Is the Islamic Sharia law working in Nigeria? What is its impact and is it mentioned in the constitution of the country? Learn more from this article.
Users keep wondering if the Sharia law is valid in Nigeria and what its history looked like from the outside. However, before we start explaining how it functions, let’s make sure we all understand what Sharia law really is.
What is Sharia Law?
The Sharia law is basically the system of principles based on the teaching of the Koran. The name Sharia states for the title of this scheme, and this collection of laws includes rules that regulate the lives of Muslims and shapes the relations between people and God as well as between people in general, including those of Muslims and the adherers of other religions. On top of that, Sharia also defines what relations will things created by God and people are to have to maintain the healthy balance.
Also, other sources provide such a definition to this law: “Sharia law (also known as Islamic law) is the law that is used only in the Muslim north of the country. Sharia, meaning "way" or "path" in religious law of Islam, has been in Nigeria for a long time. Civil sharia law has been enshrined in the various Nigerian constitutions since independence.
The most recent constitution came into effect in 1999. With the return of the country to democratic rule in 1999, some of the predominantly Muslim northern states have instituted full sharia law (criminal and civil).
Full Sharia law was first passed into law in Zamfara in late 1999, and the law came into effect in January 2000. “
“The Sharia contains the rules by which a Muslim society is created and ordered, and it provides the means to resolve conflicts among individuals and between the person and the state.”
Is Sharia law valid in Nigeria?
To answer this question, we will have to seek answers from the official sources and documents. Let’s check the history of the Sharia law and its validity in the state at the moment. “There are statutory definitions in northern Nigeria that state that customary law includes Islamic law. Section 2 of the High Court Law has provided that the term “Native Law and Custom” include Islamic law.”
In fact, our sources state that sharia is valid in the following states: Zamfara State, Borno State, Sokoto State, Niger State, Katsina State, Kano State, Bauchi State, Jigawa State, Kebbi State, and the Yobe States.
Here is another proof of our point here: “There are four separate legal systems in Nigeria, which include English law, Common law, Customary law, and Sharia (Islamic) Law. English law in Nigeria is derived from the colonial Nigeria, while common law is a development of its post-colonial independence.
Customary law is derived from indigenous traditional norms and practices, including the dispute resolution meetings of pre-colonial Yorubaland secret societies and the Èkpè and Okónkò of Igboland and Ibibioland.
Sharia Law (also known as Islamic Law) is used only in Northern Nigeria, where Islam is the predominant religion. The country has a judicial branch, the highest court of which is the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”
What is the impact of the Sharia Law on the juridical system in Nigeria?
According to the “The Sharia Court of Appeal in Northern Nigeria: The Continuing Crises of Jurisdiction” by Abdulmumini Adebayo Oba Sharia laws are used in the court's system. tribunalsHere is what the author claims: “Courts in Nigeria are divided into superior courts and the tribunals with jurisdiction subordinate to the High Courts. Higher courts include the High Courts, the Sharia Courts of Appeal, the Customary Courts of Appeal, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court.
The Customary Courts of Appeal are concerned with customary law, but the High Courts, which are English-style courts, share jurisdiction over Islamic law matters with Sharia Courts of Appeal, which are Islamic courts. This has resulted in jurisdictional incongruities between the High Courts and the Sharia Courts of Appeal.
It also has disadvantaged parties looking to apply Islamic law, because English law applies prima facie to the High Court, although parties can request Islamic law be applied to their case. In all cases, however, the courts use procedural rules and legislation based on English law.”
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During the colonial era, courts did not always apply Islamic sharia as personal law among Muslims in the north where Islamic and customary statutes coexist. According to A.E.W. Park, the question in these cases was “not solely whether they are Muslims, but whether they regard and conduct themselves as subject to Islamic law.
However, if you want to put it straight, on should know that the Constitution is the prior law of the country. The other statutes are complementary and in most cases do not have such a role when making decisions and is basically not an authority whatsoever.
However, some states claim that the Sharia law there can be considered as enough of the foundation for deciding and solving problems of the local scale.
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