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Sharia Police Ban Protest in Nigeria – Brings Protestors to Global Notice

The Nigeria Daily Trust reports from the predominently Muslim area of Kano:

Hisbah, the Shari’a security outfit established by the Kano State government to enforce Shari’a in the state, has ordered the Association of Divorcees, Widows and Orphans to shelve its mass rally scheduled to hold on 29th of this month in Kano city.

…In an exclusive interview with Sunday Trust, hisbah deputy commander-general operations, Malam Aliyu Abubakar said the planned protest was not only against the injunctions of the religion, but would ridicule the esteem of the state in the eyes of the world.

He told our reporter that the decision to invite the leadership of the association for talks was to educate it on the ills of the planned rally as well as its implications on the morality and wellbeing of the people.

Doubtless the rally would have passed with a bit of attention in the local media. Instead, by banning the event the hapless Abubakar has now brilliantly ensured that the “esteem of the state” is “ridiculed” all over the world! The BBC has more.

The Hisbah has featured on this blog before; in  2006 the outfit launched a campaign against women riding taxi mopeds. Kano Governor Ibrahim Shekarau, meanwhile, is infamous for spreading hysteria against the polio vaccine, with the result that a number of children in Nigeria and elsewhere have been affected by the disease. In October he stated that he would be willing to spend the “whole treasury” of the state on implementing Shariah, and he declared himself to be a “religious hero.”

Some background to the reason for the divorced women’s protest is provided in a long Daily Trust article that appeared in December:

The Commissioner for Women Affairs in the state, Hajiya Maimuna Khalil, told our correspondent that the menace [of divorce] had reached such an alarming rate that government had now introduced drastic measures aimed attacking the growing cases and reducing them to the barest minimum.

“We found out that the increase in rate of divorce in the state is aided by the growing ignorance of Islamic rules concerning marriages; we found out that most of the people did not know what the religion says about marriage”, she said.

The commissioner also disclosed that some harmful cultural practices had, unfortunately, infiltrated into marriages so much so that people forgot their religious and moral obligations. She said as a result, the abuse of women’s rights had been on the increase and government was worried about the trend and determined to address it through collaboration with all stakeholders in the state.

The rising cases of divorce in the state has led to increase in drug consumption among women…The commissioner said among the factors responsible for the increasing instability in marriages is over dependence on men by women: “One of the factors, according to the findings of the recent study conducted by the committee set up to investigate the reason behind the increase in rate of divorce, has been the issue of over dependence on men. And if we are to critically tackle the root of the instability, then we have to find a way of empowering the women” she said.

The article mentions an organisation called “The Voice of Divorcees, Widows and Orphans of Nigeria”; perhaps this is the same as the Association.

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