State To Implement Sharia March 31

The ranks of Nigeria's northern states adopting the controversial Sharia have swollen with the announcement that Bauchi will begin implementing the Islamic law from 31 March.

The announcement came with the signing into law of the Sharia Bill Tuesday by the state governor, Ahmadu Adamu Muazu, and the establishment of a 10-member task force to co-ordinate the implementation.

"I am happy today that the Bill on Sharia legal system has been signed by me and for all intents and purposes, Bauchi State has joined the league of states in the federation in which the Sharia legal system and law are effectively enforced," Muazu said.

Zamfara blazed the trail in introducing the law January 2001, while other predominantly Muslim states like Sokoto, Niger, Kebbi, Yobe, Borno and Katsina followed suit.

An attempt to introduce the law in Kaduna, almost equally divided between Christians and Muslims, led to the worst violence so far witnessed since the advent of democracy in the country about two years ago.

Hundreds of lives were lost and properties worth millions of naira were damaged during the riots.

Christians, residing mostly in the southern part of the country, are opposed to the introduction of the law, while Muslims say it is a basic tenet of their faith.