Group drags LG to court over proposed bye laws for establishment of “Hisbah”, prohibition of trado – medicine


The Olive Tree Citizen’s Rights Initiative has filed a suit against three proposed bye-laws by Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
In the suit No: KDH/ZAR/2023, filed at the state High Court in Zaria, the group maintained that the proposed bye-laws for the establishment of Hisbah, Scrap Trading (Regulation/Prohibition) and Trado–medical Regulation Prohibition, are in violation of their fundamental rights if allowed to become laws.
The suit, which was filed by counsel to the group, Mr. Sunny Akanni, Principal Partner, SA Akanni and co in Kaduna, prayed the court for “a declaration that the proposed ‘bye-laws are gross violation of the fundamental rights of majority of the citizens of Sabon-Gari Local Government Area.”Akanni asked the court for: “A declaration that the three proposed bye-laws are bad pieces of legislation intended to emasculate the fundamental rights of the applicant and the generality of the residents of Sabon-Gari LGA with respect to their private and public life as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and the African Charter.”
The plaintiff also demanded N5 million as general damages.
A copy of the proposed laws explained that the bye-law for the establishment of Hisbah is “to complement security agencies in controlling immoral acts…”
The document read: “All private and public places, including Local Government Council Secretariat, guests houses, hotels, viewing centres, markets, eateries/restaurants, shops, schools (both public and private), offices and business premises are prohibited expressly or implied from all forms of immoral acts contemplated under this bye-law or any other law for the time being in force.
“There shall establish a body to be known as Supreme Council for Hisbah affairs which shall be responsible for the enforcement of the law.”
According to the proposed bye-law, the purpose is “to provide guideline and legal basis for the enforcement of the regulatory powers in the bye-law so as to stop all manner of immoral acts in Sabon Gari LGA.
“To prevent and control the incidences of violating the provisions of our holy books…”
It prescribed a N50,000 fine or imprisonment for offenders.
It said: “Any person who does or purport to do any form of immoral act in public or private places, anywhere by any person within the territorial justification of Sabon Gari LGA shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of N50,000 or imprisonment or for a person specified under extant laws in line with the provision of the constitution.
“Hisbah and any other relevant enforcement authorities as well as authorised council enforcement or police officers shall be responsible for this bye-law within the jurisdiction of Sabon LGA…”
In an affidavit in support of the suit, Ibrahim Idris, a resident of Sabon Gari LGA and unit secretary of the Registered Trustees of the Olive Tree Citizen Rights Initiative, stated that a comprehensive reading of the proposed bye-laws reveals a likely threat and infringement of the constitutional rights of members of the group who engage in the business of scrap objects and traditional medicine.
He said: “Hisbah is an Islamic police which orientation and background/knowledge is biased or partial, and as such cannot administer to all and sundry without biased/prejudices…
“That I know as a fact from paragraph 1(ii) of the proposed bye-law for the Establishment of Hisbah…Hisbah is empowered to enter all private and public places for the purposes of enforcing expressly or impliedly immoral acts.
“That I know that by combined reading of Sections 4 and 5 of aforementioned proposed bye-law is subjective and divisive particularly with regards to use of the words of ‘holy book’/faith.
“That Nigeria is a secular state with different people of different faith, cultures and background, and that the holy books referred to are not specified.
“That I know as a fact that the Christian religion does not have a Hisbah division and the word is unknown in Christian parlance.
“That the qualification of a Hisbah member is discriminatory and against letter of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“That the proposed Scrap Trading (Regulation/Prohibition) Bye-Law 202 is prejudicial to the economic empowerment/rights of the applicant’s members and or residents of Sabon-Gari LGA
“That the proposed Scrap Trading (Regulation/Prohibition) Bye-law 2022, and Trado–medical Bye–law 2022 are unconstitutional and ultra vires the powers of the local government.”


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