Religious police in the Nigerian city of Kano crushed and burned almost 4 million bottles of confiscated beer in what officials said was one of their largest hauls in their efforts to clamp down on alcohol, BBC reported. Bulldozers were used to crush the bottles in the full glare of bystanders who cheered “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great).
Kano, whose population is largely Muslim, practices Islamic law which is also known as Sharia. The city is also part of multiple states in northern Nigeria that have banned the consumption and sale of alcohol under the law. The alcohol ban in Kano took effect in 2001.
Officials confiscated the alcohol from trucks that had entered the city from the country’s south – which is predominantly Christian, AFP news agency reported.
And though the Sharia police, also known as Hisbah, have destroyed seized alcohol on several occasions, the quantity that was crushed on Wednesday was reportedly said to be one of the largest in what has been a relentless clampdown.
Officials said bulldozers crushed more than 3,873,163 bottles of beer and other alcoholic beverages in an open space during the exercise. The destroyed items were subsequently set on fire and allowed to burn through the night, villagers said, according to BBC.
“Kano is a sharia state and the sale, consumption and possession of alcoholic substances are prohibited”, Haruna Ibn Sina, the head of the religious police, said at the ceremony.
Following Nigeria’s return to democracy over 20 years ago, Kano and other predominantly Muslim states in the country’s north restored a harsh version of Sharia law. But the ban on alcohol in the city hasn’t sat down well with everyone as there have been recent clashes.
In December, youth in one of the city’s Christian areas had a brush with the religious police after they stormed drinking bars in the neighborhood. It had to take non-religious police to deescalate the confrontation after a mob set bonfires on the streets.