The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Muhammad, has called for more empowerment for Sharia Laws in the Nigerian constitution to enable a more effective implementation.
Mohammed had advocated for the amendment of the constitution for the “accommodation of peculiarities” of Sharia law.
Speaking at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna state, during the 20th annual judges conference, he said the inclusion of more sharia law components will cater for concerns of Muslims in the country.
The chief justice, represented by Muhammad Danjuma, grand khadi of Niger state, spoke on the theme “Documentation of Contracts in Islamic Law: Procedure, Sample Precedents and Practice”.
The event was organised by the Centre for Islamic Legal Studies (CILS) of the university, in collaboration with National Judicial Institute (NJI), Abuja.
Muhammad said more sections of the constitution that allow implementation of sharia law will enable lawyers in sharia law specialisation to do better.
“As we all know, there are sections of the constitution that allow the implementation of Shari’a personal law and apart from that, we cannot do more,” he said.
“However, we have the number to amend the constitution to suit our own position as Muslims.”
On teaching Sharia law in the public schools he said, “The Shari’a law should be taught in Arabic not English. There is no university in Nigeria that runs Shari’a in Arabic; they all teach Shari’a in English. So, academicians let’s also look into this issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, move by the Nigerian Senate to review the constitution has generated controversy as Nigerians groups in the country wonder what the house hopes to achieve with this latest effort.
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF), in particular, described the move as a wasted effort meant to benefit only a few, against the majority of the population.
It said, “We advise the Senate to jettison the wasteful idea of giving Nigerians the impression that it is involved in a serious review of our constitution.
“The legislature and executive branches of government have large quantities of reviews, recommendations and reports from past attempts at amending the constitutions.
“These represent enough resources for a review if the legislature is serious about this vital national priority.
“Even this is not likely to produce a genuine effort to address the basic requirements of securing a stable, secure and prosperous Nigeria, because both arms of this administration are unlikely to accept to put through wide-ranging reviews of the constitution.”
It added, “The North wants a major review of the constitution, but it is also ready to resist attempts to create wealth for a few while it leaves parts of the country to quarrel and blame each other for the state of the nation.”
A lifetime Punishment
On its own part, the National Alliance for Development, NADEV, has frowned at what it termed “deceitful efforts” by the 9th National Assembly to kick start another round of review of the 1999 Constitution, which according to the group, is meant to smuggle in tenure extension for the president.
NADEV said the review committee led by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege was a “lazy voyage that lacks fundamental connection” with the true wishes and aspirations of over 200 million Nigerians.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Barr. Dotun Hassan, the group called for a National Restructuring Affairs Commission, and National Plebiscite and Referendum Commission.
It noted that these commissions would carry Nigerians along in the drafting an amended constitution.
According to Hassan: “All that can guarantee the safety of our democracy is for the National Assembly to consider restructuring of the nation along the lines of true federalism, with provisions for the establishment of the National Restructuring Affairs Commission, National Plebiscite and Referendum Commission, in order to ensure Nigerians are duly carried along and allowed to ventilate and positively contribute towards the overall process that will lead to the drafting and emergence of a new People’s Constitution and not an amendment review of a failed and badly crafted Decree 24 infested 1999 constitution(As Amended).
“More so, the immediate Deputy Senate President of Senator Ekweremadu led Review Committee of the same 1999 constitution gulped billions of naira, with no commensurate achievements to show for it.
“Nigerians have lost total confidence in the 9th Assembly- led Senate that gave Nigerians wishy-washy CAMA law, about to smuggle Water Resources Bill and infest Nigerians with dreadful bills not in tandem with their expectations of succinct delivery of dividends of democracy viz provision of adequate palleative welfare stimulus to Nigerians during this unbearable Covid 19 pandemic, unflinching security of lives and properties, aggressive economic revival and prudent management of the nation’s abundant of human and natural resources.
“The review coming at this period is perceived as another premeditated smoke screen agenda to clandestinely implement the Senator Ahmed Lawan Senate President’s earlier beliefs of smuggling extension of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led government beyond his constitutionally allowed tenure.
“Having said earlier that his leadership is fully prepared to allow Mr President serve a lifetime tenure system.
“We have gone through this precarious process during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s third term agenda locust era.
“So we totally reject all attempt by the National Assembly to using the instrumentality of the statutory legislative powers to force Nigerians in to lifetime punishments.”