BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Monday, 5 November, 2001, 02:21 GMT
Violence erupts in northern Nigeria
Boy and soldier in Kaduna
Plans to introduce Sharia last year led to horrific violence in Kaduna
Ten people have been killed and hundreds more have fled from the town of Gwantu in Nigeria's northern state of Kaduna after a weekend of violence.

Most of those who fled were Muslims, the minority community in the town.

Government troops have been sent to the area to restore order.

The violence began on Friday after Kaduna introduced a modified version of Sharia or Islamic law in an attempt to keep Muslims and Christians in the state happy.

Plans last year to introduce Islamic courts were put on hold after riots in the city of Kaduna in which more than 2,000 people were estimated to have died.


This arrangement is only part of what is desired by Muslims, but given the nature of the state, there is a need for compromise

Muslim mechanic Umar Ibrahim
The situation in the mainly-Muslim city is reported to be tense and no formal ceremonies are being held, which correspondents say is a sign of how nervous the state authorities are.

The political capital of mainly Muslim northern Nigeria has for years been divided along religious lines, but residents say those divisions have hardened considerably since the violence.

Compromise

Islamic punishments are not being incorporated into the criminal code in Kaduna, as has happened in several other northern Nigerian states - but local communities are being given more power, through new customary and sharia courts, which will deal with civil matters.


The extension could also mean drinking alcohol is outlawed in some areas, but Christians should be exempt from this ban.

Mukhtar Sirajo, an adviser to Kaduna State Governor Ahmed Makarfi, told AFP news agency the system was designed to keep everyone in Kaduna happy.

"Given the complex nature of our state and the unfortunate events we experienced last year, we will not implement the sharia as is done in other states," he said.

Reaction

More than 70 sharia courts will be opened across the state and a similar number of customary courts will also be set up.

Soldier in destroyed house
Plans to introduce Sharia last year led to horrific violence in Kaduna
The Anglican Archbishop of Kaduna, Benjamin Achigili, told AFP that Christians would object to Islamic law if it affected them but would accept it if were only to affect Muslims.

"Christians have a stake in the Sharia issue as long as it affects their lives. But if the Sharia is exclusively for Muslims we have no worries about it. Let it be," he said. Muslim mechanic Umar Ibrahim, whose brother died in the violence in February last year, said the arrangement was only partly what Muslims wanted but was acceptable given the violence in the state.

Kaduna is one of more than a dozen states in predominantly Islamic northern Nigeria which have adopted Sharia law in the past two years.

See also:

09 Sep 01 | Africa
Dozens killed in Nigeria violence
15 Oct 01 | Africa
Analysis: Nigeria's Sharia split
21 Jun 00 | Africa
The many faces of Sharia
19 Oct 01 | Africa
Nigerian appeals Sharia sentence
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories