Islamic Law in Nigeria
October 13, 1999
In a startling development, the northern Nigerian state of Zamfara has adopted the Islamic
Sharia legal system effective October 27, the Pan African News Service reported. The state
assembly approved a bill to that effect and Governor Ahmed Sani signed it into law.
Because the Nigerian constitution is a secular one, many believe Zamfaras move is
unconstitutional, and there are certainly expected to be legal issues when the Islamic law
is applied to non-Muslims.
Islamic law provides for the death penalty for homosexuality, including the option of
execution by the unusual method of pushing a wall over onto the condemned (as has now been
done in about a dozen reported cases in Afghanistan). A majority of Zamfarans are Muslims,
and they apparently expect the harsh punishments of Sharia to cut down crime. However, the
southern parts of Nigeria are dominated by Christians and traditionalists.
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