May 20, 2024

#FreeElijahOde: Benue Senator demands release of barber arrested in Kano over Anti-Islam haircuts

The Senator representing Benue South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Abba Moro, has demanded the immediate release of Elijah Ode, a young barber arrested for allegedly insulting Islam through the haircuts he gave two customers in Kano State.

Ode, who hails from Adum East, in the Obi Local Government Area of Benue State, was arrested for giving his customers haircuts deemed to be offensive to Islam. 

He is currently being tried in Gyadi-Gyadi Magistrates’ Court sitting in Kano.

In a statement issued by his media office in Abuja on Sunday, Moro said that the arrest of Ode was an infringement on his rights.  

The senator also promised to pursue the course of justice for the young man.

The statement read: “The arrest and continued incarceration of Elijah Ode, a young barber from Obi LGA, based in Kano State, by a group of Muslims over a harmless hairstyle he designed on two of his customers is highly condemnable, unacceptable, unconstitutional and an infringement on the rights of the young man to live and ply his legitimate trade in any part of the country without molestation and harassment.

“None of my constituents will suffer unjustly anywhere, as long as I remain their Senator. I must follow up on this case, with all the seriousness it deserves, until justice is gotten for the boy, because I believe he has done nothing wrong in being creative and innovative.”

SaharaReporters earlier reported how the Kano State Hisbah Corps arrested Ode in the Sabon Gari area of the state.

Hisbah arrested the young man after two of his customers were caught with hairstyles deemed blasphemous to the Islamic religion.

In a Twitter post on January 26, Ode had borne lurid details of his first arrest accompanied by pictures of the said haircuts.

He tweeted, “My name is Elijah, I’m a barber based in Kano. I was arrested by Metro Area police command authority, Bank Road, Kano on 15th January, 2021.

“Reasons for the arrest goes thus: According to the police officers that showed up in my shop that day, in response to the allegation made against me by some members of the Islamic group in Kano, they said that they received a report that I gave two of my clients a haircut style (sic) with a design of an image which was said to have some similarities with something in Islamic religious group. 

“However, they eventually arrested me, took some of my barbing tools. They also arrested the two of my clients who had the hairstyle on their heads. We were being detained till in the evening on Friday 15th till Saturday night, 16th.”

“We were being charged approximately N27,000 plus for the alleged offence. My shop was shut down for 4 days and it took 4 days as well for me to be able to get my tools back. Attached is the haircut design which they allegedly claimed is an Islamic inscription.”

After the post, Ode was arrested a second time and has since been detained.