Islamic Sharia law will come into effect on Friday in northern Kaduna State despite opposition by Christians there, news organisations reported on Monday. State Governor Ahmed Makarfi, who made the announcement in a state-wide broadcast on Friday, said that the Islamic legal code would only be applicable in areas where there was a Muslim majority, BBC reported.
Kaduna, which is almost equally divided between Christians and Muslims, was last year the scene of bloody clashes between the two groups over the code's proposed introduction. Hundreds of people were killed and homes, businesses, churches and mosques destroyed during the violence. Makarfi's statement is viewed as an attempt to appease both groups but, according to the state branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), they are not satisfyied with the apparent concession. "We have made it quite clear from the beginning. I don't know how it is going to work," PANA reported CAN Secretary Saidu Dogo as saying. Meanwhile the secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, speaking on Radio Nigeria from Kaduna on Saturday, urged Christians in Nigeria to embrace the Sharia legal system "to check the prevailing moral decadence in society and promote peaceful coexistence among Christians and Muslims.
Several other states in northern Nigeria have already launched Sharia whose strict codes include hand amputations for stealing and death by stoning for adultery.