Nigerian Man Held in Mental Institution for Being Atheist

Muburak Bala

A young resident of the northern, primarily Muslim, city of Kano, Nigeria, has been forcibly held and medicated at a mental institution for approximately two weeks, since telling his family that he does not believe in God, Vice News reports.

Muburak Bala’s family, who are Muslim, allegedly contacted two doctors about the revelation. One doctor declared that he was fine, while the second said that his announcement was due to a “personality change,” Vice notes.

The family reportedly told the second doctor that the 29-year-old, who has a chemical engineering degree, had been having delusions and calling himself “governor.”


Bala woke up in the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, a mental institution, after allegedly being beaten by his father and uncles and injected with some sort of sedative. He has been held at the hospital and continually medicated since June 13. However, he was able to contact human rights organizations through a phone he obtained and via emails and texts.

“And 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 had mental illness at some point in their life,” Bala wrote in one such email, Vice notes.


A lawyer is trying to get Bala released.

Read more at Vice News.

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