Nigeria's Sharia Courts

Chapter 2 of Sharia Implementation in Northern Nigeria Twenty Years On: Six Research Reports and an Overview, M. Tabiu, A.R. Mustapha and P. Ostien, eds., Forthcoming

63 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2019

See all articles by Philip Ostien

Philip Ostien

Independent

Ahmed Garba

Bauchi State University

Musa Abubakar

Bayero University

Date Written: December 31, 2017

Abstract

As it affected the courts of Nigeria’s sharia states, the sharia implementation programmes enacted in 1999-2001 had three main aspects: to replace the old Area Courts with Sharia Courts; to bring back Islamic criminal law, abrogated since 1960, for application in the Sharia Courts to Muslims; and to direct all appeals from Sharia Courts, in both civil and criminal matters, to the Sharia Courts of Appeal. In §2 of this report we review the main features of the enactments of the sharia states by which these changes were legislated, discussing changes in the laws regarding administration and supervision of the courts, appointment and qualifications of the judges, jurisdiction and applicable law, and appeals. In §3 we present our findings, based on fieldwork and other research, as to how the legislated changes have developed over almost two decades. Data are presented and many details discussed regarding Sharia Court administration, the judges, civil caseloads and matters being litigated, the application of Islamic criminal law, and the failure of the attempt to direct all appeals from Sharia Courts to Sharia Courts of Appeal. Section 4 gives our overall conclusions and recommendations: in sum, that the Sharia Court systems put in place in 1999-2001 are reasonably sound and are working to the general satisfaction of the people they serve, but that there are a number of legal anomalies that should be resolved and other problems that should be addressed, which we identify and discuss.

Keywords: Nigeria, Sharia, Sharia Implementation, Sharia Court, Sharia Court of Appeal, Islamic Criminal Law, Islamic Civil Law, Qadi, Alkali

JEL Classification: K40, K36, K14

Suggested Citation

Ostien, Philip and Garba, Ahmed and Abubakar, Musa, Nigeria's Sharia Courts (December 31, 2017). Chapter 2 of Sharia Implementation in Northern Nigeria Twenty Years On: Six Research Reports and an Overview, M. Tabiu, A.R. Mustapha and P. Ostien, eds., Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3370453

Philip Ostien (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

Madison, WI 53704
United States
608-960-1958 (Phone)

Ahmed Garba

Bauchi State University ( email )

Misau, Bauchi State
Nigeria

Musa Abubakar

Bayero University ( email )

Islamic Law Department
Faculty of Law
Kano, +234
Nigeria
08065379502 (Phone)

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