Sadiq Zazzabi, an artist based in northern Nigeria, was recently arrested on grounds of “immorality by featuring seductive dance(s) by women” in a video for the song ‘Maza bayan ka’ (All Men Behind You).
The artist claims his arrest was a political move and the charge of immorality only a cover by the government of Kano State as led by Umar Ganduje, whom he is said to have criticised while praising Rabiu Kwankwaso, a former governor of the state. “My arrest is political,” Zazzabi said. “I was arrested for my political support for Kwankwaso.”
The political slant of the episode has seen residents of the state take sides, with the artist’s supporters coming to court in the white kaftan and red hat outfit favoured by Kwankwaso loyalists. According to reports from the state, Zazzabi’s music blared from car stereos parked outside the court and at one point the artist’s supporters made it impossible for the presiding judge to deliver an address.
Nontheless, the head of the state’s censors board, Ismaila Afakallahu, called the political angle of Zazzabi's arrest “cheap blackmail." The censors board, since its establishment in 2002, is tasked with ensuring that films, music and literature are in agreement with Islamic law. “He actually brought the song for censorship and before we could grant him a certificate of approval, he went ahead to launch the song,” Afakallahu said.
Zazzabi’s arrest and release comes after an uproar followed the ban of Kano-raised actress Rahama Sadau, who played a love interest of rapper Classiq in a music video released last year. Sadau has since aplogised. Zazzabi has been released on bail.