Lagos Crime Zamfara Verdict: Sharia law

A notification pops up “Former Zamfara governor and presidential aspirant under the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sani Yerima, says he did nothing wrong marrying a 13-year-old Egyptian girl.”, clicked it to read.

I then began to wonder, why is it not trending at all. The Chrisland case where a 12-year child was recording themselves having sex and the school tried to cover it up, has been trending for weeks and so many Twitter lawyers have said a lot so why are Twitter lawyers not talking about this, or is it because the person in question is an APC member?

We all know that once you are that party member, you automatically become a saint you don’t even need to be born again.

Started making my research on the core reason why this man is not jailed, I mean Omo odún metalá (13 years), and got to realize that technically according to the law, he is right to do so but to understand how this is possible we have to go back in time and justify this properly.


The spread of Islam in Nigeria dates back to the eleventh century and according to further analysis, it was 11/08/09 when it first appeared in Borno in the northeast of Nigeria. Later Islam emerged in Hausaland in the northwest and its influence was evident in Kano and Katsina.

In the latter part of the eighteenth century, a Muslim revival took place in western Africa, in which Fulani cattle-driving people, who had settled and adopted Islam, played a central role in spreading throughout the rest of the north and part of the west. If you are interested in more about the history of the law, you can do further research.

Going back to the time when colonial masters came to Nigeria, the northerners couldn’t differentiate between Sharia law and their way of life. They thought Sharia law was their ‘culture’ so it was pretty hard and still pretty hard to pull them from it.

As of now in Nigeria, Sharia has been instituted as a main body of civil and criminal law in twelve Muslim-majority states since 1999, when then-Zamfara State governor Ahmad Sani Yerima began the push for the institution of Sharia at the state level of government.

We have some states in the country where the laws are fully practiced and when I mean fully, Sharia law is applied in full, including personal status issues and criminal law. While there are some states that. Sharia applies only to personal status issues (such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody), but otherwise, the legal system is secular.

Sharia laws are applied in the following States.

States that practice it fully are:

Zamfara State, Kano State, Sokoto State, Katsina State, Jigawa State, Kebbi State, Kaduna State, Niger State.

While states that sharia only applies to personal status are:

Gombe State, Borno State, Yobe State, Bauchi State.

It’s only in the above states that Sharia law is applied, so if you commit a crime in Lagos and expect that Sharia law will be used to judge you, you and ‘Kiri Kiri’ should have memorable times together.

The question then comes, what is the content of the law and how is it different from the laws practiced in other parts of the country?


There are four distinct legal systems in Nigeria, which include English law, Common law, Customary law, and Sharia Law.

English law in Nigeria is derived from colonial Nigeria, while common law is a development from its post-colonial independence.

Customary law is derived from indigenous traditional norms and practices, including the dispute resolution meetings of pre-colonial Yoruba land secret societies and the Èkpè and Okónkò of Igboland and Ibibioland. Sharia Law (also known as Islamic Law) is used in Northern Nigeria, where Islam is the predominant religion.

Nigeria then has The Nigeria Criminal Code which is currently chapter 77 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990; it applies only to the southern, Christian-dominated states since 1963 and also The Nigeria Penal Code which is currently chapter 89 of the Laws of Northern Nigeria 1963; it applies only to the northern, Muslim-dominated states since 1960.

Sharia law is based on two major things, the Quran and Hadith. If there is any complicated case that is not spoken of in these two books, then Islamic scholars will be called upon for evaluation.

Example of some of these laws,

Tobacco or smoking, in general, is not explicitly mentioned in the Quran or Hadith, it has been condemned as potentially harmful or prohibited smoking outright as a result of the severe health damage that it causes by contemporary scholars, that’s why you’d see Hausa guys not smoke in the north but when they come to the south or southwest states, they turn to ‘sango olokoso’ smoking by the slightest opportunity possible.

Another example is, in the south or states where Sharia law is not practiced, if you are married and you beat your wife… you can be charged for gender-based violation and we have so many associations that have taken responsibility for all these kinds of crimes but in states where sharia is practiced, Section 55(1)(d) of the Penal Code of Northern Nigeria provides that an assault by a man on a woman is not an offense if they are married, if native law or custom recognizes such “correction” as lawful, and if there is no grievous hurt. So you can beat your wife in these states.


Back to the former governor of the state, Sani Terima is not going to be jailed because it is legally right to marry a girl at that age. How is this possible?

According to the child’s rights law of Lagos 2007, a child is someone that is below the age of 18’ so marrying someone below this age in law is a crime but according to the Penal code, as long as the child is in the age of puberty they’re allowed to marry. Due to pressure exerted on children to marry young in Northern Nigeria, 48 percent of Hausa-Fulani girls are married by age 15, and 78 percent are married by age 18.

So he is in zamfara, they practice Sharia law so he can marry a 13-year-old as long as she has attained the age of puberty.

Final Verdict

Practicing Sharia law doesn’t make them bad people, it’s their way of life and who they are themselves. They probably don’t recognize that this way of living is no longer trending in the western world but that’s who they are, that’s their identity.