Kano State Hisbah Board has refuted claims that its personnel had invaded students’ dormitory at the Bayero University Kano (BUK) and arrested students in its ‘Black Spots’ operation across the city.
Hisbah’s deputy commander-general in charge of operations, Dr. Mujahid Aminuddeen Abubakar told WikkiTimes in a telephone interview.
Following raids of hotels and nightlife joints in Kano by Hisbah (officers that comply with adherence to Shariah law), a video went viral on social media particularly Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) where female students were heard screaming, seeking help and alleging that Hisbah personnel burgled into their rooms.
“Help us, they want to break into our house. Help us! help us! Somebody should help us oooo. They are breaking our house. We are students of BUK they are coming. We are calling police oooo. Help! Help! they are breaking our door,” the students were heard saying in the video.
“I need glass. I want to carry my glass,” one of the students uttered. “Show me your (school) ID card. Just show me your ID card, a voice of an officer believed to be Hisbah official instructed.
Critics on social media berated the Hisbah officials while condemning the alleged invasion.
When contacted earlier, the Hisbah public relations officer (PRO) Malam Lawan Ibrahim said he did not watch the viral video and had no details of the said operation which took place at Danbare residential area that houses a lot of BUK students.
“I don’t have the details of the operation. But I know there were operations in Kabuga and Danbare quarters. I have not seen the video you are talking about.” he told our reporter.
The deputy commander also claimed he hadn’t watched the video but confirmed that BUK students were released when their identities were confirmed.
“Since it is a raid of already identified black spots, anyone found there was automatically arrested but when they prove their identities or innocence, we automatically released them,” Dr Abubakar explained. “I have not seen the video so I can’t say anything about and those that don’t want the operation can go any length to scuttle it.”
He added: “When the vice chancellor of BUK called that among the arrested were his students, we released them after they identified themselves.
“Immediately they were arrested they made calls and the university confirmed the students were released. We have received a lot of complaints from residents of Danbare, they asked for our interventions and that is why we went there.”
Dr Abubakar argued that the Hisbah’s operation became necessary to sanitize the state following the relocation of commercial sex workers to Kano from some states that closed brothels.
He added that all the raids were as a result of complaints the board had received from residents of the areas.
“It is an operation aimed at sanitizing the city. Borno state closed brothels, Yobe and Gombe states did the same. As a result, a lot of women (prostitutes) relocated to Kano. They think Kano is a safe haven for them,” he claimed.
He dispelled the accusation that Hisbah embarked on its activities of raiding hotels and houses without recourse to the rule of law.
“One of the challenges we have currently is that where these black spots are, they destroy the moral values and character of the children there,” the deputy commander continued.
“Anywhere you see our men there, there has been written complaint from residents of that area. And we don’t just go there. We first send our surveillance team to ascertain what is happening there and thereafter we obtain a search warrant from the court and inform the DPO of that particular area. Our personnel are well-trained professionals who respect people’s rights and don’t encroach on them.”
According to him, 30 individuals who had been apprehended wandering in different black spots in the state had been confirmed HIV positive while many others tested positive for hepatitis.
“There is nothing personal in the operation and we are not targeting any individual. We are just trying to bring sanity to the society. So far in these raids across the city, we discovered around 30 that are HIV positive not to talk of hepatitis,” the deputy commander disclosed.
Efforts to speak with Abdullahi Kiyawa, spokesman for Kano Police Command, proved abortive. He neither returned calls put through his contact nor replied to an enquiry sent to him. Similarly, the spokesperson for Bayero University, Lamara Garba, did not reply to messages sent to him.
However, a Kano-based lawyer, Barr Abba Hikima has cautioned Hisbah to avoid going contrary to the law in trying to enforce Shariah in the state.
Barr Hikima identified instances where Hisbah personnel infringed on people’s rights through trespassing, banging on people’s doors, searching of women by men, insulting suspects and subjecting suspects to HIV tests without their consent.
He advised Hisbah to carry out its operational activities in line with the provision of the law establishing the agencies and Islamic law.