Sharia Implementation in Kano State


Mamman Lawan Yusufari




The return to civil rule in Nigeria in 1999 begot the ‘revival’ of the Sharia legal system in some States of Northern Nigeria. Colonialism bequeathed a ‘one-legged’ Sharia by its phasing out of Islamic criminal justice system. Thus at the return of democracy, the applicable Sharia was limited to personal matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance, custody of children etc. and issues of mu’amalat (i.e. transactions). Section 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution clearly made application of Islamic penal law impossible by prohibiting charge or trial of a person accused of an offence under any unwritten law which Islamic penal law was, not being a law made by the legislature pursuant to the constitutional powers conferred.


Barely two months after inauguration, the Governor of Zamfara State in North-Western Nigeria broke the lid by constituting an 18-member law review committee to, among others, examine and review all existing laws and edicts to make them conform with the traditions, culture, values and norms of the people of the state. The committee submitted its report and recommended, among others, that the Sharia penal law can ‘fully’ be enforced without offending any of the provisions of the constitution. Armed with the recommendation, the Governor set the ball rolling, signed certain bills into law and formally declared the implementation of the Sharia legal system in the state.


What later came to be known as the Zamfara initiative sparked off debates on the constitutionality or otherwise thereof and more importantly galvanized sister predominantly muslim-populated states in the North into action. The effect was felt in some South-Western States where though the Governments did not succumb to pressure, independent private efforts were made to apply personal status Sharia. Kano State among others followed Zamfara. The State government then wanted a gradual implementation of the law but it was overwhelmed by individuals and Islamic organisations who felt that the matter was being unnecessarily delayed. A private Bill titled “A Bill to Establish Sharia Court to Apply Sharia Law in Kano State” was sponsored and had gone through a second reading in the House of Assembly when the then Governor convened a consultative meeting of representatives of the traditional institution, Ulama, legal practitioners, members of the House of Assembly, etc on the 9th of December, 1999 to advise him on how best to improve on the Bill.


A committee, Technical Committee on the Implementation of Shari’a in Kano State, was set up for this purpose and it came up with a recommended Bill (Shari’a (Administration of Justice Reform) Law 1999) which “will lay a sound foundation and irrevocably commit the Government and people of Kano State to the implementation of the Shari’a in a comprehensive way” and provide a better method of reviewing all existing laws to make them conform with the Sharia. Instead of heeding to the recommendation, the Government sent the members of the House of Assembly to a familiarization tour to some countries that had similar experiences of blending Islamic and conventional legal systems like Sudan and Pakistan . In the end, the Governor publicly declared the implementation of Sharia on the 21st of June, 2000 . The fire was thus doused and the Sharia-loving populace breathed a sigh of relief. The government swung into action.




Like in Zamfara State, the implementation of Sharia in Kano from the legal perspective had more to do with making the Sharia penal law a written one (in satisfaction of section 36(12) of the Constitution) and conferring courts with jurisdiction to try the offences therein contained all pursuant to sections 4(7), 6(5) (k), 277 & 278 of the 1999 Constitution. At the risk of saying the Sharia civil aspect was self-sufficient and hence needed not much attention, the focus was on criminal law. Not long after the declaration therefore, the Governor signed into Law the Shari’a Penal Code Bill on the 28th of November, 2000 . The Law was made applicable (and replacing the Penal Code) before the Sharia Courts established under the Shari’a Courts Law, 2000 and to persons who profess “the Islamic faith and/or every other person who voluntarily consents to the jurisdiction of any of the Shari’a Courts” (s. 3 of the Law). The Law inter alia merely formalized the traditional Sharia penal laws hitherto contained principally in the Qur’an and the Sunnah (the two primary sources of Sharia).


Thus Chapter VIII defines and provides punishment for Hudud and Hudud Related Offences like adultery or fornication (Zina), rape, sodomy (Liwat), false accusation of adultery (Qadhaf), theft (Sariqah), drinking alcohol (Shurbul-Khamr), and robbery (Hiraba). For instance, Zina is now punishable with either stoning to death (rajm) for married or previously married convicts or caning of 100 lashes plus one year imprisonment for convicts yet to marry (section 125 of the Law). Qadhaf carries caning of 80 lashes (section 131). Sariqah for the first time offender attracts amputation of the right hand from the wrist joint (section 133). Drinking alcohol or any other intoxicant voluntarily is punished with caning of eighty lashes (section 136). Qisas (retaliatory offences) like homicide and bodily injuries attracting both punishment and compensation and Ta’azir (offences of discretionary punishments) like criminal force and assault, kidnapping, abduction and forced labour, lesbianism etc. have also been accommodated in Chapter IX and Chapter X of the Law respectively. The Upper Sharia Courts are given jurisdiction to try all offences under the Sharia Penal Code Law and the Sharia Courts are to try all the offences except homicide, adultery and robbery. This is contained in the First Schedule, Part 1 of the Sharia Courts Law.


Having brought the substantive criminal law into conformity with the Sharia, it then became necessary to make provision for Islamic Criminal Procedural Law. Chapter XXXIII (covering sections 385-396) of the Criminal Procedure Code, CAP 37 Laws of Kano State 1991, dealing with trials by Sharia Courts was therefore repealed and substituted with a new chapter which is Sharia-compliant. This was achieved through the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Law 2000.


The Shari’a Courts Law 2000 repealed the Area Courts Edict 1967, CAP 9 Laws of Kano State and the Shari’a Administration of Justice Law 2000. In place of the Area Courts and Upper Area Courts, it established the Sharia Courts and Upper Sharia Courts. By the Shari’a Courts (Establishment and Territorial Jurisdiction) Order 2000 made by the Grand Kadi pursuant to section 9 of the Shari’a Courts Law, the territorial jurisdiction of each Sharia Court was specified and that of the Upper Sharia Courts made unlimited. The number of the courts in the State was reduced from 100 to 65. But due to congestion in the courts, the number was increased by 18. The court rooms and the judges’ chambers which had been dilapidated for years were renovated and given a new face. Public confidence in the system was restored and the courts’ personnel morale boosted. The courts faced the new challenge head-long and administered justice according to law. The type of decisions handed down in both criminal and civil cases really epitomised the dawn of a new era.  


The case of Commissioner of Police vs. Danladi Dahiru (Case No. CR/171/2001) handled by the Upper Sharia Court , Dambatta is a case in point. The accused person, a Muslim, aged 22, was charged with the offence of theft contrary to section 133 of the Sharia Penal Code Law 2000. He was alleged to have stolen two sewing machines (Hyco and Butterfly brands) and some textile materials all valued at #23,400.00 from a shop in Dambatta market on the 25th of August, 2001 . Three witnesses (two of whom were the victims) testified for the prosecution and the accused person, defenseless, confessed his crime which confession was duly witnessed by three other witnesses. The court was of the opinion that conditions for conviction had been satisfied and it found him guilty of the offence. Thus the court in its judgement of 29th August, 2001 punished him by ordering that his right hand be amputated in accordance with section 134(1) of the Law.


One notable development brought about by the implementation of Sharia could be seen in the expansion of the jurisdiction of the Sharia Court of Appeal. Hitherto, its jurisdiction, which has been purely appellate, was confined to Islamic personal law matters emanating either from the Upper Area Courts exercising original jurisdiction or appellate when the court of first instance happened to be an Area Court. The lower courts having been empowered to entertain cases bordering on transactions (mu’amalat) and non-capital offences, it meant that their jurisdiction was wider than that of the Sharia Court of Appeal. So appeals on those matters went to the State High Court Appellate Division constituting of two justices of the court who, in most cases, were Muslims though not necessarily trained in Islamic law. By section 6(2) of the Shari’a Courts Law 2000, appeals now from the Upper Sharia Courts in both civil and criminal matters go to the Sharia Court of Appeal leaving the (Appellate) High Court with appeals coming from the Magistrate Courts where English-based Nigerian law applies. It is the Upper Sharia Court (Appellate Division constituting two judges) that entertains appeals from the Sharia Courts (s. 6(1)).


The case of Commissioner of Police vs. Danladi Dahiru (supra) went on appeal to the Sharia Court of Appeal. It was numbered SCA/CR/KN/9/2002. Six grounds of appeal were filed and argued on behalf of the convict by his Solicitors. The Respondent was represented by a State counsel learned in Islamic law. Among the grounds were that the lower court erred in Sharia by relying on the evidence of the three prosecution witnesses and the accused person’s confession when all were not reliable to secure a conviction for the offence of theft; that the lower court did not administer the concluding remarks (Izar) to the accused person before its judgement; the court misdirected itself in adopting “the common law” procedure of preferring charges after hearing witnesses and asking for evidence of previous conviction. In its judgement of 17th November, 2003, the Sharia Court of Appeal found irregularities and non-compliance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Law 2000 in the trial proceedings and ordered, on the strength of section 410 (2) of the Law, for a retrial before the Upper Sharia Court, Rijiyar Lemo, Kano. The retrial is yet to begin and the accused person is now in prison custody.


There is no record of a concluded case of adultery (like the Safiya Hussein or Amina Lawal cases from Sokoto and Katsina) but other ‘novel’ punishments were meted out to offenders in different courts within the state. For instance, the Upper Sharia Court Gyadi-Gyadi recorded about three cases of alcohol drinking (the records are unavailable in the court) and in each case the offender was punished with caning of 80 lashes in the public in accordance with the Sharia.


Outside the courts, the Government established the Islamic Education and Social Affairs Commission by a Law of 2000 to mainly promote, develop, coordinate and generally enhance Islamic religious and cultural values. There is however no evidence of the activities or achievements of this Commission. The main actors in the social field were the Hisbah groups. Hisbah has been a social engineering institution in Sharia and it is in answer to the Qur’anic call that let there be among the believers a community of people who will enjoin good deeds and forbid bad deeds. Youths voluntarily offered their services to make the Sharia a success. Numbering about 11,000 and co-coordinated mostly at grass root level, the groups helped in detecting crimes, making arrests and forwarding suspects to the police for necessary investigations and possible prosecution. The government could not afford to leave this important institution unsupervised. It therefore constituted a committee headed by a renowned Islamic scholar to co-ordinate its activities. The government’s and the institution’s views and approaches to issues were however divergent. Thus it did not enjoy government’s support and the relationship became antagonistic. The institution’s role therefore dwelt more on public lectures aimed to sensitize the Muslim Ummah which lectures too did not go down well with the government.


Sharia implementation in the State during this period could be said to be neither a failure nor a success. The style adopted by the Government resulted into a tug of war between the zealous Muslim organisations/individuals and the seemingly deceptive government. In any event, the ball was set rolling and a lot of legislative work done during this period. The mutual suspicion was ended by the change in government following the April 2003 elections.


 2003 TO DATE


The previous administration had made the necessary legislation on the application of Islamic criminal law and the reorganization of the courts. So the courts did not relent in their efforts at dispensing justice according to the Sharia. A case showing Sharia in action is the mixed (civil/criminal) case of Rashida Minjibir v Ibrahim Iro (Case No. CV41/04) decided by the Sharia Court Minjibir. It was a case of paternity. The plaintiff who was married to the defendant for six months claimed for an order of court declaring that the defendant was responsible for her pregnancy. The cause of action arose when the defendant denied the pregnancy. His ground was that he sent the plaintiff for an ante-natal check up and the result, according to her, showed 4 months two weeks old pregnancy but she told him she knew she was only three months old pregnant. When he added three months to the period they have been separated, he got 5 months 2 weeks and she claimed that as at the time of the case she was 7 months old pregnant.


Citing relevant authorities, the court decided in favour of the plaintiff. Its grounds were based on its findings that between the date of marriage (18th July 2003) and the date of judgement (1st March, 2004) was a period of 7 months 13 days; under the Sharia, the minimum period of gestation was 6 months and yet the plaintiff did not deliver; the defendant did not find the plaintiff committing adultery, nor did he deny having sexual intercourse with her after her last menstrual period; the defendant did not complain upon knowing about the pregnancy. In addition to confirming the defendant’s responsibility for the pregnancy, the court ordered that he be punished with caning of 80 lashes for falsely accusing the plaintiff of adultery. This punishment was in line with sections 130 and 131 of the Sharia Penal Code Law though the court simply relied on a passage in Ihkamul Ahkam, page 127 in its judgement.


Presently, efforts are being made to make the court system better. Seminars and workshops are being organized for judges of the Sharia Courts as part of continuing legal education and a sensitization programme. This will ensure a better output from the courts. Recently (June this year), a workshop was organized for the judges where important papers were presented by highly respected academics, practicing lawyers and judges. It was at the opening ceremony on the 8th of June, 2004 that the Governor promised a car loan scheme and a robbing allowance for the Sharia Court Judges as necessary incentives.


First on the list of the present administration’s commencement retreat is to conduct all affairs in accordance with the dictates of the Sharia. So without prejudice to the court system, focus now became on how to make the entire system work better and to emphasise the need for a societal reorientation. To achieve this laudable objective, the Government created the Shari’ah Commission, Zakkah and Hubusi Commission, and Hisbah Board. These institutions are necessary tools if the implementation of Sharia is truly desired to be meaningful. Their social impacts are examined hereunder.


The Shari’ah Commission.  


The Shari’ah Commission was established by the Kano State Shari’ah Commission Law 2003. The Law repealed the Islamic Education and Social Affairs Commission Law 2000. Headed by a “full-time Chairman who shall be an erudite scholar in Islamic Jurisprudence and of proven integrity”, the Commission’s functions as itemized in section 4 of the Law include:



  1. Promotion, enhancement and development of Islamic social and cultural values;

  2. Sensitizing the general public to appreciate, accept and practice Government’s policy on the Sharia social aspect through media, public lectures, seminars, etc.;

  3. Initiating and implementing policies that will sanitize business transactions  and ensure orderly relationship among the general public in accordance with the dictates of the Sharia; and

  4. Initiating policies to assist Government in realizing its set objectives on the implementation of the social aspect of the Sharia as well as promoting Islamic education in the State.


In the discharge of its functions, the Commission saw it as a primary duty to sensitize the general public on the all-encompassing nature of the Sharia. The general notion has been to limit Sharia to the court rooms. To the average man, meting out capital punishments (hudud) is the evidence of the implementation of Sharia. The Commission now tries to show that the relationship between father and son, husband and wife, buyer and seller, master and servant, leader and led are all regulated by the Sharia and ought to be conducted in accordance therewith. Radio programmes are aired and lectures conducted to achieve this objective. And in order to tackle the menace of alcoholism and prostitution, the Commission had held meetings with the hospitality industry representatives reminding them of the social ills associated therewith. Success is being recorded here as there is a reduction in the twin activities.


In order to ‘catch them young’, the Commission under its Islamic Education Department has prepared syllabus for Islamiyya and traditional (allo) schools tailored to inculcate into the pupils a general knowledge of the Sharia and the necessity of living a life according to its dictates. An inspiring Arabic book, Dala’ilul- Khairat has now been translated into Hausa and distributed to the schools free. These schools are registered (registration still in progress) with and supervised by the Commission and are given a periodic grant to discourage the ‘Almajiri syndrome’ bedeviling most of the Northern States.


In its efforts to sanitize business transactions, the Commission recently organized a 2-day seminar/workshop (22nd – 23rd June, 2004) for grocers all over the State. The State was divided into 5 zones- Municipal, Dambatta, Gaya , Gwarzo and Rano. In each of the zones, distinguished Islamic scholars gave lectures on the problems associated with the business and ways of solving them; the ills of shortening measure or weight, algush and hoarding; and the required personnel to monitor the implementation of Sharia in the business. The attendance and participation of the stakeholders were encouraging and as a result, it has been resolved that standard measures and scales will be introduced by the Commission.


The Commission also entertains complaints from aggrieved litigants who for one reason or the other do not exercise the right of appeal. In cases where material rights are not involved, the Commission settles the parties and if settlement proves difficult or where material rights are involved, they are referred to the office of the Chief Registrar of the High Court who, in most cases, finds an administrative solution to the problem. In this way, expense, rigours and enmity associated with prolonged litigation are avoided.



Zakkah and Hubusi Commission.


Zakkah is the obligatory alms paid from a specified amount of wealth at specified period while Hubusi means endowment. The Commission was established by the Kano State Zakkah and Hubusi Commission Law 2003. It has a full-time Chairman, 2 permanent Commissioners and other ex-officio and part time members. Section 4 of the Law has listed its functions. They include:


  1. Regulating all matters relating to, and collecting Zakkah and Hubusi from individuals and/organisations;

  2. Distributing collected funds to deserving members of the public in accordance with the dictates of the Sharia;

  3. Investing in accordance with the Sharia such resources at the disposal of the Commission not immediately required for its purpose in such securities as may be approved by the Governor and to dispose of such securities; and

  4. Acting as a trustee of all funds, wealth and property entrusted in the Commission including but not limited to orphan children’s property, charity funds, alms and lost items.


At take off, the Commission started by a sensitization campaign. The practice over the years has been that wealthy individuals were distributing their Zakkah to individuals directly. The previous Governments did not make effort to involve a Governmental institution in the collection and distribution of Zakkah. There was only the Independent Zakkah Council (which this Law now merged with the Commission) and its impact was not much felt. It was part of the sensitization effort that the Commission organized a dinner at the Government house and invited notable persons from the business class, traditional rulers, farmers, etc. Visits were also made to influential persons in the State with a view to getting their maximum co-operation in the Commission’s discharge of its duties. The Law has made provision for the constitution of Zakkah Council in each local government and a Zakkah Committee in each village/ward so that the Commission’s activities could be decentralized. So the Commission embarked on a sensitization tour to all the 44 local government areas in the State. The Commission has also sponsored jingles in the radio stations in the State to raise awareness on the positive effect (i.e. it brings about mutual love in the society) of giving out Zakkah and alms to the needy.


Response from the wealthy persons has been quite encouraging. The Commission has been receiving Zakkah in different forms since its inception. It is hoped that by the month of Ramadan, the bulk of the collections will be made because from experience, it is the season of Zakkah for most people in Kano State . During the Commission’s visits and tours, it got assurances from the Zakkah-giving class who had already given out to individuals the previous Ramadan.


The Commission has a strategy for poverty alleviation. Its targeted areas are medical assistance (recently a #160,000 bill was settled for a patient), capital for the working class, vocational training for the unemployed youths, capital for widows (Uwar Marayu Programme), and periodic assistance to the aged. So far, the Commission has received over 4,000 applications from needy individuals. A Screening Committee composed of renowned Ulama had already screened about 500 applicants and recommended them for disbursement. Arrangements are now in top gear for the launching of the first disbursement, which occasion the Governor is expected to grace.


On the part of endowment (Hubusi), the Commission is also recording success. So far, there are three confirmed cases. A Professor of Law has donated a built school in the Kano City and it is meant for a junior secondary school for girls. The Ministry of Education and the Commission have already taken over the school and arrangements are being made for its take off. The second endowment is a piece of land at Unguwar Dabai, Kano meant for an Islamiyya school and a mosque. It was one Alhaji Abdulkadir of Unguwa Uku that made the donation. The third one is a bequest by a woman. She bequeathed 1/3 of her estate to be used in the building of a mosque. #183,350 has now been realised from the bequest.



Hisbah Board.


Unlike the previous administration, this administration attaches so much importance to the activities of the Hisbah institution. It finds it to be an indispensable tool for the realization of its set objectives. Thus the Board was created by the Kano State Hisbah Board Law 2003. It is composed of a full-time Chairman, representatives of the Shari’a and Zakkah and Hubusi Commissions, representatives of all the law enforcement agencies and security outfit, etc. In each village, Local Government and Senatorial Zone there is a Hisbah Committee to ensure a wide coverage. There are established the Hisbah Corps, eligible to be appointed as justices of the peace, who are under a Commander appointed by the Governor. Their responsibilities as spelt out by section 7 of the law include:


  1. Rendering necessary assistance to the police and other security agencies especially in the areas of prevention, detection and reporting of offences;

  2. Encouraging Muslims to unite in their quest for justice, equality and enjoin one another to do good and avoid evil;

  3. Advising against acquiring interest, usury, hoarding and speculations;

  4. Reconciliation of civil disputes between willing parties; and

  5. Assisting in traffic control and emergency relief operations.   


The Hisbah Corps members now numbering about 1,800 are assigned to various nooks and crannies of the State. They were drawn from the volunteer pioneer Hisbah members and are on the Board’s pay roll. Persons willing to volunteer are still accommodated because the work is primarily a duty to the Almighty Allah. The Board’s target is to have about 9,700 Corps. The impact of the institution is now greatly felt in the whole of the State. For instance, they run a weekly radio programme, “Muryar Hisbah” (Voice of Hisbah) which is meant for the sensitization and admonition of the public. One of the programmes for instance dwelt on the picnics going on at Tiga Dam every weekend pointing out the ills associated therewith and the need for parents to take responsibility for the better growth of their children. The Government has now formed a committee, at the instance of the Hisbah, to put a stop to the activity. Hisbah helps in the control of traffic during and after working hours especially the rush hours and where the traffic wardens do not cover. They help in settling minor accident cases thereby decongesting the courts.


In the area of family matters, they play a role too. For instance, one Binta Ado from Sabuwar Gandu tried, but in vain, to get a divorce through the court process on the ground of the husband’s alleged impotency which spanned for nearly a decade. At the Hisbah, the husband who remained adamant over the years was persuaded to let her off the hook. The case of Fatima Shehu Dorayi and Abubakar Sadiq Daurawa which was before the Upper Sharia Court Kofar Kudu cost the plaintiff her marriage and her only guardian disowned her as a result. The Hisbah intervened and saved the relationship with the guardian thereby averting a stranded and vulnerable situation.


The Hisbah also helps in checking the influx of young girls into Kano for the purposes of joining the Hausa film industry. Between November 2003 and May 2004, there were over fifty (50) recorded cases of girls deserting their parents or matrimonial homes to join the industry. A notable case is that of one Jamila Ahmed who escaped from a forced marriage instigated by her step-mother in Abuja . Hisbah took her back but a week later, her father died. She has now been retrieved with the consent of relatives and placed under the care of one of the Hisbah Deputy Commanders and will soon be wedded.


One other area in which Hisbah plays an important role is in the girl-child trafficking. Children of school age and from poor families in the villages are trafficked to the city and distributed to interested persons (Muslims and Non-Muslims) for domestic labour at a wage the lion’s share of which goes to the agents. Hisbah now places surveillance on this practice and handles all reported cases by sending the children back to their parents.

In the recent Kano crisis (the aftermath of Yelwan Shendam), Hisbah quelled tension by discouraging spread of rumours and unnecessary running on the streets. They distributed relief materials to victims at Vucavu Barracks and Bompai camps. They also collected donations from the public and sent relief materials to the Yelwan Shendam victims.



Whatever the efforts of the Governments and people of the State, implementation of Sharia cannot be a full one. By our Constitution (section 38), one has a fundamental right to change one’s religion and under the Sharia such change is a criminal offence which may attract death penalty. Any law criminalizing change of religion may therefore be declared null and void for being inconsistent with the Constitution. This explains the conspicuous absence of apostasy (Ridda) on the list of offences in the Shari’a Penal Code Law.


Even the other seemingly clear areas are not unproblematic. A number of cases suffer a lot due to the attitude of the police and the State counsel. For instance, capital offences charged to Magistrate Courts do not get prosecuted for want of jurisdiction. Accused persons are only remanded in prison custody. Charges are later filed before the Upper Sharia Courts by the State counsel. But each time the case comes up, the accused will not be produced before the court. The prison authorities only entertain production warrants issued by the remanding Magistrate who refuse to transfer the accused persons to the Upper Sharia Courts for trial. Applications for bail are either opposed by the State counsel or refused by the Magistrates on ground of lack of jurisdiction. It is in few cases that the High Court grants bail.


Examples of cases of this nature are many. In State vs. Ibrahim Garba & Anr. (Charge No. CR/4/04) a charge of armed robbery (contrary to section 140(b) of the Sharia Penal Code Law) was filed before the Upper Sharia Court , Yankaba long after the accused persons had been remanded in prison by a Gyadi-Gyadi Magistrate Court . They have not yet been produced before the Upper Sharia Court and the Magistrate Court cannot try them for lack of jurisdiction. The case of State vs. Shehu Labaran (No. CR/19) where the accused is charged with the offence of rape contrary to section 126 of the Law before the Upper Sharia Court , Shahuci after being arraigned before the Chief Magistrate Court 19, Nomansland suffers the same problem. But it is a bit better because the Sharia Court had admitted the accused to bail.

There is need for a forum of all stakeholders in the Sharia ‘project’ in order to correct the anomalies shackling the system. Judges, Magistrates, private and public bar, prison authorities and the police must put all hands on deck to see to the smooth running of the Sharia criminal justice system. The social aspect of the Sharia did not receive much attention between 2000 and 2003. What has been done from 2003 to date is commendable looking at the short period and constraints involved. The social institutions established are bound to face teething problems and it is only with time that people will maximize cooperation to achieve the desired objectives. The general consensus however is that confidence in leadership has been restored thereby creating a conducive atmosphere for the Sharia to flourish.

Mamman Lawan wrote in from Faculty of Law Bayero University Kano . The piece was originally a report submitted to an International Conference on “the Implementation of Sharia in a Democracy: The Nigerian Experience” held at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja between 7th and 9th July, 2004 jointly organized by the Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy, Washington D.C. and the Centre for Islamic Legal Studies, ABU Zaria.