One of the world’s most populous and most culturally-divided countries has just reached another point worth debating on. Islamic courts in Nigeria’s northern region has ruled in favor of banning the showing of a satirical play that features characters that run a corrupt Muslim state. Playwright Shehu Sani’s play Phantom Crescent depicts unscrupulous and morally-inept officials who use the very tenets of the Sharia Law – the rules that Muslims are required to follow – into getting more funds for personal gain.
Since Nigeria came back to civil rule in 1999, the Sharia courts have dominated the mostly-Islamic population of Northern Nigeria. The writer has since contacted his lawyers to ensure that his play will be shown to the greatest audience possible. Sani believes that the ruling is a grave infringement on his fundamental right to express himself.
The playwright said that the play depicted how certain leaders of the Islamic Sharia legal system end up using the laws to their advantage in order to empty the coffers of the government and harass the opposition.
Nigeria is probably the country with the highest concentrations of Muslim and Christian population living within close proximity of each other. Christians dominate the southern half of the country while the followers of the Islamic religion dominate the north. This act of censorship comes a few months after the state of Kano has ordered the suspension of all filming after a video clip of a popular actress leaked.