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No Evidence Boko Haram Imposed Sharia Law in Niger State

Emmanuel Braun/Reuters 4 mins read

Claim: Boko Haram imposes Sharia in Niger state.

The claim that Terror group, Boko Haram, has imposed Sharia in Niger State is misleading as there is no evidence to back this yet.

Full Text

In Nigeria, Sharia has been instituted as a main body of civil and criminal law in twelve Muslim-majority states since 1999, when then-Zamfara State governor, Ahmad Sani Yerima, began the push for the institution of Sharia at the state level of government. 

A “declaration of full Sharia law” was made in the twelve states in that year, and the states created Islamic legal institutions such as a Sharia Commission, and Zakat Commission, and a Hisbah, (a group expected to promote Islamic virtue, whilst discouraging vice).

A Twitter user with over 269,000 followers, Adetutu Balogun, with the handle @Tutsy22 in a tweet on Thursday October 7, 2021, claimed that Boko haram had imposed Sharia law in some communities in Shiroro local government area of  Niger state, North Central Nigeria and have informed Muslims and Christians that twelve year old girls are to be married off. 

The communities according to the tweet are; Kawure, Kuregbe, Awulo and Chukuba.

The tweet garnered over 500 likes and 422 retweets with numerous comments blaming Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian government, within an hour it was posted.

Screenshot of the tweet

A twitter user, Darlykingo with the handle @Darlykingo3 says “Buhari says it is their right to do so”…….

Another user, Mr Wick with the handle @Valarmuurghulis says “Niger State is less than 100km from Aso villa they are getting there”…. other twitter were wondering if the military is not aware of their hideout to flush them out.

Screenshot of reactions to the tweet

Verification

DUBAWA begins its verification by carrying out a simple Google search to find out states in Nigeria where Sharia law is practised. The search returned a post on Pulse.ng, which mentioned four things to know about sharia in Nigeria; it also listed the states where sharia is practiced in the country as follows; Zamfara, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kebbi, Yobe, Kaduna, Niger and Gombe states.

Screenshot of the post

Further search revealed that Sharia Law was introduced in Niger State in May, 2000 during the administration of late Governor Abdullahi Kure.

Narrowing the search to recent events in the state about the activities of the Boko Haram news story published by Vanguard newspapers that the state Governor Abubakar Bello in April 2021, lamented that Boko Haram had already infiltrated the state and had not only hoisted their flags in captured villages, including Kaure village in the Shiroro Local Government of the state, they had also forcefully allocated displaced women to themselves as wives.

Speaking when he visited the Internally Displaced People, IDPs Camp at the IBB primary school near the Emir of Minna’s palace, Governor Bello said because of the influx of the displaced people from the villages, the IBB Primary School was hurriedly turned into IDP camp by government to cater for the affected people.

According to the governor “Sambisa is several kilometers from Abuja, but Kaure is just two kilometers from Abuja, insisting that nobody is safe anymore, not even residents of Abuja.

“Flag hoisted by the terrorist group is now visible in Kaure village in the Shiroro LGA”, he said.

Screenshot of the report

Further search also revealed a claim by the chairman of Shiroro local government area of the state, Suleiman Chukuba, while speaking to newsmen on October 1, 2021, sais that 500 communities in eight wards of the Local Government Area are under the control of Boko Haram.

The claim was widely reported by Channels TV, The Nation, The CableYouTube among others.

Screenshot of the report

He listed the affected areas as Manta, Gurmana, Bassa-Kokki, Allawa, Kurebe, Kushaka, Kwati, Chukuba and Galadima Kogo.

According to him, the insurgents have attempted to incorporate and recruit residents of the communities to become Boko Haram members.

Mr Chukuba, who lamented the situation, also said the terrorists are trying to equip the people to fight against the government.

“They incorporate the people of those communities by telling them they have arms and money to give them so they can assist them in fighting the government,” he added.

Although the terrorists have found their way to some communities, neither the residents nor the group claimed Boko Haram had imposed Sharia Law or that 12-year-olds should be married off.

Conclusion

Given the evidence available, the claim that Boko Haram had imposed Sharia law in some communities in Shiroro local government area of Niger state and have informed Muslims and Christians that 12-year-old girls are to be married off is misleading. 

The researcher produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship partnership with Sobi 101.9 FM to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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