Beer Distributor Who Misplaced Over N35m To Hisbah After His Items Have been Destroyed In Kano Tells His Story
John Simon, a distributor, on this The PUNCH interview tells TED ODOGWU how his items have been destroyed.
He explains how the destruction of alcoholic drinks by Hisbah (Sharia Police) in Kano State, after it secured a courtroom order to destroy massive consignments of beer within the state, has affected distributors underneath the aegis of Amalgamated Drinks Affiliation
How has the destruction of alcoholic drinks by Hisbah affected your corporation?
We have all been affected, individually and collectively, immediately or not directly for many who purchase from the businesses and those that purchase from distributors. We’ve got bulk patrons, bulk breakers and the hoteliers. We have been tamed like an animal in a zoo. To begin with, the costs of beer have risen and, for now, acquiring the product to promote is an uphill process. So, we’ve got been affected. It’s a scenario that has lowered us to beggars.
How was your consignment impounded?
When we ventured into the enterprise, some few years in the past, we have been warned towards transporting alcoholic drinks in open autos however in coated autos, which we complied with. We convey within the consignment with coated containers. Regardless of the directive, Hisbah (Sharia police) stored interfering, notably with Kano-bound vehicles. We sought permission by way of our lawyer to be allowed to all the time transport our consignment by way of the federal freeway, which we often do. Regardless of utilizing coated autos, we’re not allowed thoroughfare in Kano. So, we have to are available in as smugglers and whenever you encounter a breakdown on transit, you might be arrested.
In the meantime, the Kano State Authorities makes use of its Street Transport Company officers to arrest beer sellers and these officers are on obligation for 24 hours, monitoring vehicles conveying any consignment to Kano. They’re solely enthusiastic about intercepting any truck conveying beer to Kano. Kano just isn’t the one city in Northern Nigeria, as we’ve got Katsina, and there’s a spot, the place beer is bought there with out molestation. There’s a brewery in Kaduna State nevertheless it’s solely in Kano that we encounter a myriad of challenges which can be past my comprehension.
How usually are your items intercepted?
It isn’t just each month and each week. These are those you hear about. One might be anticipating his beer consignment, however all of a sudden obtain a name that the truck transporting his beer consignment has been intercepted. The opposite day, one truck heading to Hadeja and one other to Nasarawa have been intercepted they usually amounted to an enormous loss for me. That incident crippled my operations and introduced me down on my knees, notably my indebtedness to the banks which were financing my enterprise.
Have the banks contacted you to get well their loans?
The banks are at the moment protecting quiet as a result of they’re conscious of what occurred. A few of my buddies have made me their enemy as a result of I can not repay them the loans they gave me, although some clients, who purchased beer from me, nonetheless owe me. That’s precisely what I’ve been going by way of. Paying faculty charges for my youngsters is not possible. I owe banks. The impact is best imagined than described. If you happen to cope with banks, you cope with loans as banks can sponsor your corporation by supplying you with loans. Additionally, you meet buddies who can assist however the snag is that I nonetheless owe them. A pal gave me a mortgage of N5m and I’ve been capable of repay N4m, remaining N1m. Additionally, I owe one other pal, who gave me N810, 000 as a mortgage, which I’ve not been capable of repay, together with different additional loans from different sources and my private cash earlier than venturing into the enterprise. It’s only by God’s grace that we’re nonetheless surviving.
What do you intend to do?
We are simply in search of divine intervention because the scenario just isn’t straightforward. I have been in Kano for over 35 years and the query is: the place am I going to at my age?
So, what do you intend to do?
We are hoping that, at some point, a messiah in human kind will come and provides it a human face to know that the nation belongs to all of us, in addition to enable us the liberty to transact our enterprise unhindered. Previous to the loss of life of the previous Emir, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, we have been made to have the impression that Sabon Gari is for the non-indigenes. That’s the place we keep. When a toddler is born, we use alcohol to welcome the infant simply as after we file loss of life. However we’re not free to have a good time any new born child utilizing alcohol. The place do I begin from? The breweries, for instance, pay tax to the federal government.
During which areas are the raids frequent?
It’s frequent in Sabon Gari. That’s the place they usually raid. There’s nothing we haven’t carried out; we’ve got contacted distinguished human rights legal professionals, like Festus Keyamo who tried the whole lot inside the framework of the regulation however failed to attain any end result. We’re solely ready for divine intervention.
Some folks ask why are you continue to distributing alcohol when you already know about Hisbah?
What we have been advised is that Hisbah wouldn’t enable their folks to come back to Sabon Gari and drink beer, and that Sharia is just for Muslims, not for non-Muslims. We don’t promote to them (Muslims). Nevertheless, within the evening, for a few of us, who promote beer, folks come and request beer and we can not determine them as Muslims or Christians. Folks don’t transfer round with their ID playing cards, indicating whether or not they’re Christians or Muslims. We consider that those that don’t drink beer can not purchase beer. They’re not hawked available in the market however solely in bars or eating places, the place they promote them. When folks come and request beer, you give it to them. We do not ask the purchasers whether or not they’re Christians or Muslims as we all know that Muslims won’t come and drink beer.
What sort of enterprise do you do now to outlive?
I at the moment promote water and non-alcoholic drinks, together with malt drinks as I don’t have the cash to proceed promoting beer. The place will I supply the cash to proceed promoting beer?
What’s the worth of your items that have been destroyed?
I’ve misplaced over N35m and different varied sums of cash, all of which have gone down the drain.
Are you able to quantify by way of naira how a lot members of the affiliation have suffered, since Hisbah began its actions?
We have gone to Festus Keyamo and for the primary time, we all know how a lot we paid for his presence in Kano and Kaduna. At a stage, he began sending his representatives. Thereafter, we contacted a human rights activist from Kaduna. He did his finest however did not make any distinction.
Supply: The PUNCH