Don calls for Sharia Courts in South West

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By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal

Ilorin – Prof. Abdulmumini Oba a lecturer at the University of Ilorin has called for the establishment of Sharia Courts of Appeal in the South West to cater for the faithful.

Oba, who at the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law of the university made the call in paper presented at the 189th Inaugural Lecture of the university titled: “Live and let live; rethinking the responses to religious, ethnic and legal pluralism”.

He explained that the Sharia Courts should be set up in states in South West with size able population.

Oba said that Sharia Courts of Appeal and High Courts should have jurisdiction in all Islamic Law matters in states where Sharia Court of Appeal existed.

He observed that there was a lacuna in administration of Islamic laws in Nigeria, adding that the colonial authorities did not make efforts to integrate both Customary and Islamic laws into Nigerian system.

“There are no provisions for administration of Islamic estates in our statutes.

“This has forced many unwilling Muslims to approach High Courts for letters of administration even in states that have Sharia Courts of Appeal.

“Similarly, the absence of registry for Islamic marriages has forced some couples to contract statutory marriages.

“This is so that they can get marriage certificates required by some embassies that would not accept affidavits of marriages that are the only evidence available for persons who marry under Islamic law,” he said.

Oba stated that Christians and people of other faith had nothing to fear about Islamic laws.

The don said that the jurisdiction of Islamic courts did not extend to unwilling Christians.

He also disclosed that Christian lawyers appeared in Islamic law before Islamic Courts and English courts, adding that Christian Judges and Justices also adjudicate Islamic Law cases.

The law expert explained that Islamic laws recognised the judicial and cultural autonomy of non-Muslims in matters of own personal issues.

Oba called for unity, tolerance, understanding among Nigerians and warned against politicising matters affecting national cohesion.