29th November, 2013 by Rupert Millar
Islamic police in the northern Nigerian city of Kano have destroyed over 240,000 bottles of beer.
According to Reuters, most of the beer was seized from minority Christian shop owners and taken by an earth haulage truck to a place outside of the city where it was destroyed in accordance with sharia law by the Hisbah – Islamc police – as part of a wider crackdown on “immoral behaviour” earlier this week.
Sheikh Aminu Daurawa, head of the Hisbah, said at the site: “We thank God that our command has successfully destroyed about 244,151 bottles of beer of different sorts. We hope (this) will help restore the tarnished image of Kano.
“We hereby send a warning to unrepentant offenders that Hisbah personnel will soon embark on an operation into every nook and cranny in this state to put an end to the sale and consumption of alcohol.”
NBC added that the patrol also destroyed 300,000 cigarettes and over 8,000 litres of the local “burukutu”, which is made from sorghum.
The north of Nigeria is largely Islamic and has practiced sharia law since 2000 but there are Christian enclaves (just as there are Muslim communities in the Christian south).
One Christian shopkeeper who’s beer was confiscated told Reuters: “The sharia officials have crippled my business. I feel seriously cheated over the seizure and destruction of my beer.”
Christian/Muslim tensions in Nigeria – the most populous country in Africa – have remained largely unresolved since the millennium.
There have been many horrific acts of violence perpetrated by one community against the other over the years leading to a cycle of violence.
Of particular concern is the Islamic militia organisation Boko Haram (The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad), which has been responsible for several massacres of Christians and security forces since 2009 and may have links to Al Qaeda.
The islamists have been tightening their grip on the north (especially around Kano) and it is feared they may destabalise the entire country.
Nigeria is Africa’s second fastest growing economy, largely driven by oil, and one of its largest beer drinking markets – particularly for Heineken and Diageo’s Guinness.