The Sokoto State Government has denied disbanding the State Hisbah Commission.
The religious police unit, known as the Hisbah, is responsible for enforcing Sharia law practiced in parts of northern Nigeria, including Sokoto State.
The rebuttal is contained in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Bashir Garba in Sokoto on Monday.
The statement reads, “The Government wishes to clarify that the operations of the State Hisbah Commission, which is a creation of the law, has not been suspended. Similarly, it should be noted that the leadership of the Commission is still in place and have not been suspended from duty. By the provisions of the law establishing the Hisbah Commission, only the State Governor has the right to remove any member of the Commission from his/her duty, which in this case, nothing of such has happened.
The government however said there was an agreement to “harmonise” the leadership of three factions in the commission.
“For the records, the Ministry of Religious Affairs held a meeting with the leadership of the three factions claiming authority over Hisbah Commission in the State. An agreement was reached to harmonise their operations for the benefit of the citizenry. The harmonisation is still in progress, and further communication will be made after due consultations with relevant stakeholders,” Mr. Garba said.
The rebuttal however contradicts a statement made by the Sokoto State Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Mani Katami, on Sunday, in Sokoto.
Mr. Katami told NAN that the state government disbanded the state Hisbah Commission due to crisis in the commission.
“A myriad of complaints were received from members of the public about alleged overzealousness and high handedness of its operatives. This action was taken as the three groups had failed to harmonise themselves into one group, for efficient and united operations. The state government had given them a grace of over one year to do so, but the groups had failed to harmonise, this is contrary to the Act establishing the commission,” Mr Katani said.
Last week, the Hisbah commission was involved in a controversy after it stormed the wedding of Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s daughter in Sokoto last week, and seized musical instruments used for the event, for allegedly violating the Sharia law.
The move was because the music played at the event allegedly violated the Islamic law.
Daily Trust reported that the commandant of the Commission, Adamu Kasarawa, confirmed the development, and said the commission had wanted to arrest the DJ that performed at the dinner but that he escaped.
Mr. Kasarawa was quoted as explaining that it was the commission’s responsibility to correct anything that works against Sharia law.
He also added that the musical instruments alongside other devices seized across the state would be destroyed.