Whether persons who violate Sharia laws in states governed by them are sought by police in non-Sharia states [NGA36525.E]

Two sources stated that in practice a person alleged to have violated Sharia laws in states governed by them would not be pursued, or apprehended, in states not governed by Sharia laws (Director CDD 20 Mar. 2001; Legal Support Department 17 Mar. 2001).

The following information was provided by a Barrister with the Legal Support Department of the International Centre for Nigerian Law (see below). When asked whether there are "any provisions in Nigeria under federal or state law, or otherwise to pursue, or apprehend, alleged violators of Sharia laws in non-Sharia states?" the Barrister responded: "No. A very emphatic No." (17 Mar. 2001).

When asked whether a person alleged to have violated Sharia laws in a state governed by them could be pursued in a non-Sharia state, the Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) (see below) stated that a person convicted of a Sharia offence could be liable in Nigeria under the Grand Kadi (Qady) system, but that the Constitution is unclear on this. He explained that the Grand Kadi is the head of the state Sharia Court of Appeal which, according to the Constitution, has jurisdiction to deal only with personal and family law. However, the Constitution does not directly provide for the Sharia Court of Appeal to deal with offences under the Sharia laws implemented since 2000 in certain Nigerian states. In the Director's opinion it is likely beyond the legal jurisdiction of the Grand Kadi to pursue violators of Sharia laws as implemented in ten Nigeria states, beyond the borders of those states. He added that in practice, it is clear that a person would not be pursued beyond the borders of a Sharia state. He said that Nigeria does not have state police and that the federal police have made it clear that they will not enforce state Sharia laws.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), London. 20 March 2001. Telephone interview with Director. The Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in London is a civil-military relations scholar who studied at the Universities of Lagos, Ife and London where he received his PhD in War Studies. He is an adviser to various organizations on African affairs, including the British Parliamentary Human Rights Group, International Crisis Group and Norwegian Council for Africa.

International Centre for Nigerian Law, Legal Support Department, Nigeria. 17 March 2001. Correspondence from Barrister and Solicitor. "The International Centre for Nigerian Law (ICFNL) is dedicated to modernising Nigerian law and making it responsive to the real requirements of doing justice. We are also determined to make the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria available to a worldwide audience." Its membership is worldwide and includes primarily lawyers. "Legal Support is domiciled in Nigeria and is responsible for all research and documentation. They receive and respond to requests for assistance of a legal nature from visitors to the site and any other persons who may require assistance with matters relating to the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria."

Additional Sources Consulted

Inter-Ethnic and Religious Conflict Resolution in Nigeria. 1999. Editors: Ernest E. Uwazie, Isaac O. Albert, and Godfrey N. Uzoigwe.

IRB databases


Resource Centre. Nigeria country file. January 2000 - March 2001.

_____. Nigeria: Amnesty International country file. January 2000 - March 2001.

World News Connection (WNC)

Six non-documentary sources contacted did not provide information on the requested subject.

Unsuccessful attempts to contact one non-documentary source

Internet sites including:

Keesing's Record of World Events [Cambridge].

Nigeria Media Monitor

Post Express [Lagos].

Associated documents