Metro Sharia Bill: 9 Things Nigerians Need To Know About The Proposed Bill



The Sharia Expansion Bill seeking to increase the jurisdiction of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the Sharia Court of Appeal of a State has passed second reading in the Federal House of Representatives without debate.

This Bill was sponsored by Abdullahi Balarabe Salame, a representative from Sokoto State. He was elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress and has been representing Gwadabawa/Illela constituency since 2011. Salame is a one-time speaker of the House of Assembly in Sokoto State and holds degrees in Islamic studies.

- The proposed Bill seeks to amend the Constitution in order to give more powers to the Sharia Court of Appeal.

- This Bill, if passed will quash all conditions that protect Christians from the Sharia Law. i.e Non-Muslims can be prosecuted for “crimes” against the Islamic faith. E.g. Christians can be stoned to death or amputated under the Law if the said offence is committed in a Sharia state.

- If Sharia Law is passed, states with Sharia courts are no longer obliged to Nigeria’s constitutional Courts, which means that these States would become Islamic State by law.


Sharia Law Penalties

- This proposed Bill, if passed will add criminal matters to the civil matters it currently caters for legally. The criminal matters are Hudud and Qisas.

- About Hudud - is an Islamic concept: punishments which under Islamic law (Sharia) are mandated and fixed by God. The Sharia divided offenses into those against God and those against man. Crimes against God violated His Hudud, or ‘boundaries’. These punishments were specified by the Quran, and in some instances by the Sunnah.

- Offences are adultery, fornication, accusing someone of illicit sex but failing to present four male Muslim eyewitnesses, consuming intoxicants, outrage (e.g. rebellion against the lawful Caliph, other forms of mischief against the Muslim state, or highway robbery), robbery and theft. Hudud offenses are overturned by the slightest of doubts.

- Punishment: public lashing to publicly stoning to death, amputation of hands and crucifixion. The crimes against hudud cannot be pardoned by the victim or by the state, and the punishments must be carried out in public.

- About Qisas - Islamic term meaning “retaliation in kind” or revenge, “eye for an eye”, “nemesis” or retributive justice. It is a category of crimes in Islamic jurisprudence, where Sharia allows equal retaliation as the punishment.

- Qisas principle is available against the accused, to the victim or victim’s heirs, when a Muslim is murdered, suffers bodily injury or suffers property damage.