By Yusufu Shehu Usman
I have read many posts condemning the CJN for Calling for more Shariah In the Constitution. I have not had the privilege of reading the statement credited to the Chief Justice of Nigeria on the issue
But assuming he made that call, what Is wrong with it?
He is entitled to hold and express his personal opinion on any provision of the Constitution or indeed any law.
It will be a pretence to say that there is no Shariah in the Nigerian Constitution, when the Constitution provides for the establishment of Sharia courts for states that desire them
The same Constitution also provides for channels of appeal from the Sharia courts to the Court of Appeal, up to the supreme Court of Nigeria
There is nothing wrong for the Chief Justice to seek an improvement of what is already existing. It will aid in the speedy or more improved administration and dispensation of Justice in respect of the application of Islamic personal law, which is the content of Sharia law recognised by the Constitution
The Constitution does not impose the application of Islamic personal law on every person. It’s application is limited to the adherents of the Islamic faith and even at that, those who chose to bring themselves under the jurisdictions and jurisprudence of Islamic personal law as applied by the Sharia courts established by law
It has nothing to do with any person who is not a Muslim or even if a Muslim, if he chooses not to subject himself to the jurisdiction of the Sharia courts
It’s a different thing if there are those who feel it’s wrong for the Constitution to recognise Islamic personal law and allow for a system of courts to administer it
They have the right to challenge it and seek for it’s removal from the Constitution
If Nigerians decide that Sharia should have no mention or role to play in the Constitution, we may debate it and if it’s what majority of Nigerians want, the Sharia will not form part of our constitution
But rightly or wrongfully, the Constitution has recognised not all shariah law but the Islamic family law aspect of the Sharia and provides for its application to the supreme Court of Nigeria
This is the undeniable fact. It is part of our constitution and a part of our legal system as they operate today
That being so, what is wrong if the Chief Justice makes a recommendation for it’s improvement to make for a better dispensation of Justice under the.current system?.
It’s not that the Sharia did not exist in the Constitution and the court system and the CJN is making a recommendation for it’s establishment
He is only seeking for the improvement of an existing state of affairs. Therefore those who have issues with the Sharia should not blame the Chief Justice. He didn’t write the Constitution and he didn’t insert the Sharia clauses in it.
They should blame the framers the Constitution who in their wisdom or foolishness have allowed the Sharia to find it’s way into the Constitution and our legal system.
We should spare the Chief Justice from diabolical politics. On this, he has the right to hold and express his opinion and if he did, he has not violated any law .