AN ASSESSMENT OF ISLAMIC LAW AS CUSTOMARY LAW VIZ A VIZ THE SUPREME COURT RULING IN ALKAMAWA V BELLO AND ANOR

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ABSTRACT

In recent times there has been a renaissance of the Islamic heritage in the consciousness of the adherents of the Islamic faith and this has sought expression in their quest to conduct their affairs in accordance with Islamic injunctions. This has become noticeable in areas where Islam is the predominant religion in northern Nigeria. In the past decade, there has been a renewed focus on the Islamic law system, with twelve(12) of the nations thirty six states adopting it in public proclamations. The focal point of this research is a critical assessment of the likening of Islamic law to customary law in relation to the case in focus- Alkamawa v Bello & anor and with a unanimous voice, the Supreme court in its full Constitution categorically and clearly brought to rest the point that Islamic law is not in similitude with customary law. Its uniqueness and distinction from customary law was succinctly enunciated on the account of the fact that it has no particularity with any tribe. It is more universal than tribal. And as though intensive and extensive x-ray was made clear. With no few instances, this research examines various reasons why Islamic law cannot be fairly and squarely regarded as customary law. The methodology of this work is a critical analysis of the subject and mode of collecting data for the richness and accuracy of this work is built within statutes, case laws, textbooks, articles, internet researches etc. In furtherance, and on a note of finality, conclusions and recommendations were made to the effect that the fact that other religions are not freely at operation in the country, therefore, the wings of Islamic law and its accompanying operations in the northern region of Nigeria should be clipped.

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of Study

The association of Islamic law as customary law has engendered a controversy, and the crux of the controversy is to ascertain whether Islamic law which is the central focus of the Islamic religion in northern Nigeria can be safely settled to be customary law, which is the law of other parts of the country.

To critically evaluate the situation, mention and analysis of the case of Alkamawa v Bello[1] will be submitted at the floor of examination, in which the supreme-court held that Islamic law is not customary law.

Worthy of note is that before judicial voices announced the decision in that case, Islamic law was likened to customary law as jurists regarded it as ‘received customary law’, with a similar colouration as ‘native law and custom’.

It reasonably is understandable why the Supreme court’s decision in the abovementioned case is in conflict with the acceptance of Islamic law as customary law.

One could say retaining Islamic law still as part of our legal system is somewhat questionable, on account of the fact that Islamic law is so to speak a religious law which relates to personal issues. Now, extending its reach beyond the borders of criminal and civil matters, sounds the gong of attention at its highest decibel. There has been back and forth criticism in associating Islamic law with our legal system with regards to the disparity between Islamic law and regular laws pursuant to section 10 and section 38 of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.

1.2       Statement of Problem

Fairly and squarely, the challenge this work x-rays is to expose Islamic law as more of a religious law, and to trace its root to our legal system. And if that be the case, a rhetorical question is attendant: will it be rationale to allow religious inclinations dictate the laws.