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Judicial CP - January 2005
This Day, Lagos, 2 January 2005
Alcohol: Sharia Court Orders Man Caned 80 Strokes
From Segun Awofadeji
An Azare Sharia Court in Bauch State, has ordered a 28-year old man, Ibrahim Musa, of Sabo Line, Azare, Bauchi, to be given 80 strokes of lashes for drinking alcohol, an act inimical to the principles and practice of the State Sharia Legal System.
The culprit, who was apprehended on November 14, 2004, at the Federal Low Cost Housing Estate, Azare, by members of the Hisba Group (Sharia Enforcement Agency) while committing the offence, was immediately charged to the Sharia Court as prescribed by the State Islamic Legal Code.
According to the prosecutor, Corporal Mohammed Sani, the accused was seen at the venue drunk and holding a bottle, containing some quantity of beer (alcohol), before the Hisba Group was attracted to whisk him away.
Sani added that the accused admitted committing the offence contrary to section 147 of the State Sharia/Penal Code Law and tendered as exhibit a bottle, containing the alcohol before the court.
The Presiding Judge of the Court, Alhaji Mohammed Gidado, after cross-examining the accused, ordered that he was caned 80 strokes as stipulated under section 148 of the State Sharia Penal Code Law.
Another Sharia Court in Bauchi had only recently sentenced one Altine Baba and Aliyu Musa to three years House Arrest and 30 strokes of the cane for forcibly removing the genitals of a dog, and inflicting serious pains on it to cause its death.
Arraigning the convicts in Court, Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Abubakar Salihu, said the offence was committed by the two men on December 5, 2004, at Nasarawa quarters in Bauchi, against the laws of the State Islamic Code, adding that the inhuman treatment meted to the dog contravened section 183 and 95 of the Sharia Penal Code as practiced in Bauchi State.
The presiding judge consequently sentenced the convicts to three years house arrest each with an option of a N10,000 fine in addition to 30 strokes of the cane, and warned them to show mercy to animals and desist from such inhuman act in future.
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Daily Champion, Lagos, 21 January 2005
Olupitan's Bizarre Bill
Except for the re-introduction and full implementation of the Sharia as operational legal code in 1999 in some Northern states of the country with Zamfara as arrow-head, no piece of proposed legislation has more potentials for disrupting and polarising the nation's socio-political status quo and public opinion, than the one being sponsored by Senator Titus Olupitan (AD, Ondo South) which curiously has passed the first reading stage at the nation's highest legislative body - the Senate.
Titled An act to prohibit indecent or disgusting bodily exposure in public places, the bill, if passed into law, would make it a criminal offence for people (women) to wear dresses that expose the breasts, navels and belly parts in public places.
And, by public places, the sponsor of this bill has in mind examination halls and classrooms of educational institutions, libraries, market places, government offices, or any public place, where those it defines as indecently dressed citizens should be restricted from.
In default, the bill provides for punishments ranging from monetary fines, terms in prison or public flogging of between 10 to 13 lashes depending on the body-parts exposed, and the ages or status of the offenders.
For example, Senator Titus Olupitan recommends in his bill that terms of imprisonment of two weeks or fine of N2,000 be set aside for first offenders above the ages of 18 years.
Those above the age of 14 but still below 18 years 'would be liable to public caning ranging between 10 to 13 lashes', according to reports, without legal remedies to damages from executing authorities.
Not yet done with his pious, righteous indignation against those distracting ladies who corrupt and pollute our nation through their skimpy apparels, Senator Olupitan spread his legislative net far and wide enough to catch organisations and institutions which fail to implement the provisions of the bill on dress code for women. They (institutions and public organisations) will pay fines of N150,000 and N75,000 respectively, for initial non-compliance in event that this bill becomes law.
But this bizarre bill takes the cake in its definition of what constitutes indecent dressing. The prescription of the sponsor of the bill apparently tilts towards the dress code of Taliban Afghanistan before American forces loosened up the pre-historic morality of that archaic region.
Though every discerning observer will agree that youth fashion and morality have gone a long way above the board, at least as it used to be, and that issues of 'indecent' exposure of female body parts have concerned both the nation's religious and educational institutions to warrant their censures, Senator Olupitan's panacea of caning, imprisonment and prohibitive fines appear like a throw-back to the medieval era when women were forced to wear corsettes and pigeon-toed shoes to distort or mould their femininity to desired forms as in pre-Mao China.
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