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Lagos Govt. approves customary court for Islamic laws, related matters

By Idowu Abdullahi

The Lagos State Government has empowered Ifako-Ijaiye Customary Court to adjudicate on Islamic laws and other related matters, to uphold principle of fairness, and ensure Muslims across the state have a court of competent jurisdiction to rule on their religious affairs.

The government, through its Judicial Service Commission, said that the designation of Ifako-Ijaiye Customary Court to adjudicate on Islamic law and matters in relation to marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance was in line with the provisions of Section 22 (3) of the Customary Courts Law of Lagos State

The Secretary to the Judicial Service Commission, Olubukola Salami, through a circular made available to newsmen, said that aside from designating the court, the commission also retained Indiana Adeshina as the President of the Court following his years of meritorious service and expertise.

She added that decision to retain Adeshina was concluded after an agreement by the commission that the president, who was vast in Islamic and Sharia laws, with her wealth of experience across the Customary Courts set up in the state, should be allowed to combine both roles.

Salami explained that despite the new expansion, the court would not forfeit its earlier role and that it would continue to adjudicate on matters with its Jurisdiction with fairness and in accordance with rule of law.

The circular read: “I wish to inform Your Worships that in line with the provisions of Section 22 (3) of the Customary Courts Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, the Commission has designated the IFAKO-IJAIYE Customary Court to adjudicate on Islamic law and matters in relation to marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance.

“Consequently, please be informed that the current President of Ifako-Ijaiye Customer Court, Your Worship, Mr. Indiana Adeshina is retained as the President of the Court in view of his qualification and wealth of experience with regards to Islamic/Sharia Law and matters.

“However l, notwithstanding the foregoing, it is instructive to note that the Ifako-Ijaiye Customary Court is not restricted to Islamic/Sharia matters only and would therefore continue to adjudicate over other matters within it’s Jurisdiction.Please note the above and ensure strict adequate compliance accordingly.”

The Guild had earlier reported that the National Council of Muslim Youth Organization (NACOMYO), Lagos Chapter, has called for the establishment of a Shariah Court of Appeal in the state, in order to give Nigerians particularly Lagosians another avenue to seek for redress on issues affecting them.

NACOMYO said that Shari’a law was enshrined in section 275 of the 1999 constitution and that the section further provides for establishment of a Shari’a Court of Appeal within any state that requires it, saying but its non-implementation over the years has denied Muslims their rights.

The group stated that the call became imperative after Muslims in Lagos were unable to have the backing of law in the administration of their personal rights as enshrined in the 1999 constitution.

As gathered, the youth have further submitted a memorandum before the National Assembly committee on Constitutional review, demanding that a Shariah Court of Appeal be put up within the state.

Speaking on behalf of the group at a press briefing in Ikeja, the Coordinator of NACOMYO for Lagos chapter, Isiaka Salami, argued that the establishment of the court and implementation of the law would give Muslims seeking for justice an opportunity to report their cases to the court and that issues could be addressed in accordance with Islamic law.

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