Photojournalism / Editorial Photography | Nominee

Nigel Dickinson


Living under Islamic Sharia in Kano Nigeria


The implementation of Islamic Sharia law across the twelve northern states of Nigeria centres upon Kano, the largest Muslim Husa city, under the feudal, political and economic rule of the Emir of Kano.

Islamic Sharia law is enforced by official state apparatus including military and police, Islamic schools and education, plus various volunteer militia groups supported financially and politically by the Emir and other business and political bodies.

Fanatical Islamic Sharia religious traditions are enforced by the Hispah Sharia police. Delinquency is controlled by the volunteer militia the Vigilantes. Activities such as animist pagan voodoo ceremonies, playing music, drinking and gambling, which are normally outlawed under Sharia law, exist as many parts of the rural and urban areas are controlled by local mafia, ghetto gangs and rural hunters.

The fight for control is never-ending between the Emir, government forces, the mafia and independent militias and gangs. This is fuelled by rising petrol costs, and that 70% of the population lives below the poverty line. Kano, Kano State, Northern Nigeria, Africa

1.Hispah Sharia Police, a volunteer religious militia force, enforcing Sharia law. The bearded police volunteer is nicknamed Osama Bin Africa.

2.A child raises his head during Friday Muslim prayer at midday.

3. The Vigilantes, a volunteer militia group given the task of controlling delinquency, including drugs and crime.

4. Badawa Ghetto Street Gang on the outskirts of Kano. They are Muslim but drink alcohol, smoke and inject hard drugs.

5. A Husa farmer stands like Jesus Christ for a photograph. At the sheep and cattle market during Ramadan after the Durbar Fantasia in Kano.