Islamic police in Nigeria have arrested a man who wanted to sell himself at auction to escape poverty.
A 26-year-old tailor, Aliyu Idris, was arrested on Tuesday October 26 by the vice police in Kano, after photos were posted on social networks showing him with a poster indicating that he was to be auctioned at a starting price of Ksh5m.
Kano, in northern Nigeria, is one of a dozen Muslim-majority Nigerian states where Sharia law is applied alongside Nigerian law, which is derived from the common law of the former British colony.
“We arrested him for putting himself up for sale, which is illegal under Islamic law,” said Lawal Ibrahim Fagge, a spokesman for the religious police, known as Hisbah. “He is in custody,” he added, explaining the “despicable act” by the young man’s poverty and ignorance.
The young man had walked around the city last week with his poster around his neck. After being photographed by residents, he caused a sensation on social networks.
He told reporters that he was selling himself to escape his “unbearable poverty” and that he wanted to give half the money to his parents and two million Naira to the person who organized the auction.
He also promised to be a “loyal servant” to whoever bought him. No charges have been filed against him, according to the Islamic police spokesman.
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and containment measures that have hurt the global price of crude oil.
Faced with its second recession in five years after the onset of the pandemic, Nigeria’s economy has begun to recover in recent months. But inflation, particularly in food, remains very high, further exacerbating the poverty of many people, most of whom live on less than two dollars (1.70 Euros) a day.