▪︎ Declares The Guardian’s report on N40.6b liquor remittance as baseless, sentimental
The destruction of one million, nine hundred and seventy-five thousand bottles of beer worth 200 million naira early this week by Kano State Hisbah Board generated mixed reactions in the Nigeria cyberspace, with many netizens criticizing the activities of the religious police, calling the State government a hypocrite for allegedly receiving revenue from FG, part of which was generated through alcoholic beverages. In this exclusive interview with Muslim News’ Rasheed Abubakar, the Public Relation Officer of the Board, Mal. Lawan Ibrahim Fagge cleared the air on the allegations, including the claims that the Kano State Shari’ah only is only enforced on the poor, exonerates the rich, among others. Excerpts…
MN: There are speculations from some sections of the public that Kano State receives VAT from alcoholic drinks. Is this true?
Mal. Lawan: First, it is important to say that the State is facing a high level of alcohol consumption, addiction and abuse. Therefore, it is necessary to place a ban on intoxicants. Secondly, since the sales of alcohol has been outlawed , how can we legalize collection of money from its sales? Even in our standard hotels, it is prohibited to sell alcohol or other intoxicants. Honestly, the state government is not collecting any revenue from alcohol. That is why its sale and consumption is banned. This is based on Islamic rulings. The statement, “State government is receiving money from alcohol” is not true. Therefore, those who make the claim should provide clear evidence. If there is anyone collecting it on behalf of government, or without confirmation from the government, they should prove it with evidence. That is when we can take necessary actions against them.
Since the introduction of Shari’ah Law in Kano in 2004, there has been a lot of criticism, but we’re not bothered because we are backed by the law. In the constitution, there are some sections that allow States to design laws to suit their society, way of life and religion. It is from this section that the Kano state draws its right to implement the Shari’ah Law. The Shari’ah Law has zero tolerance for alcohol. Therefore, the state prohibits its manufacturing, sale and consumption. The state does not make revenue from it whatsoever. The state has no influence over the collection and disbursement of revenue by the federal government and how it is generated. So they can’t be held responsible for that.
MN: Have you seen the recent report of The Guardian over this issue? The newspaper, in its Wednesday, November 11 edition, wrote on the cover; ‘Kano cracks down on beer, despite N40.6b remittance’. How do you react to it?
Today in The Guardian – Kano cracks down on beer, despite N40.6b remittance. Get a copy.
#KanoState #FrontPage #Headline #Business #Politics #Sports #Entertainment #GuardianBusiness #News #Nigeria #NigerianNews #Africa #TheGuardianNg pic.twitter.com/5xgXzBcXX0
— The Guardian Nigeria (@GuardianNigeria) November 11, 2020
Mal. Lawan: I have seen the report and I must tell you that one of the reporters who wrote the story was highly sentimental. Let me tell you what happened. Two reporters, one in Kano and the other one in Lagos wrote the story. The reporter in Kano was in my office and we spoke extensively on the issue but because the newspaper has its own bias, another reporter in Lagos who is not from Kano, does not live in Kano and has most likely not been to Kano wrote his own sentiments on the matter, quoting unfounded figures of the remittance Kano receives from liquor.
MN: Sir, are you saying that the contribution of the reporter from Lagos is false?
Mal. Lawan: Yes, he distorted the whole story with unverified and unconfirmed figures. The real story is the one with the Kano Correspondent, whom I spoke to and I showed him the section of the law that allows Kano State to implement the Shari’ah Law. The state has decided based on its law to ban the consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants. The stakeholders know about it and majority of the citizens adhere to it, but because they want to damage the reputation of the state and showcase the Shari’ah as defective, they publish whatever they want. Whenever there are cases of confiscated intoxicants, we report to the court, then the court decides what to do and get back to us. The intoxicants we destroyed last week was due to a court verdict.
MN: There is another issue we would like you to clarify. Is it part of Hisbah’s assignment to arrest people that put on indecent clothing either male or female?
Mal. Lawan: Yes. Since they are entrusted with ensuring that people comply with the rulings of Shari’ah of which dressing is a part of. Even in academic institutions in Kano, including the Universities, there are dress codes. As long as you’re a Muslim man or woman, you must be decent in your dressing so that you would not attract illicit attention. If we see anything of such, it is the duty of our men to call such person to order. If the person is not a Muslim, we can’t enforce such on them.
Allah (SWT) says; "O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants (khamr), gambling, [sacrificing on] stone altars [to other than God], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful." Q. 5: 90 #Hisbah #Kano #Ganduje #Shariah pic.twitter.com/lZ5KxqVxZI
— Muslim News Nigeria (@muslimnews_NG) November 9, 2020
MN: Are you saying this does not concern non-muslims?
Mal. Lawan: No, it does not. If you come to Kano, you would see many non-Muslims who dress in whatever manner they like.
MN: Part of the reactions of people is that the law is enforced on only the poor and it exonerates the rich. So they’re accusing Hizbah of favouritism and bias. How would you react to this?
Mal. Lawan: No, no, no. There is nothing like that in our activities. In fact, Hisbah is collaborating with all military and para-military bodies. If we do not have the power to pass judgement on some offenders, we hand over such persons to the right bodies. The issue is that, people, particularly non-Muslims see the Shari’ah as something that can be misled by mere talking. Well, it’s not. These people want to translate the Shari’ah to fit their whims and caprices. They need to come to Kano to see the way we handle these cases. Even Christians bring cases to the Hisbah board and we resolve it clearly without bias or confusion.
MN: There is a particular example they cited of a big personality in Kano whose daughter got married and the cloth she wore was revealing and they served alcoholic drinks at the party and Hisbah did not take any action against the person but if it were to be a poor Muslim, the corps would go after him.
Mal. Lawan: The issue is that, as far as Hisbah is concerned, action is important. We would surely take action on anyone we were duly informed about, unless we do not know about the case. As far as we have seen a gathering of male and female, either at a wedding or any other place, we would advise them on the best way to relate. There are some people who come to our office to ask about how to observe Islamic conduct at their gatherings and we assist them by educating them on the proper conduct. If we are notified of any gathering that goes against the Shari’ah, we will go there and ask them to stop and if they refuse we will arrest them if need be.
Shariah: Between UAE’s relaxation and Kano’s enforcement, By Rasheed Abubakar https://t.co/NzOBkAVAFb
— Muslim News Nigeria (@muslimnews_NG) November 11, 2020
MN: What is your general advice to people that are not in Kano but they are being misled by fake reports about the activities of Hisbah in Kano?
Mal. Lawan: As long as you are in Kano, you can testify that among the security agents in Kano, Hisbah is among the best. And, if you are outside Kano and do not know much about Hisbah, make sure you do your research and find out from people that are in Kano and its environs about the activities of Hisbah and then you would understand it better. This is the general advice I give to people that are willing to know the truth about Hisbah and how they operate.
— By Fathia Okesola
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