Eight people have been arrested by Islamic police in Nigeria’s northern state of Kano for allegedly refusing to fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Hisbah police enforce Islamic law in Kano – one of 12 mainly Muslim states in northern Nigeria practising the Sharia legal system alongside the country’s secular laws.
“The culprits were five females and three males, eating in the afternoon in the month of Ramadan,” Aliyu Kibiya, the executive director of the Kano State Hisbah Board is quoted as saying.
During Ramadan, Muslims should abstain from eating and drinking between sunrise and sunset.
Fasting is obligatory for all adult followers of the faith who are able to safely go without food and drink.
Those who are sick or ill and whose health will be affected by fasting, including children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and travellers are exempt.
The BBC’s Khalifa Shehu Dokaji is in Kano says the women told the Hisbah that they were exempt as they were menstruating, but the police were of the view that should not have been eating in public.
If the group is charged in court, they could be fined or sent to a correctional institution, our reporter says.
Mr Kibiya’s statement warned that more raids would be conducted across the state to ensure people adhere to their religious obligation.