No Sharia Law Bill Before Us, House Of Representatives Say

House of Representatives in Nigeria kick against removal of JegaThe House of Representatives in Nigeria says there is no Sharia Law bill before it.

The House was responding to concerns that had been raised about a bill before the lawmakers which proposes to increase the powers of jurisdiction of Sharia Law in Nigeria.

However, the spokesman for the House, Honourable Abdulrasak Namdas, told reporters in Abuja on Thursday that there was a proposed amendment to the constitution that is yet to be sent back to the house.

He also said that it was wrong to say a Sharia bill had passed second reading in the House.

According to the Sharia law, a Sharia Court of Appeal manned by competent Kadis of Islamic law has a limited jurisdiction to Islamic personal status and leave a wider jurisdiction in other matters of Islamic law in the hands of a High Court Judge who may not at all be lettered in Islamic law.

Sharia Court Sentences Nine Persons To Death For Blasphemy In Kano

ShariaAn Upper Sharia Court in Kano State has sentenced nine persons including one Sheikh Abdul Nyas to death over blasphemous and inciting statements on the prophet of Islam.

Spokesperson of the Kano Sharia Courts, Ibrahim Baba-Jibo, made this known while addressing a news conference attended by Channels TV Correspondent, Idris Jibrin.

Early last month, a group of Tijjaniyya sect members, during Maulud in Kano, blasphemed the prophet of Islam and the action was followed by widespread protest in the state.

After series of hearing, the Kano State Upper Sharia Court, under Section 110 and Section 382B of the Sharia Penal Code 2000, the accused persons were sentenced to death.

However, four other persons namely Alkassim Abubakar, Yahaya Abubakar, Isa Abubakar and Abdullahi Abubakar were discharged and acquitted as they were not found wanting by the court.

It is therefore expected that the nine people will be executed once the Kano State Governor appends his signature on their execution form.

Natl. Conference Modalities: There Should Not Be ‘No Go Areas’ – Adegbulu

A Security Analyst and Associate Professor at the Redeemers University, Dr. Femi Adegbulu has said that the forthcoming Nigerian National Conference should be a platform to discuss how the country would live together if at all it is to be together.

He made this assertion while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, where he criticized the designation of the unity of Nigeria as a topic that should not be the discussed at the conference.

He explained that the unity of Nigeria was dependent on issues like the problems of Boko Haram, religion and the quota system which were rooted in culture and must be addressed at the conference. He provided his views on some of the issues.

While noting that Sharia law, as particularly practised in some parts of the country, has been politicised, he said that Nigeria’s security challenges had also worsened, with Boko Haram having grown into three categories; namely, religious, political and criminal. He pointed out that how to identify them was a responsibility of government.

He said: “We need a deterrent mechanism whereby culprits are well dealt with for the people to see”. He also berated the legal system in Nigeria and the slow judicial process, insisting that it affects the fight against terrorism.

Speaking further on the issues of Boko Haram, Adegbulu blamed the government for being part of the issues and berated the governments’ religious inclinations. He said that government should not have a hand in religion. “Why should government be sponsoring people to Hajj and Jerusalem? Religion is personal”, he queried.

While he suggested tactical interventions, he also admitted that there was no way the country could grant all the demands of the sect. “There is also a place for counter terrorism to ensure that they are wiped out,” he stressed.

Dr Adegbulu also said that the National Conference must also acknowledge that “one of the things to be discussed is true federalism”, which according to him is the same as resource control, which is a system that empowers regions to control their resources with government paying tax based on the resources of those regions.

“The system whereby states begin to go cap in hand to get allocation from government is an anomaly”, he said.

He also protested that a system whereby someone who scores 60% and is not admissible sees someone else with 12% having access to the commonwealth must not continue and must also be discussed at the conference.

Although Government representatives have said at different occasions that such irregularity would not be allowed anymore in the country, Adegbulu said that most of the policies must be seen implemented before he would believe any promises made by the government, because government officials would always tell Nigerians “we are working on it”.

Adegbulu insisted that the idea of having the unity of Nigeria as a ‘no-go area’ during the National Conference was not acceptable.

He asked: “Are we really united?” He noted that Americans do not ask questions about their citizens’ state of origin; because being an American was enough to enjoy privileges they are entitled to.

The Associate Professor admitted that the fear of the Nigerian government was a possible breakup, pointing out that the panacea for breaking up is to discuss it. “We must inaugurate a system of equity where everyone feels a sense of belonging.”

He stated that Nigeria cannot expect the best of patriotism from a Nigerian who having scored good marks still feels cheated while seeking admission to a university, all in the name of catchment area.

Be Cautious of Boko Haram’s Ceasefire Announcement, Army Chief Warns FG

The Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sahaad has asked the Federal Government to treat the ceasefire declared by a faction of the Boko Haram Islamic sect with caution.

Admiral Sahaad, who spoke with reporters after a meeting in Abuja, also called on government to strengthen its security operations all over the country to avert further attacks by the group.

According to him, defence officials are excited on the declaration of ceasefire by members of the sect but, will not rest on its oars in ensuring the security of lives and properties in Nigeria.

Other security officials in the country also commended members of the group for the ceasefire.

A faction of the Boko Haram sect had on Monday declared ceasefire after allegedly holding talks with “officials of Borno State Government and leaders of thought from the state”.

“I am announcing this ceasefire with the approval and consent of the leader Sheikh Abubakar Shekau. We, therefore, call on all our members to stop all acts of violent immediately and await further directives,” said Sheikh Abdul Aziz, who introduced himself as the second in command to Mr Shekau.

He added that members of the Boko Haram should relate the ceasefire message to those “who are not aware or informed of today’s (Monday) development.”

Aziz explained: “The Boko Haram ceasefire is nationwide and commences immediately.”

He, however, denied the group’s involvement in the recent attacks and killings in Borno and other parts of the North, attributing the violence to the activities of armed robbers and other criminals that allegedly operate under the guise of Boko Haram.

While speaking on the violence that took over Maiduguri recently, Aziz distanced the group from such acts, pointing out that such attacks were politically-motivated by those seeking power in the Borno Emirate Council, government or otherwise, but not in line with the ideology of the group who are fighting for the cause of Allah.

He also urged the Joint Task Force (JTF) and other security agents to respond positively to the ceasefire.

He said: “Talks with government officials on how to surrender our arms and weapons has also commenced,” urging members of the sect to cooperate fully, by surrendering their arms and weapons to security agents.

The group had on 1 November 2012 said they were ready to ceasefire and listed some conditions. The conditions included the arrest and prosecution of a former governor of Borno State, and also that the dialogue must take place in Saudi Arabia.

They had also demanded that all their members, who were arrested and under the custody of security agencies be released immediately, just as their wives and children who were displaced following the crises should be rehabilitated into the society to allow room for dialogue with the Federal Government.

Nigerian mediators who were to represent the group in the dialogue with the Federal Government had included Shettima Ali Monguno, Muhammadu Buhari, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Ambassador Gaji Galtimari and Barrister Aisha Wakil and her husband.

Boko Haram, which in Hausa, loosely translates to mean “Western education is sinful”, said they were fighting to impose Islamic law on Nigeria.
At least 2,800 people have died in the North and Abuja since the group unleashed violence in 2009. Its most lethal attack killed at least 186 people in Kano in January 2012 in co-ordinated bombings and shootings.

The group has repeatedly struck churches during services, at Christmas and Easter killing scores of people. A bomb attack on St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla on Abuja’s outskirts during a packed Christmas Mass in 2011 killed at least 37 people.

Last Easter Sunday, a bombing at a church compound in northern Kaduna during a service killed at least 36 people.

In other major attacks, gunmen killed at least 19 people in two attacks on Christian worshippers in the Nigerian city of Kano and in the northeastern town of Maiduguri on April 29, 2012.

In June, three gunmen sprayed bullets at the congregation of a church in Biu Town, in northeastern Borno State. In Jos, a Boko Haram suicide bomber drove a car to the entrance of the Christ Chosen Church and blew it up.

In the same month, a bomb attack in a church in Kaduna triggered a week of tit-for-tat violence that killed at least 90 people.

In October a suicide bomber drove a sport utility vehicle full of explosives into a Catholic church during morning mass, killing eight and wounding more than 100. The most recent attack on a church a few weeks ago was when suicide bombers struck the St. Andrew Military Protestant Church at the Jaji barracks in Kaduna State killing 11 people and wounding 30.

Jonathan warns of military intervention in Mali if talks with rebels fail

President Goodluck Jonathan has warned that military intervention in northern Mali will be inevitable if talks with Islamist group controlling the region, fails.

President Jonathan made this known during his visit to Senegal. He however stated that a West African force would only be deployed, with the approval of the United Nations.

ECOWAS would send a force to the area if a peace deal is not reached with the Islamist fighters, stated the president, adding that “diplomacy and negotiation is first.”

“ECOWAS will definitely intervene militarily, but … first and foremost we are negotiating,” he said after talks with Senegalese President Mr Macky Sall.

“We must stabilise the government … I believe through negotiation we will be able to resolve the crisis, we don’t necessarily need military intervention … but if that fails we will have no option.”

“Military intervention is extreme and when negotiations fail, at that time you can talk about military intervention” he said.

Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Djibrille Bas held talks with the militants last month as part of bloc’s diplomatic effort to end the conflict.

ECOWAS, as also asked the UN Security Council to endorse its plan to send 3,000 troops to Mali.

However, it refused, saying it needed more clarity on the West African body’s military objectives and how it intended to achieve them.

Islamist groups and Tuareg rebels took control of large swathes of northern Mali after President Amadou Toumani Toure was overthrown in a coup in March.

But the rebel alliance has since ruptured, with Islamist fighters chasing Tuareg rebels out of several northern towns and imposing Sharia law.

The Islamists have destroyed ancient shrines in the historical city of Timbuktu, claiming they violated Sharia law and promoted idolatry among Muslims.

The UN warned that the destruction of the shrines could amount to war crimes and the International Criminal Court has launched a preliminary inquiry into alleged atrocities.

The Islamists have also stoned to death an unwed couple and amputated the hand of an alleged thief.

Alleged atrocities committed in the rebel-held north are being investigated by international prosecutors.

A new unity government was formed in Mali’s capital, Bamako, at the weekend, promising to spearhead initiatives to end the instability in the north.

Mali has so far rejected a full-scale foreign intervention but said its army, once re-equipped, would need the support of two or three battalions.

Morocco women protest rape-marriage law after teen girl commits suicide

Women in Morocco took to the streets in the capital city of Rabat, demanding a change in the North African country’s rape laws after a 16-year-old girl, ordered by a judge to marry her rapist and preserve her honour, committed suicide.

Teen-aged Amina Filali, was distraught after a Sharia judge in Tangiers forced her to marry her rapist, a man 10 years her senior. Amina had died suddenly last week in her home town of Larache, near Tangiers. Her father, Lahcen Filali, said Amina had been with her new husband when she “fell into street (and) started vomiting.”

By the time an ambulance arrived, the father said, “It was already too late.” The girl died hours later at a Larache hospital on 10 March.

Amina had committed suicide by ingesting rat poison after her rapist and husband beat her severely, her father, Lahcen, told local newspapers.

News of her shocking death sparked nationwide protests as Moroccan women, and indeed women all over the world, are demanding an end to the archaic law that allows a rapist to avoid prosecution b agreeing to marry his victim if she is a minor.

Hundreds of protesters, holding up signs that said “The law has killed Amina”, gathered outside Morocco’s parliament on Saturday, demanding that the law be repealed.

While police officials claim to be investigating further into the case, government spokesman, Mustapha El Khalfi said on Thursday that Amina had been “raped twice, the last when she was married,” referring to the fact that she was forced to wed her attacker.

Lahcen said he had not been in support of the union, but claimed his wife, family and the court of Larache had insisted the forced nuptials take place in order to preserve her “honour”.

In rural areas like Larache, it is considered dishonourable for a woman to lose her virginity before marriage, and the dishonour is hers and her family’s even if she is raped.

“The judge decided he must marry her, and I had no opportunity to refuse the judge’s decision,” the father said. “I wanted to send (the eventual husband) to prison, and have my daughter stay with me until she became (an adult).”

Rape is punishable by up to 10 years in jail in Morocco, more if the victim is a minor, pregnant or disabled.

According to Amina’s father, his daughter’s rapist was never charged due to the fact that his family had signed an agreement to the marriage in court.

“Through this law, the rape becomes legitimate,” said Fouzia Assouli, president of the Moroccan advocacy group the Federation of the Democratic League for Women’s Rights.

Women’s rights groups have launched an online campaign demanding that the law, article 475, be repealed. A facebook page, titled “We are all Amina Filali” has been set up. Campaigners are calling for the arrest of both rapist and judge.

Assouli says the removal of article 475 would be a step in the right direction toward changing archaic views about sex and marriage.