Four men have been arrested in the northern Nigerian city of Kano for allegedly carrying out a false marriage on Facebook, which the Islamic enforcement agency said had mocked Islam.
Kano is among 12 northern Nigerian states where Sharia law operates and the Hisbah enforcement agency said Wednesday the wedding was perceived to have made a mockery of the institute of marriage.
“We arrested four men for organising a mock wedding on Facebook which has caused public outrage,” Hisbah’s chief Abba Sufi told reporters.
“We arrested them for making a mockery of the sanctity of the institution of marriage,” he said.
The four suspects, aged between 30 and 32, were picked up on Tuesday, days after news circulated that one of them married a young woman on Facebook in a ceremony witnessed by the others, Sufi said.
The groom, Sanusi Abdullahi, confessed to have “jokingly” offered a female Facebook friend who lives in the northeastern city of Maiduguri a bride price of ₦20,000 during the “online marriage” on the condition that the money would be paid after she moved into his house.
His three accomplices stood as witnesses in the ceremony which was more of a “banter” between friends.
Sufi said the suspects had never met the ‘bride’ in person and was only a “social media friend” to the four men.
The incident sparked an uproar from radical Muslim clerics, who called for the arrest and prosecution of the suspects.
Sufi said Abdullahi even received death threats on his mobile phone and was assaulted by an attacker while leaving the mosque after evening prayers on Monday before his arrest.
“We have to intervene to ensure the issue doesn’t spiral out of control, now that the main suspect is under threat.”
“We have asked the police to investigate such threats and the physical attack on him which has left him with an injury to his arm,” he said.
Sufi said the suspects had shown remorse and the Hisbah was considering “closing the case” but wanted to gauge the mood of the people.
Last December, the Hisbah arrested 11 young women for allegedly planning a lesbian wedding.
The suspects were arrested while making last-minute preparations for the wedding in a hotel, but insisted on belonging to a dance club.
In northern states, where Sharia runs parallel to the state and federal justice system, homosexuality is punishable by death, although the sentence is rarely, if ever, enforced.
Shiites resume protest in Abuja after deadly clash with police
Police opened fire in clashes outside the parliament building on Tuesday, leaving at least three demonstrators dead
Hundreds of Shiites demonstrated in the Nigerian capital on Wednesday to demand the release of their jailed leader, a reporter saw, a day after clashes with police left several protesters dead.
Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), a radical pro-Iranian group, chanted slogans and danced with yellow bandanas on their heads in front of the national human rights commission in Abuja.
On the wall, a message written in red paint read;
“Nigerian police shooted shi’ites members @ national assembly on 9/7/2019.”
IMN leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky has been in custody since December 2015, when hundreds of his supporters, including women and children, were killed by the security forces, according to a toll established by rights watchdogs.
His detention has led to repeated protests in Abuja and several northern cities.
Police opened fire in clashes outside the parliament building on Tuesday, leaving at least three demonstrators dead, including a 14-year-old boy, while 11 others were injured, according to the protesters.
Police said the use of weapons had been defensive. They said two officers had been shot in the legs after a rifle had been snatched from a police officer manning the main entrance to the parliament.
This version was contested by the IMN.
“They (the police) just opened fire,” said the organisation’s spokesman, Ibrahim Musa.
“Of course, in some situations some of our members may have been throwing stones and such but the police statement that we were trying to steal their weapon is simply not true.”
With few exceptions, the Nigerian press headlined with the picture of a wounded policeman and typically described the protest as an attack on the National Assembly.
Musa said there was deep concern in the Shiite community over Zakzaky’s health. At the weekend, his son appealed for help, saying his father’s detention was an “assassination”.
“We are really agitated because we don’t want a situation whereby our leader will die in the hands of the federal government,” Musa said.
Zakzaky has been at odds with Nigeria’s secular authorities for years because of his call for an Iranian-style Islamic revolution. Northern Nigeria is majority Sunni Muslim.
In October, the IMN and human rights groups said more than 40 people were killed when the security forces opened fire on crowds on the outskirts of the capital. According to an official toll, six died.
Police and protesters injured after violent Shiites demonstration in Nigeria
The protesting Shiites took to the streets to demand the release of their leader Ibraheem El Zakzaky who was detained in 2015
Supporters of an imprisoned Shiite cleric clashed Tuesday with security forces around Nigeria’s parliament building, leaving a number of wounded, including two police, the authorities and witneses said.
Two officers were shot in the legs and six others hit with clubs and stones as members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) tried to “force their way into the National Assembly,” police said.
Witnesses told reporters that protesters seized a rifle from a police officer manning the main entrance to the assembly, located in the country’s institutional capital Abuja.
“They seized the rifle from one of them and shot another policeman standing close by,” one witness said.
“The guy shot was only injured and he was quickly rushed to the National Assembly clinic along with the guy whose rifle was seized because he sustained some bruising in the head as a result of the attack,” the witness said.
Security forces responded by firing at the protesters, wounding some of them, witnesses said.
The police said 40 IMN members were arrested.
A journalist saw traces of blood on the road leading to the assembly and cars with their windscreens smashed by fleeing demonstrators.
The National Assembly hurriedly suspended its plenary session due to the violence.
Pro-Iranian cleric, Ibrahim Zakzaky has been in government custody since fighting between his supporters and the army broke out in December 2015.
Zakzaky’s supporters have repeatedly protested in Abuja and several northern cities against the continued detention of their leader.
In October, the IMN and human rights groups said more than 40 people were killed when the security forces opened fire on crowds on the outskirts of the capital.
The army maintained six people died and that soldiers acted in self-defence.
Zakzaky has been at loggerheads with Nigeria’s secular authorities for years because of his call for an Iranian-style Islamic revolution.
Meanwhile, northern Nigeria is majority Sunni Muslim.
Ghana shelves planned $200 million parliament building following outcry
Parliament said it had halted the project due to the backlash ahead of a planned street protest on Saturday
Ghana on Monday shelved plans to spend $200 million on a new parliament building following a public outcry over the cost.
An online campaign by cultural figures and civil society under the banner #DropThatChamber drew widespread support that the West African nation had more pressing needs.
Parliament said it had halted the project due to the backlash ahead of a planned street protest on Saturday.
“We are a listening institution and after gauging the views of the people, we decided to shelve the idea,” Kate Addo, the acting director of public affairs of parliament, told reporters.
“People should rest assured that we are listening to their concerns. We’ve realised that people think there is no need for a new chamber now, but it isn’t as if we don’t need a new chamber,” she added.
“Going forward we’ll engage people more.”
Officials said the project was required to expand on the capacity of the current 275-seat facility and would be funded by a loan from the Indian government.
Those planning the protest said they would still hold it unless parliament released an official resolution dropping the project.
“We’re writing to them for a full disclosure about the project and it is only right that they write back to us and inform the public about what informed their decision rather than just shelving the idea,” said Bilkis Nuhu, a member of the organisers told reporters.
“The march is to let our leaders know we can’t be taken for granted any longer in this country,” she added.
Ghana was one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies in 2018, fuelled by a surge in oil and gas production. The country is also a major producer of gold and cocoa.
The World Bank says GDP per capita last year stood at just over $2,200 and that the country had slashed those living under the poverty rate of $1.9 per day to some 13 per cent by 2016.
Ghana — one of the most stable democracies on the continent — will hold presidential elections late next year that look set to see former leader John Mahama take on incumbent Nana Akufo-Addo.
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