Kano State Government Orders Crackdown on LGBTQ Groups Amid Rising Tensions


Background and Context

In a significant and controversial move, Kano State Governor Abba Yusuf has directed the state's Hisbah Board to crack down on groups suspected of promoting and advocating for LGBTQ rights in the state. This directive comes amid rising tensions and concerns over the activities of groups allegedly promoting same-sex marriage in the predominantly conservative and Sharia-governed state.

Government's Position and Directives

The directive from Governor Yusuf is a response to mounting pressure from citizens and religious leaders who have expressed concerns over the perceived erosion of the state's moral and religious standards. According to Baba Dantiye, the Kano State Commissioner for Information, the governor's decision followed extensive discussions and consultations.

Dantiye stated in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday, "The activities of the group, codenamed 'WISE' or 'Women Initiative for Sustainable Empowerment and Equality,' are a complete breach of the state’s moral standards and a violation of the Shari’ah." He further explained that the government had been receiving numerous complaints from citizens regarding the activities of groups promoting LGBTQ rights, which prompted the governor to take decisive action.

"We also discussed this with the governor, and he directed Hisbah to investigate and crack down on them. We will take legal action as appropriate," Dantiye emphasized. He also mentioned that consultations were ongoing with religious leaders on how to curb such activities in the state.

The Role of Hisbah Board

The Hisbah Board, a religious police force in Kano State, is tasked with enforcing Sharia law and upholding moral and religious values. The board has historically been involved in various activities aimed at maintaining public morality, including monitoring dress codes, preventing the sale and consumption of alcohol, and curbing illicit behaviours.

With the governor's directive, the Hisbah Board is now expected to intensify its efforts in investigating and taking action against groups suspected of promoting LGBTQ rights. This move is likely to involve increased surveillance, raids, and possible arrests of individuals associated with these groups.

The Activities of WISE

The primary target of the crackdown is the group known as WISE (Women Initiative for Sustainable Empowerment and Equality). According to reports, WISE is an NGO that advocates for the rights of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. It is a successor organization to Women Action for Gender Equality, which has been active in promoting gender equality and women's rights.

WISE's activities, which include advocacy for LGBTQ rights, have been deemed by the state government as a direct affront to the cultural and religious norms of Kano State. The group’s focus on promoting rights and equality for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women has placed it at odds with the conservative values upheld by the majority of the state's population.

Public and Religious Response

The response from the public and religious leaders has been largely supportive of the government's actions. Many residents of Kano, a state known for its strict adherence to Sharia law, have expressed their approval of the crackdown. They argue that the activities of groups like WISE threaten the moral fabric of society and undermine religious principles.

Religious leaders have also been vocal in their support. They have called for stringent measures to be taken against any groups or individuals promoting LGBTQ rights. Some have gone further to demand that such groups be completely eradicated from the state to preserve the sanctity of Islamic teachings.

Legal and Human Rights Concerns

While the government's actions have garnered support from certain quarters, they have also raised significant legal and human rights concerns. Human rights advocates argue that the crackdown on LGBTQ groups constitutes a violation of fundamental human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.

International human rights organizations have often criticized Nigeria for its harsh stance on LGBTQ rights. In Nigeria, same-sex relationships are criminalized, and individuals found guilty of engaging in such relationships can face severe penalties, including imprisonment. The current crackdown in Kano is likely to attract further criticism from the international community and human rights groups.

Potential Impact and Future Implications

The governor's directive and the subsequent actions by the Hisbah Board are expected to have far-reaching implications. For one, they could lead to heightened tensions and conflict between the state authorities and human rights groups. The actions may also deter other organizations from engaging in activities related to LGBTQ rights, thereby stifacing advocacy efforts.

Additionally, the crackdown could result in a more repressive environment for LGBTQ individuals in Kano State. Fear of persecution and legal repercussions may force many to go underground, further marginalizing an already vulnerable community.

Calls for Dialogue and Reconciliation

Amidst the crackdown, there have been calls for dialogue and reconciliation. Some stakeholders believe that a more constructive approach would involve engaging with LGBTQ groups to understand their perspectives and address their concerns in a manner that respects the state's cultural and religious values while upholding fundamental human rights.

Governor Yusuf and his administration face the challenge of balancing the enforcement of Sharia law with the need to respect human rights and prevent discrimination. Navigating this delicate balance will require careful consideration and possibly, the development of inclusive policies that protect the rights of all citizens.


The directive by Kano State Governor Abba Yusuf to crack down on groups promoting LGBTQ rights represents a significant escalation in the state's enforcement of Sharia law. While the move has received support from certain segments of the population and religious leaders, it has also raised serious legal and human rights concerns. As the Hisbah Board intensifies its efforts to investigate and take action against these groups, the situation in Kano State remains tense and fraught with the potential for further conflict.

The coming weeks and months will be critical in determining the impact of this crackdown on the state's social and political landscape. Whether through dialogue, legal reforms, or continued enforcement actions, the path forward will require careful navigation to ensure the rights and dignity of all citizens are upheld. #samesexmarriage #TrendingNews 

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