Monday 7 November 2016


On the 31st of October, 2016 at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, I was part of the public dissemination of the research on 15 years of Sharia implementation in northern Nigeria. The research was conducted for the Nigeria Stability & Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) by the Development Research & Projects Centre (dRPC), Kano and Nigeria Research Network (NRN).

5 Policy briefs were x-rayed at the meeting:

*The Sharia Courts
*The case of Hisbah
*Zakat & Waqf institutions
*Impact on women
*The role of Ulama

Some of the participants at the meeting are:

*Barr (Mrs) Maryam Uwais, Special Assistant to the President on Social Protection
*Dr. Ukoha Ukiwo, Programme Manager, NSRP
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, Conflict Transformation Expert & Chairperson, Board of Directors, National Peace Summit Group (NPSG)
*Dr. Yahaya Hashim, DRPC
*Prof. Abdul Raufu Mustapha
*Dr. Garba Ahmed
*Dr. Usman Bugaje
*Prof. Mohammed Tabiu

The following are some of the issues around which the discussion was centred:

-It is important to protect non-Muslims in Sharia states.
-Sharia courts should be 'aligned' with Customary courts.
-Islamic personal law vs Sharia law
-Should Islamic criminal law be re-introduced?
-Lawyers should be accommodated in Sharia courts
-Women constitute at least 70% of complainants in Sharia courts
-Sharia courts are viewed as user friendly institutions because they facilitate speedy disposal of cases
-More women should be employed in Sharia courts
-Women should be empowered to bear the cost of litigation
-Judges & staff of Sharia courts need more training in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
-The activities of 'Diladelai'-fake court facilitators, should be curbed
-'Silhu', Mediation services should be strengthened in Sharia courts
-Women should be more involved in the distribution of Zakat
-Sharia courts should be better funded
-In each of the Sharia states, no Hisbah organisation is the same as the other. Each one is unique
-Hisbah is to protect and provide social services for the poor
-Most people want Hisbah retained
-The purpose of Zakat is that for everything that belongs to the rich, a portion belongs to the poor. Zakat is a method of re-distributing wealth. There should be transparency in the distribution of Zakat.

On the whole, the following issues were outstanding. There should be further training in ADR for lawyers and judges in Sharia courts. Women should be more involved in the administration of Sharia courts and the distribution of Zakat. At the meeting, I suggested that every five years, a similar research, followed by a dissemination workshop should be held in order to determine how far the recommendations have been implemented...

Related Links

*Over 1m children out of school in Kano

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