A faith-based human rights activist group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has charged the judiciary arm of Nigerian government with an attempt to kill the Shariah Court of Appeal.
It asserts the failure of the Judiciary to fill vacant positions in the federal shariah panel with required qualified justices, adding that the one and only shariah expert of the Supreme Court, Justice Muhammad Tanko, retired without replacement.
MURIC director Ishaq Akintola restated that unavailability of shariah judges in the apex court is an attempt to exterminate the Shariah Court of Appeal, which is provided for in Sections 260(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“There are ominous signs that the Shariah Court of Appeal may fade away at the federal level very soon as no attempt is being made to compose its panel,” Akintola said.
He lamented irregularity in the composition of the recently recruited twenty judges without a single Shariah expert, a lacuna that is highly needed to be filled.
“It is also sad that none of the 20 judges recently recruited into the Court of Appeal is a Shariah specialist,” the group director added.
Calling for compliance with the law of the land, MURIC reminded the judiciary arm of the need to establish Shariah Courts of Appeal in southern Nigeria, emphasising the large population of Muslims in states like Oyo, Osun, Ogun and Lagos.
It appealed to the federal government to allow the Southerners to exercise their constitutional rights by giving them Shariah courts for maximum compliance with democratic principles.
“Failure to allow Muslims in the region to enjoy this constitutional provision diminishes compliance with democratic principles. It also constitutes a major minus in good governance indices because there can be no good governance without inclusivity,” Akintola stated.