Kano Shias Under Wahabi Threat


Mahmud Mustapha




Since Malam Ibrahim Shekarau assumed office as the third civilian governor of Kano state on May 29, 2003 Shia followers in this Sunni-dominated city have been under threat of attack from blood thirsty Wahabis that have taken control of machinery of government.


Although it has become common to hear voices of hatred-filled Wahabi imams legitimizing the shedding of shi’i blood emanating from loudspeakers of Saudi-sponsored and state-assisted mosques, the state government has done nothing to bring these bellicose elements to order. Instead the government openly encourages these utterances and is gradually paving way for these Wahabis to actualize the massacre of Shias in this city and by extension the whole country.


Apart from allowing the Wahabis to continue to spew the venom of hatred against the Shias among the predominant Sunnis through calumny and fabrications, the government sponsored a systematic and sustained media campaign against Shia followers on its radio station which refers to suicide attacks by Iraqi Wahabi dissidents against Shias and their places of worship as Jihad. With this campaign they intend to instill in the minds of the people of Kano the desire and the zeal to attack and kill Shias in the name of Jihad, knowing very well the strong support and respect the Iraqi dissidents enjoy from the majority of the Sunnis in Kano. The government is also aware of the presence of the large army of uneducated jobless youth whom it used in the mass murder of innocent Christian residents in the city between May 11 and 13, 2004 in reprisal attacks following Yelwan Shandam ethno-religious violence in Plateau state in central Nigeria. These jobless youth are the instruments of murder being used in all elite-sponsored ethnic and religious killings in the state. If these human killing machines can kill, maim and mutilate a human for economic gains or frivolous ethnic sentiments, would they hesitate to kill when they are made to believe they are doing a ‘service’ to Allah?   


Governor Shekarau went further in the attempt to provoke the Sunnis against the Shia accusing the Shia of insulting the companions of the holy prophet (s.a.w.a) with particular mention of the khulafa’ur-Rashidin in a phone-in programme simultaneously televised on the state television and aired on the state radio during his first year anniversary as the governor of Kano state. The aim was to foment a sectarian conflict that would give the Wahabi-controlled government the good excuse to exterminate the Shia in the state. When the Shia followers protested against this calumny by the governor, he said it was a ‘slip of tongue’ but did not apologize to the Shia in any way for this grave injustice.


Having failed to pitch the Sunnis of Kano against their Shia brethren, the government has devised a new tactic of using its 9,000 Hisbah or Sharia enforcers to unleash mayhem on the Shia as officials of the state’s Sharia Commission which controls the Hisbah have started a vigorous campaign against the Shia, stigmatizing them as ‘Maitatsine’, a heretic militant group that caused a bloody unrest in the city in 1982 that claimed thousands of lives and wrought large-scale destruction on the city. The Permanent Secretary in the state’s Sharia Commission, Abdullahi Tanko likened the Shia to the Maitatsine menace that must be eradicated in a radio programme on the state radio titled kadaura babbar inuwa which promotes the policies Shekarau administration, aired on Wednesday (14-09-2005) and repeated on Thursday (16-09-2005). Tanko’s words:


            Shia is fast gaining ground in Kano like wild fire, which you find in every

            nooks and corners of this state, and if we don’t act fast and decisively we

            will be faced with a disaster worse than Maitatsine.


It is no coincidence that Tanko made this statement a day after Al-Zarqawi, the leader of the terrorists in Iraq from whom the Wahabis take lead in fighting Shias all over the world, declared a war against the Shia in Iraq. It is a known fact that recently Kano state recruited 9,000-strong Hisbah outfit ostensibly to enforce the implementation of Sharia in the state by checking vices and corrupt practices. Although the Hisbah take a collectively monthly payment of 54 million naira ($385,714), their role has been restricted to

complimenting traffic police in traffic control. However that may soon change as the state government through its organ, the Sharia commission intend to direct the energies of these 9,000 young trained vigilante in attacking and killing the Shia in Kano, which is the real mission they are created to accomplish. Once the attacks start in Kano, they will be extended to other ‘sharia implementing states’ with similar Hisbah outfits. Al-Qaeda in Nigeria is born!


The Wahabi government in Kano is using public money, which the Shias in Kano have a stake to pay 9,000 trained men to attack and kill them. Therefore Shekarau and his administration should take responsibility for any attacks and harm against the Shias in Kano. There is no way they can absolve themselves from whatever befalls the Shias in Kano.