No Going Back On Sharia, Says Governor Yerima

Governor Ahmed Sani Yerima of Zamfara State who first introduced the Sharia legal code as supreme to the 1999 Constitution has described the Federal Government's position on the is as politically motivated and declares that there is no going back on the Islamic legal system.

"As far as Zamfara State is concerned, sharia is a foregone conclusion, there is no question of dialogue any more, we have passed the stage of dialogue. We have adopted sharia and sharia has come to stay with or without me" He told THISDAY in an interview

His declaration came as a reaction to last week's statement of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN), that punishment under the Sharia legal code was discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional.

Governor Sani insisted that the issue of changing or modifying the sharia legal code does not arise as no muslim would allow it to be modified or tampered with. He further argued that the the dynamic position of the Federal Government on the issue is politically motivated as they constantly change it. "The Federal Government would today say sharia constitutional and tomorrow they would say it is unconstitutional. So maybe they are doing it to satisfy the wishes of the Western World, I'm sure they are not talking out of conviction" he said.

Raising more points to consolidate his argument, Sani said that the the Federal Government cannot insist that the sharia states modify the law because the country is practising a federal system. "You know we operating a federal system of government, I'm not under the minister of justice, I'm not even under anybody. The state government has its own responsibilities in the constitution, and the federal government has its own. So the Federal Government cannot direct the state government to do anything and the minister cannot do so, he is only stating his opinion"

Sani admitted he has been under tremendous pressure to jettison the Islamic code but he said such a change of heart does not arise as he is under a personal conviction to introduce the system, He further said that rather than drop sharia, he would prefer to leave office so as to have the freedom to practice his religion. Nevertheless, he said the people of Zamfara state are wholly with him and therefore there is no reason to modify the systems.