Prof. Abdulmumini Oba a lecturer at the University of Ilorin has called for the establishment of Sharia Courts of Appeal in the South West to cater to the Muslim faithful.
Oba, who lectures at the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law of the university made the call in a paper presented at the 189th Inaugural Lecture of the university titled: “Live and let live; rethinking the legal responses to religious, ethnic and legal pluralism”.
He said that the Sharia Courts should be set up in states in South West with a sizeable Muslim population.
Oba said that Sharia Courts of Appeal and High Courts should have jurisdiction in all Islamic Law matters in states where Sharia Court of Appeal existed.
He observed that there was a lacuna in the administration of Islamic laws in Nigeria, adding that the colonial authorities did not make efforts to integrate both Customary and Islamic laws into the Nigerian legal system.
“There are no provisions for administration of Islamic estates in our statutes.
“This has forced many unwilling Muslims to approach High Courts for letters of administration even in states that have Sharia Courts of Appeal.
“Similarly, the absence of registry for Islamic marriages has forced some Muslim couples to contract statutory marriages.
“This is so that they can get marriage certificates required by some embassies that would not accept affidavits of marriages that are the only legal evidence available for persons who marry under Islamic law,” he said.
Oba stated that Christians and people of other faith had nothing to fear about Islamic laws.
The don said that the jurisdiction of Islamic courts did not extend to unwilling Christians.
He also disclosed that Christian lawyers appeared in Islamic law cases before Islamic Courts and English courts, adding that Christian Judges and Justices also adjudicate on Islamic Law cases.
The law expert explained that Islamic laws recognised the judicial and cultural autonomy of non-Muslims in matters of their own personal issues.
Oba called for unity, tolerance, understanding among Nigerians and warned against politicising matters affecting national cohesion.