Religious police in Northern Nigeria’s city of Kano have destroyed nearly four million bottles of beer on the grounds that the sale and consumption of alcohol are strictly not allowed in the predominantly Muslim region.
Sharia police called Hisbah usually destroy alcohol and seize drugs, but the vast beer haul was one of the largest in a recently heightened crackdown.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Hisbah unloaded 3,873,163 bottles, mostly beer and mixed alcoholic drinks, in an open space in Tudun Kalebawa village.
They dismantled the bottles by raming bulldozer over it while raising the slogans of “Allah-hu-Akbar”, and there were senior official of Hisbah and government officials present there.
The Hisbah set fire to the crushed bottles that were remainings, and the fire existed throughout the night, as per the residents of Tudun Kalebawa.
Kano is basically a sharia state, and the sale, consumption and possession of alcoholic substances are strictly banned there in the state, said Haruna Ibn Sina, the head of Hisbah, during the ceremony.
He then declared, “this is a protest that we are winning the war against drug abuse and all forms of intoxicants in Kano.”
According to the Hisbah, a spokesperson Lawman Ibrahim Fagge, the beer had been seized from trucks and making their way into the city, especially from the Christan South, over several months.
“The beer consignments were destroyed after securing a court order from a magistrate’s court,” said Fagge.
Kano is one of the dozen Muslims in northern states to have reintroduced a strict version of sharia regulation since Nigeria returned to civil rule in 1999 after 15 years of military dictatorship.
Sale and consumption of alcohol are strictly prohibited, and violators risk 80 lashes with a horsewhip.
The Hisbah has in recent times heightened crackdowns on drugs and alcohol sales in the state, where there is a high rate of drug abuse.
Last year in December, youths in Kano’s, mostly from the Christan neighbourhood of Sabon Gari, had a clash with Hisbah police while they were trying to raid bars and beer parlours in the area.