Fasting Enforcement: Why Sharia Police Is Illegal – Lawyer

Inibehe Effiong, a Human Rights Activist, has said any other Police Force in Nigeria other than the constitutionally recognized Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is illegal.

Mr Effiong stated this while reacting to online reports hinting that Sharia Police, an Islamic Force, will on Monday commence the arrest of adults who will publicly eat as Muslims begin their Ramadan season.

The legal practitioner said Sharia Police is illegal because bit is not known to the Nigerian Constitution.

Ramadan is a special month for Muslims and those who practice the religion are mandated to fast during the period.

Nabahani Usman, the Commander-General of Kano Hisbah, while speaking to BBC said those arrested will only be released at the spot if they can provide an exemption letter from a medical doctor or show proof of chronic ulcer with a warning not to repeat it publicly again.

“We do this kind of operation yearly and we will continue it this year,” Mr Usman said.

“The aim is to get every Muslim to respect the month of Ramadan. Even if a doctor says you should not fast, that does not mean you should eat in public while others are fasting.

“So any Muslim that we apprehend eating outside, our men will arrest and bring the person to our office unless he can show proof that a doctor asked him not to fast,” he added.

Condemning the activities of the force, the legal practitioner said the only recognized Police force is the Nigeria Police. He also said the activities of a religious group should not be enforced on people since the country is a secular state.

“There is freedom of worship under our Constitution. You cannot compel people to observe religious activities,” Mr Effiong said in a tweet on Saturday.

Inibehe Effiong, legal practitioner.

He quoted a section of the constitution to back up his claim saying the establishment of the Sharia Police will be tried in court.

“Sec. 214 of the Constitution prohibits the establishment of any police force in Nig apart from the Nig. Police Force. This unconstitutionality will be challenged one day,” the legal practitioner said.

A perusal of the constitution by POLITICS TIMES showed the lawyer is right in his claims.

While Section 214 recognizes the establishment of only the Nigeria Police Force, Section 38 subsection 1 says practice of religion should be without molestation.

“Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance,” the latter section reads.

A bill which paved way for the creation of Islamic Force in Kano State was signed by Rabiu Kwankwaso, when he held sway as governor.