By Alexander Smith, NBC News contributor

Police enforcing strict Islamic law in Nigeria publicly destroyed more than 240,000 bottles of beer in an attempt to crack down on alcohol consumption and other “immoral” behavior in the area, an official said Thursday.

The Hisbah patrol shouted “Allahu Ahkbar” — God is great — during a lively ceremony attended by government officials in the city of Kano on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the group told NBC News by telephone.

“We destroyed the bottles because we have the belief in our religion that it is not good,” he said.

The patrol, which is tasked with enforcing strict Islamic law known as Shariah, also destroyed more than 300,000 cigarettes and more than 8,000 liters of a local beer-like brew called “Burukutu,” which is brewed entirely from sorghum.

Nigeria is divided predominantly between its Muslim northern half and Christian southern half. Kano, in the Muslim north, is in an area which reintroduced strict Islamic law in 2001, including a ban on alcohol consumption.