Sharia Implementation in Northern Nigeria 1999-2006: A Sourcebook

This weekend I met up with law scholar, Philip Ostien, who walked me through the 5 volume set (a 6th coming soon) he has edited, and which is published by Spectrum Books: Sharia Implementation in Northern Nigeria: 1999-2006: A Sourcebook. This is an amazing resource that has been made available on the  internet free of charge (in the form of pdfs) by Bayreuth University. The set includes a history of sharia implementation and reproduces important primary documents such as the Sharia Penal and Criminal Procedure Codes and other committee reports and white papers. Volume 6 focuses specifically on the legal cases of Safiyatu Hussaini and Amina Lawal, giving the details of the case that are often lost in the media hype. 

What is specifically useful for me is Volume III, which reproduces much of the censorship law, and Volume IV which reproduces the “Harmonised Sharia Criminal Procedure Code Based on the Harmonised Sharia Penal Code” put together by the Centre for Islamic Legal Studies, at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in October 2005. There are extensive footnotes which note wherever sharia law has been modified from the Penal Code of 1960, which was the magistrate law code put into place after independence in Northern Nigeria. So, although most useful for scholars of shari’a, it is also a handy reference for anyone who wants to know what a magistrate law is. Deviations from sharia should be noted in the footnotes and can be followed up by research on Kano State magistrate law.

The Volumes are as follows:

Volume 1: Historical Background

Volume II: Sharia Implementation Committee Reports and Related White Papers

Volume III: Sanitizing Society (This is the volume in which the Kano State censorship laws can be found.)

Volume IV: The Sharia Penal and Criminal Procedure Codes

Volume V: Two Famous Cases (namely those of Safiyatu Hussaini and Amina Lawal)

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One response to “Sharia Implementation in Northern Nigeria 1999-2006: A Sourcebook

  1. Fascinating stuff. I was just wondering. Does the sharia legal system ever respond to socio-cultural changes? My prejudice against the system has always been the fact that it is achaic and possibly atavistic. I have a feeling that I may be wrong.

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