Dr. Abba Sufi, the Director General of Hisbah Board, an agency of the Kano State Government, which recently destroyed about 30-truckload of beer bottles, has opened up on the real reason why the agency is taking action against sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in Kano State.
In an exclusive interview with Punch, Sufi said the action of the agency derives from existing laws in the state.
"There is a law in the state banning the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks. It is not a new law. We have been destroying alcoholic drinks since 2004. So, why is it generating so much interest now? The case was taken to court and the court ordered Hisbah to destroy the beer. So, we destroyed it based on court order.
"A magistrates’ court gave the order. The case was taken to court. The court gave the order. And why should we keep the alcoholic drinks? We don’t have where to keep the drinks. So, we had to destroy the beer."
Speaking on the perceived contradiction between the constitution of the Federal Government which does not prohibit alcohol and that of the state he said
"I am not a lawyer but I know that there is no contradiction there. This is because the Kano State House of Assembly made the law banning alcoholic drinks in the state. This law was passed in 2004 and we have been enforcing the law since then. Although there is no place in the constitution which states that the sale and consumption of alcohol are prohibited, there is a state law, which prohibits its consumption or sale. And this law must be respected by all residents in the state, irrespective of religion or ethnic background.
"In view of that, I do not see any contradiction with the Nigerian Constitution or any law of the land with the Kano State law. This is because states have the right to enact laws governing their conduct. Islam forbids the sale and consumption of intoxicants of any type, which Kano State is adhering to. So, if we impound or confiscate alcoholic drinks along our roads or in the hotels, we take them to our court seeking permission to destroy them."