Group supports call for appointment of more judges on Islamic law
A group known as Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), has expressed support for the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mohammed Tanko, on his recent call for the appointment of additional Court of Appeal judges grounded on Islamic laws.
The group in a statement jointly signed by its National President, Professor F.A, Adeleke and the National Secretary, Island Alaska, stated that there was nothing wrong with increasing the number of justices of the Court of Appeal who are well-grounded in Islamic laws.
MULAN noted that since 1978, there has been a substantial increase in the number of the Court of Appeal divisions as well as justices without a commensurate increase in the number of justices that specialized in Islamic laws.
“This is unfair to Muslims as many appeals on Shari’ah matters are left unattended to in the various divisions of the Court of Appeal.
The group also reacted sharply to the position of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over the statement made by CJN on the need to increase justices for Shari’ah courts.
“The fundamental rule of Shari’ah is that it does not apply to non-Muslims. In the various states where limited aspects of it are practiced, Christians and other non-Muslims are not subjected to its application.
“Muslims are not members of CAN and they are agitating for Shari’ah to govern their affairs. They have a constitutional right under Section 38 of the Nigerian Constitution to manifest the practice and observance of Islamic religion and its teaching unencumbered. What is CAN’s business in how they run their affairs?”
It said: “Without prejudice to the foregoing, MULAN finds nothing wrong with the statement ascribed to the CJN. The statement was made in good faith and called for justice to Nigerian Muslims, who still today, get the short end of the stick in the country.
“We find nothing unsavory in advocating for an increase in the number of Justices of the Court of Appeal who are well-grounded in Islamic Law given the fact that the number of Justices in that court was increased by an additional twenty.
“There is wisdom in asking that those who want to specialize in Islamic laws in the university should be taught in Arabic language in which the primary source of the law is written.
“This will enhance a proper grasp of the law on their part and make them better practitioners unlike the present situation where a tertiary language – English, is used with its attendant deficiency”, the group says.
It further appealed to CAN to “rise beyond pettiness and leave politicians to play their game of intrigues.
“The leadership of CAN should be more concerned with uniting the different segments of our country and deploy its huge resources in the pursuit of justice for all Nigerians.
“In this regard, there will be no need to denigrate any other Nigerian or public officer as was done to the person of the CJN by CAN and its proxies in this instance.
“We commend to CAN and to us all, Section 24(1) of the Nigerian Constitution which provides that it shall be the duty of every citizen to respect the dignity of other citizens and the rights and the legitimate interest of others and live in unity and harmony.”
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