25/06/2014 07:31 BST | Updated 25/06/2014 08:59 BST

Atheist Mubarak Bala Deemed Mentally Ill, Medicated & Detained On Nigerian Psychiatric Ward

A Nigerian man says he has been detained on a psychiatric ward and forcibly medicated on the grounds of his atheism.

Mubarak Bala has been held against his will at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Kano, since 13 June, he told the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

The 29-year-old was raised a Muslim but recently told his family he had renounced his religion and become an atheist. Kano is a Muslim state and adopted Sharia law in 2000.

Mubarak Bala says he has been held on a psychiatric ward against his will since 13 June

Bala’s family consulted a doctor to see if he was mentally ill and then sought a second opinion when the medic gave him a clean bill of health.

The second doctor declared him to be suffering from a personality change and he was admitted to a psychiatric ward on his father’s insistence.


Communicating via a smuggled smartphone, Bala revealed: “The biggest evidence of my mental illness was large blasphemies and denial of ‘history’ of Adam, and apostacy [sic] to which the doctor said was a personality change, that everyone needs a God, that even in Japan they have a God.

“And my brother added that all the atheists I see have mental illness at some point in their life.”

The IHEU claims a Lagos-based group has asked a lawyer to take up his case.

An online petition has been launched demanding Bala’s release. At time of press, more than 2,000 supporters had signed it.