Nigeria: Islamic Province Segregates Public Transportation by Sex

The state of Kano, in northern Nigeria, has banned women from most motorcycle taxis and has instituted segregated seating on public buses. The ban is seen as a step in instituting sharia (Islamic) law in the province, as conservatives objected to close proximity to men necessary when women rode motorcycles or buses. IRIN News reports that a religious police force of 9,000 will enforce the ban, with drivers who violate it facing fines and possible suspension of their licenses. Kano is the first state to institute such a ban in the name of Islam, and Christians in the region are uneasy about how strictly the law will be applied to their behavior.

Many women are upset about the difficulty they will now face in going about their business in the city. “We don’t want this. Goodness, I’ll be frustrated” said Miriam Muhammed, 24, in the Washington Post. Another young woman expressed her resistance to Online Nigeria Daily News, saying “I love to go about on motorcycles but now the government is saying they will stop women…let me see who will prevent me from doing that.”

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IRIN News 7/23/05; Online Nigeria Daily News 8/9/05; Washington Post 8/23/05

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