rolled over the bottles to cries of “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) from the crowd, which included senior Hisbah and government officials.
The Hisbah set fire to the crushed remains and the burning continued through the night, according to residents of Tudun Kalebawa.
“Kano is a Shariah state and the sale, consumption and possession of alcoholic substances are prohibited in the state,” Haruna Ibn Sina, the head of the Hisbah, said at the ceremony.
“It is a demonstration that we are winning the war against drug addiction and all forms of intoxicants in Kano,” he said.
The beer had been confiscated from trucks entering the city from the predominantly Christian south for several months, Hisbah spokesman Lawan Ibrahim Fagge told AFP on Thursday.
“The beer shipments were destroyed after obtaining a magistrate’s court order,” Fagge said.
Kano is one of a dozen Muslim-majority northern states to have reintroduced a strict version of Sharia law since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999 after 15 years of military dictatorship.
The sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited and offenders risk 80 lashes.
The Hisbah has recently stepped up a crackdown on the sale of drugs and alcohol in the state, which has a high rate of drug abuse.
In December, youths from Kano’s predominantly Christian Sabon Gari neighborhood clashed with Hisbah police when they attempted to raid taverns and beer halls in the area.
Crowds set bonfires in the streets, prompting the deployment of regular police to restore order.
© 2022 AFP