The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, yesterday advocated for the amendment of Nigeria’s constitution to accommodate some of the concerns of Muslims and the Shari’a law. Muhammad made this known while declaring the 20th Annual Judges Conference open at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria Faculty of Law’s Moot Court. Commenting on the theme of the two-day conference, ‘Documentation of Contracts in Islamic Law: Procedure, Sample Precedents and Practice’, organised by the Centre for Islamic Legal Studies (CILS) of the ABU in collaboration with National Judicial Institute (NJI), Abuja, Justice Muhammad also urged academicians to champion the cause of redesigning the methods of teaching Shari’a law.
Represented by Justice Muhammad Danjuma, Grand Khadi of Niger State, the CJN said the implementation of his suggestions would be more feasible if universities give the Shari’a law its own faculty.
He said: “As we all know, there are sections of the constitution that allow the implementation of Shari’a personal law and apart from that, we cannot do more. However, we have the number to emend the constitution to suit our own position as Muslims.” Muhammad said increase of judges to be learned in Shari’a would allow them to attend to issues that have to do with Islamic law. In the same vein, the CJN said in view of the importance of the Shari’a legal system to the legal profession, Shari’a law ought to be taught in Arabic language in Nigerian universities. He added: “The Shari’a law should be taught in Arabic not English. There is no university in Nigeria that runs Shari’a in Arabic; they all teach Shari’a in English. So, academicians let’s also look into this issue.” The Vice-Chancellor of ABU, Professor Ibrahim Garba, said academic conferences are avenues of creating knowledge for the benefit of humanity, hence the university’s decision to support the judges’ conference.