INSURANCE UNDER NIGERIAN STATUTES: THE ISLAMIC LAW ALTERNATIVE

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CHAPTER ONE GENERATION INTRODUCTION

  • Background to Study

Virtually, all legal systems recognized and guaranteed certain rights for human beings. Further to these recognized rights, some selected rights have been regarded as fundamental rights. Among these fundamental rights is right to acquire and own  property.  The Nigerian Constitution like that of other civilized countries, followed suit and recognized these fundamental rights1. Notable among these rights is right to acquire and own property2.

In furtherance to the above, the right to own property was further guided and jealously protected to the extent that tampering with same (somebody property) without prior consent and permission of the owner is regarded as criminal act (i.e. offence) under the law3.

In addition to the above, a Nigerian Citizen is allowed though subject to some limitation to have resort to self-help in an attempt to defend his property4.

Comparatively, Islam and indeed Islamic law equally in comprehensive form provided for, protected and guaranteed the essential rights5 (among which is right to own property). Islamic law did not only recognize and protect the right (referred here specifically to right to own property) but also, in attempt to block all ways to its violation, imposed severe penalty/punishment for the offences of theft and Hirabah (Robbery)6.

It is crystal clear from the above that, both Islamic law and Nigerian Statutes protected the right of people to own property. The laws further criminalized the act of theft, stealing, robbery or any other criminal acts that are inimical to the enjoyment of the right. The reason may not be unconnected with the protection of the interest of the owner in the property rather than the property itself. This is because; the owner may on his own  volition dispose of or alienate the property to somebody else.All what the laws did was to protect the interest of the owner over the property. It is this interest that always propels the owner of the property (e.g. house, car, company, business, and other things capable of being insured) to take out insurance policy against damage, destruction or loss, etc (these often referred to in commercial law as risks)7.

INSURANCE UNDER NIGERIAN STATUTES: THE ISLAMIC LAW ALTERNATIVE