PRESIDENT-GENERAL of the Nigerian Supreme Council of lslamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has called on the Federal Government to accord Islamic law the same status as the common law in the country.
Speaking at a national conference on Shariah in the Nigerian legal education system organised by the Department of Islamic Law, University of Ilorin, on Tuesday, the Sultan, represented by the Waziri of Sokoto, Professor Sambo Junaid, said Shariah is significant in the lives of Muslims.
The Nigerian Amir al-Mu’minin, who said that Islamic law should be accorded a proper recognition, added that antagonism against it should cease.
He said that lawyers should be trained on Islamic law rather than being restricted to the common law as is the practice in the country.
The convener of the conference and Head of the Department of Islamic Law, University of Ilorin, Professor Abdulquadir Abikan, said Islamic law had attained a high level of development before the arrival of British colonialists.
The don, who, however, lamented that the Islamic law had been relegated in the legal education system and the law profession in general in the country, recommended that some of the core Islamic courses be made compulsory for all law students before graduation.
“In our universities, Islamic law courses have now been reduced. Now we have what is called core courses that any student of law must take before they will be qualified to go to Law School but no Islamic law course is among.
“Islamic law had attained the highest level of development before the colonial era. Islamic law was used to govern the Sokoto Caliphate which extended to Ilorin. The whole of the North was governed by Islamic law. So, when colonial masters came, they brought their own law and they tried to kill Islamic law as much as possible, even though they admitted when they came they met judges administering Islamic law as men of considerable learning.
“Islamic Law has now been reduced to elective courses. Now we have what is called core course that any student of law must take before they will be qualified to go to law school, no Islamic law course is put among those courses,” Prof. Abikan said
“Islamic law courses should be made compulsory for all law students. There should be introduction of Islamic Law, Principle of Islamic Law. Their five-year programme should have four or five Islamic law courses.
“As far as secondary schools are concerned, they are only required to take Islamic Studies. Unfortunately, those who go to Arabic schools don’t have access to our universities. There is the need to give access to those who go to Islamic schools to have access to our universities,” he added.
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