Emory International Law Review

Volume 25Issue 2
Sharia, Family, and Democracy: Religious Norms and Family Law in Pluralistic Democratic States
Religious and Legal Pluralism in Nigeria

Religious and Customary Laws in Nigeria

Abdulmumini A. Oba | 25 Emory Int'l L. Rev. 881 (2011)

This Essay discusses the “religious law” and “customary law” paradigms in the context of the Nigerian legal system. It also examines the pluralistic nature of Nigeria in terms of ethnicity, religion, and law, and argues that the religious law paradigm is problematic for the discussion of laws at the global level generally and within the Nigerian legal system in particular. Then this Essay identifies customary law, Islamic law, and English law (common law) as the three legal traditions in Nigeria, and then proceeds to discuss their status and scope, the conflicts between them, and the particular challenges facing the Islamic and customary laws in Nigeria. This Essay concludes with suggestions for the way forward.

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Between Conflict and Compromise: Lessons on Sharia and Pluralism from Nigeria’s Kaduna and Kebbi States

Eyene Okpanachi | 25 Emory Int'l L. Rev. 897 (2011)

Utilizing documentary sources and interviews carried out in Kaduna and Kebbi States between 2008 and 2009, this Essay asks the following questions: what forms of discord or compromise emerged over the Sharia policy and what were the implications of these transformations on the dynamics of these states? What is the nature of the citizenship, identity contestations, and conflicts that have ensued over the Sharia policy in these states and how have they been managed or mismanaged? What are the mechanisms instituted or utilized to accommodate differences arising over the implementation of Sharia in these two states, and how does Sharia in these two states interface with the secular state? An analysis of these issues will help us to dispel crude generalizations and totalizing narratives over the Sharia question.

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The Independent Sharia Panel of Lagos State

Abdul-Fatah Kola Makinde & Philip Ostien | 25 Emory Int'l L. Rev. 921 (2011)

In 2002, Muslim activists in Lagos State took it upon themselves to set up what amounts to a private arbitration tribunal—the Independent Sharia Panel (“ISP”) of Lagos State—to which Muslims are invited to submit their disputes for adjudication under Islamic law. The primary aim of this Essay is to describe the Lagos ISP itself: who is behind it, what it is, and how it is getting along in the world. The larger setting must remain in the background: Lagos State as part of Nigeria’s predominantly Yoruba southwest; how Islamic law was squeezed out of the southwestern courts over many years, despite the large percentages of Muslims among the Yoruba; and the long history of failed attempts by activists to persuade the authorities pro tem to correct this anomaly by establishing Sharia courts for the use of Muslims.

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Religion, Family Law, and Recognition of Identity in Nigeria

M. Christian Green | 25 Emory Int'l L. Rev. 945 (2011)

In this Essay, I discuss some of the key features of Muslim-Christian contestation in Nigeria as revealed in a recent survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religious Life, titled Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa. I then discuss some of the Pew statistics that bear on the family and gender issues at the heart of the Sharia controversy. Finally, I offer some concluding reflections on whether Muslim-Christian contestation in Nigeria should be construed as a matter of religion qua religion or of “religion by proxy,” on the prospects for moderate Sharia and juridical pluralism in Nigeria, and on the importance of identity for understanding religious conflict in Nigeria and elsewhere.

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