Opening of One-Day Anniversary Seminar of Shari’ah in Lagos State, Holding at 1004 Estate Mosque, Victoria Island, Lagos
Speech by His Excellency, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, Kano state Governor
All praise and gratitude be to Allah, the Most High, who has prescribed the Shari’ah as a way of life to all Muslims for all times and in all places. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon our noble Prophet, Muhammad (SAW), who demonstrated the practicability of the Shari’ah during his lifetime.
We are most grateful to Allah (SWT), who has brought us here today to observe a seminar to mark the first anniversary of the introduction of Shari’ah in Lagos State.
In my inaugural address as I assumed the mantle of leadership in Kano State, I made mention that we shall prove to whole world that Shari’ah is the most suitable legal system for mankind.
This declaration, we have observed is being corroborated and vigorously pursued by Muslim communities the world over.
It is gratifying to note that Lagos State is one these true Muslim communities that consider Shari’ah as a divine arrangement for the betterment of mankind. We are very glad to note that Lagos State has not paid a mere lip service to the establishment of Shari’ah to its Muslim populace.
We have understood that over the past one year, a lot of achievements have been recorded here in Lagos towards the proper implementation of Shari’ah.
These include the establishment of the Independent Shari’ah Panels at Abesan Estate Central Mosque and 1004 Estate mosque, Victoria Island.
It is indeed very encouraging to hear that judges and registrars run these courts on a voluntary basis, and that an increasing number of Muslim litigants are patronising the courts on their own.
In Kano State, we have also recorded some modest achievements since our administration took off in May 2003. From the very beginning we stressed that our understanding of the Shari’ah was that it was a comprehensive system covering all the different aspects of life including, but not limited to the judicial, educational and economic systems. Accordingly therefore, we promised the people of Kano State to, amongst other things:
Offer exemplary leadership in line with the dictates of the Shari’ah that will move the entire populace in the right direction.
Run an administration in line with the teachings of Islam and set a leadership style that is modest, untiring in its efforts to serve the public and totally committed to providing an exemplary model of accountability and dedication to duty.
Educate and re-orient the entire population on the all-embracing nature and scope of the Shari’ah as a way of life.
Review all relevant existing laws in the State to conform to the principles of the Shari’ah.
Examine the existing institutions and committees already established for the implementation of the Shari’ah in the State with a view to making them focused, relevant, credible and efficient in the eyes of the public and in the discharge of their functions.
Introduce changes in the curricula of our schools so that our young ones receive education that is compatible with the Shari’ah.
Put in place the necessary structures in the socio-economic environment that would facilitate the implementation of the Shari’ah.
Train and re-train various cadres of staff in different sectors that would be involved in the implementation of the Shari’ah.
It has been a very challenging task. But Alhamdulillah, I am happy to report that we have been able to make progress on several fronts. These include the following:
We have assembled a cream of highly dedicated and committed persons to form our cabinet and core team.
We have begun to address crucial issues concerning the welfare of retired or currently serving civil servants that have long been ignored such as payment of pensions and gratuities to pensioners, restoration of annual salary increments and reverting wrongly downgraded staff to their rightful positions.
We recently established Shari’ah and Zakat Commissions as well as a Hisbah Board after our State Assembly had passed the relevant laws. We have also appointed people of integrity as members of the commissions and board.
We have commenced efforts at revitalizing and improving the Islamic educational system through massive government intervention.
We have completed arrangements to begin a massive societal re-orientation programme aimed at properly educating and re-orienting the entire society.
I must say that while we could claim that we have had a good start, we must be under no illusions of the very arduous and challenging tasks ahead, both in Kano and here in Lagos. This is why this seminar, organised by the Lagos State Chapter of the Supreme Council for Shari’ah in Nigeria (SCSN) is very relevant and timely. I understand that a towering and knowledgeable group of lecturers have been selected to explore the carefully chosen topics during the seminar.
This, by all means, will go a long way in assisting those of us trying to implement the Shari’ah in our areas of jurisdiction, and will educate Muslims and non-Muslims alike on the multi-faceted nature of the Shari’ah.
I would therefore like to use this opportunity to congratulate the organisers of this seminar for a job well done. I pray that Allah, the Most High, would reward them bountifully.
May I also use this occasion to register my appreciation to the Supreme Council for Shari’ah in Nigeria, not only for their highly commendable Shari’ah advocacy efforts, but also for their constant monitoring of the Shari’ah implementation in states that claim to be doing so.
I must admit that the Council has given hope to Muslims in their struggle for the implementation of Shari’ah all over the country. I sincerely hope that their laudable programmes will continue to bear fruit.
Finally, I pray that Allah, the Most High, would afford us an opportunity in this seminar to explore the issues to be discussed in depth, assist us in implementing the Shari’ah all over the country, and reward us bountifully for our efforts.