Nigeria
 National Profiles > Regions > Western Africa > Nigeria
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Sunni

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Protestant (incl. Anglican, Pentecostal) (36.2%)

Features Of Constitution

Is there a constitution?3 yes
Does the constitution state an official religion?3 no [Article 10]
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion?3 yes [Section 38(1)]
Does the constitution protect religious equality/non-discrimination?3 yes [Sections 15(2), 42(1)]

Constitution

Constitution Year3 1999
Last Amended3 2011
Source3 Constitute Project
Translation3 Original was written in English, edited by ARDA staff.
Current as of3 August 14, 2018

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)3

Preamble

...

... as one ... nation under God, ...

...

Article 6. [On judicial powers]

...

(5) This section relates to:-

...

(f) the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;

(g) a Sharia Court of Appeal of a State;

...

Article 10.

The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion.

Article 15.

(1) The motto of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be Unity and Faith ...

(2) ... discrimination on the grounds of ... religion ... shall be prohibited.

(3) For the purpose of promoting national integration, it shall be the duty of the State to:

...

(c) encourage inter-marriage among persons ... of different religious ... association or ties; and

(d) promote or encourage the formation of associations that cut across ... religious ... barriers.

...

Article 17.

...

(3) The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that-

...

(b) ... there are adequate [work] facilities for ... religious ... life;

...

Article 23.

The national ethics shall be ... Religious Tolerance ... [among others]

Article 38.

(1) Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

(2) No person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance if such instruction ceremony or observance relates to a religion other than his own, or religion not approved by his parent or guardian.

(3) No religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any place of education maintained wholly by that community or denomination.

(4) Nothing in this section shall entitle any person to form, take part in the activity or be a member of a secret society.

Article 42.

(1) A citizen of Nigeria of a particular ... religion ... shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:-

(a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other ... religions ... are not made subject; or

(b) be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other ... religions ...

Article 84. [On remuneration of official and protection thereof]

...

(4) The offices aforesaid are the offices of ... Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, ... Grand Kadi and Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of a State, ...

Article 185.

...

(2) The Oath of Allegiance and the oath of office shall be administered by the Chief Judge of the State or Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the State, if any or President of the Customary Court of Appeal of the State, if any, or the person for the time being respectively appointed to exercise the functions of any of those offices in any State.

Article 222.

No association by whatever name called shall function as a [political] party, unless-

...

(b) the membership of the association is open to every citizen of Nigeria irrespective of his ... religion ...

...

(e) the name of the association, its symbol or logo does not contain any ... religious connotation ...

...

Article 237.

...

(2) The Court of Appeal shall consist of-

...

(b) such number of Justices of the Court of Appeal, ... of which not less than three shall be learned in Islamic personal law ..., as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.

Article 244.

(1) An appeal shall lie from decisions of a Sharia Court of Appeal to the Court of Appeal as of right in any civil proceedings before the Sharia Court of Appeal with respect to any question of Islamic personal law which the Sharia Court of Appeal is competent to decide.

(2) Any right of appeal to the Court of Appeal from the decisions of a Sharia Court of Appeal conferred by this section shall be-

(a) exercisable at the instance of a party thereto or, with the leave of the Sharia Court of Appeal or of the Court of Appeal, at the instance of any other person having an interest in the matter; and

(b) exercised in accordance with an Act of the National Assembly and rules of court for the time being in force regulating the powers, practice and procedure of the Court of Appeal.

Article 247.

(1) For the purpose of exercising any jurisdiction conferred upon it by this Constitution or any other law, the Court of Appeal shall be duly constituted if it consists of not less than three Justices of the Court of Appeal and in the case of appeals from-

(a) a Sharia Court of Appeal if it consists of not less than three Justices of the Court of Appeal learned in Islamic personal law; ...

...

Article 260.

(1) There shall be a Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

(2) The Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja shall consist of-

(a) a Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal; and

(b) such number of Kadis of the Sharia Court of Appeal as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.

Article 261.

(1) The appointment of a person to the office of the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, subject to confirmation of such appointment by the Senate.

(2) The appointment of a person to the office of a Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.

(3) A person shall not be qualified to hold office as Grand Kadi or Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja unless-

(a) he is a legal practitioner in Nigeria and has so qualified for a period of not less than ten years and has obtained a recognised qualification in Islamic law from an institution acceptable to the National Judicial Council; or

(b) he has attended and has obtained a recognised qualification in Islamic law from an institution approved by the National Judicial Council and has held the qualification for a period of not less than twelve years; and

(i) he either has considerable experience in the practice of Islamic law, or

(ii) he is a distinguished scholar of Islamic law.

(4) If the office of the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal is vacant or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office, then, until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office or until the person holding the office has resumed those functions, the President shall appoint the most senior Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal to perform those functions.

(5) Except on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, an appointment pursuant to the provisions of subsection (4) of this section shall cease to have effect after the expiration of three months from the date of such appointment and the President shall not re-appoint a person whose appointment has lapsed.

Article 262.

(1) The Sharia Court of Appeal shall, in addition to such other jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly, exercise such appellate and supervisory jurisdiction in civil proceedings involving questions of Islamic personal law.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1) of this section, the Sharia Court of Appeal shall be competent to decide-

(a) any question of Islamic personal law regarding a marriage concluded in accordance with that law, including a question relating to the validity or dissolution of such a marriage or a question that depends on such a marriage and relating to family relationship or the guardianship of an infant;

(b) where all the parties to the proceeding are Muslims, any question of Islamic personal law regarding a marriage, including the validity or dissolution of that marriage, or regarding family relationship, a foundling or the guardianship of an infant;

(c) any question of Islamic personal law regarding a wakf, gift, will or succession where the endower, donor, testator or deceased person is a Muslim;

(d) any question of Islamic personal law regarding an infant, prodigal or person of unsound mind who is a Muslim or the maintenance or the guardianship of a Muslim who is physically or mentally infirm; or

(e) where all the parties to the proceedings, being Muslims, have requested the court that hears the case in the first instance to determine that case in accordance with Islamic personal law, any other question.

Article 263.

For the purpose of exercising any jurisdiction conferred upon it by this Constitution or any Act of the National Assembly, the Sharia Court of Appeal shall be duly constituted if it consists of at least three Kadis of that Court.

Article 264.

Subject to the provisions of any Act of the National Assembly, the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja may make rules for regulating the practice and procedure of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Article 275.

(1) There shall be for any State that requires it a Sharia Court of Appeal for that State.

(2) The Sharia Court of Appeal of the State shall consist of-

(a) a Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal; and

(b) such member of Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of the State.

Article 276.

(1) The appointment of a person to the office of the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of a State shall be made by the Governor of the State on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, subject to confirmation of such appointment by the House of Assembly of the State.

(2) The appointment of a person to the office of a Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of a State shall be made by the Governor of the State on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.

(3) A person shall not be qualified to hold office as a Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of a State unless-

(a) he is a legal practitioner in Nigeria and has been so qualified for a period of not less than ten years and has obtained a recognized qualification in Islamic law from an institution acceptable to the National Judicial Council; or

(b) he has attended and has obtained a recognised qualification in Islamic law from an institution approved by the National Judicial council and has held the qualification for a period of not less than ten years; and

(i) he either has considerable experience in the practice of Islamic law, or

(ii) he is a distinguished scholar of Islamic law.

(4) If the office of the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of a State is vacant or if a person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the function of the office, then until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office, or until the person holding the office has resumed those functions, the Governor of the State shall appoint the most senior Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the State to perform those functions.

(5) Except on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, an appointment pursuant to subsection (4) of this section shall cease to have effect after the expiration of three months from the date of such appointment, and the Governor shall not re-appoint a person whose appointment has lapsed.

Article 277.

(1) The Sharia Court of Appeal of a State shall, in addition to such other jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by the law of the State, exercise such appellate and supervisory jurisdiction in civil proceedings involving questions of Islamic personal Law which the court is competent to decide in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section, the sharia Court of Appeal shall be competent to decide-

(a) any question of Islamic personal Law regarding a marriage concluded in accordance with that Law, including a question relating to the validity or dissolution of such a marriage or a question that depends on such a marriage and relating to family relationship or the guardianship of an infant;

(b) where all the parties to the proceedings are muslims, any question of Islamic personal Law regarding a marriage, including the validity or dissolution of that marriage, or regarding family relationship, a founding or the guarding of an infant;

(c) any question of Islamic personal Law regarding a wakf, gift, will or succession where the endower, donor, testator or deceased person is a muslim;

(d) any question of Islamic personal Law regarding an infant, prodigal or person of unsound mind who is a muslim or the maintenance or the guardianship of a muslim who is physically or mentally infirm; or

(e) where all the parties to the proceedings, being muslims, have requested the court that hears the case in the first instance to determine that case in accordance with Islamic personal law, any other question.

Article 278.

For the purpose of exercising any jurisdiction conferred upon it this Constitution or any law, a sharia Court of Appeal of a State shall be duly constituted if it consists of at least three kadis of that Court.

Article 279.

Subject to provisions of any made by the House of Assembly of the State, the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the state may make rules regulating the practice and procedure of the Sharia Court of Appeal.

Article 288.

(1) ... the President shall have regard to the need to ensure that there are among the holders of such offices persons learned in Islamic personal law ...

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section-

(a) a person shall be deemed to be learned in Islamic personal law if he is a legal practitioner in Nigeria and has been so qualified for a period of not less than fifteen years in the case of a Justice of the Supreme Court or not less than twelve years in the case of a Justice of the Court of Appeal and has in either case obtained a recognized qualification in Islamic law from an institution acceptable to the National Judicial Council; ...

...

Article 289.

No legal practitioner shall be qualified for appointment as ... a Judge of ... a Kadi or a Sharia Court of Appeal ... whilst he is a member of the National Judicial Council or Committee of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja or a State Judicial Service Commission, and he shall remain so disqualified until a period of three years has elapsed since he ceased to be member.

Article 292.

(1) A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances-

(a) in the case of-

(i) ... Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja ..., by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate,

(ii) ... Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal ..., by the Governor acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State, praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct;

...

...

Schedule II. Legislative powers.

Part I. Exclusive legislative list.

...

(61) The formation, annulment and dissolution of marriages other than marriages under Islamic law ... including matrimonial causes relating thereto.

...

Schedule III.

Part I. Federal Executive Bodies.

20. The National Judicial Council shall comprise the following members-

...

(g) one Grand Kadi to be appointed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria from among Grand Kadis of the Sharia Courts of Appeal to serve in rotation for two years;

...

21. The National Judicial Council shall have power to-

(a) recommend to the President from among the list of persons submitted to it by-

...

(ii) ... persons for appointment to the offices of ... the Grand Kadi and Kadis of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja ...

(b) recommend to the President the removal from office of the judicial officers specified in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph and to exercise disciplinary control over such officers;

(c) recommend to the Governors from among the list of persons submitted to it by the State Judicial Service Commissions persons for appointments to the offices of ... the Grand Kadis and Kadis of the Sharia Courts of Appeal of the States ...

(d) recommend to the Governors the removal from the office of the judicial officers in sub-paragraph (c) of this paragraph, and to exercise disciplinary control over such officers;

...

Part II. State’s Executive Bodies (Established by Section 197).

...

C. State Judicial Service Commission.

5. A State Judicial Service Commission shall comprise the following members-

...

(c) the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the State, if any;

...

6. The Commission shall have power to-

(a) advise the National Judicial Council on suitable persons for nomination to the office of-

...

(ii) the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the State, if any,

...

(v) Kadis of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the State, if any, ...

...

(b) subject to the provisions of this Constitution, to recommend to the National Judicial Council the removal from the office of the judicial officers specified in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph; and

(c) to appoint, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over ... the Chief Registrars of the Sharia Court of Appeal ...

Part III. Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Executive Body (Established under Section 304) Judicial Service Committee of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

1. The Judicial Service Committee of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja shall comprise the following members-

...

(c) the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;

...

2. The Committee shall have power-

(a) to recommend to the National Judicial Council suitable persons for nomination for appointment to the office of-

...

(iii) the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,

...

(v) a Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,

...

(b) subject to the provisions of this Constitution, to recommend to the National Judicial Council the removal from office of the judicial officers specified in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph;

(c) to appoint, promote and exercise disciplinary control over ... the Sharia Court of Appeal ...

Schedule VI. Election Tribunals.

A. National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunals.

1. ...

(2) The Chairman who shall be a Judge of a High Court and the two other members shall be appointed from among ... Kadis of a Sharia Court of Appeal ... [among others]

(3) The Chairman and other members shall be appointed by the President of the Court of Appeal in consultation with ... the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the State ... [among others], as the case may be.

B. Governorship Election Tribunal.

2. ...

(2) The Chairman who shall be a Judge of a High Court and the two other members shall be appointed from among ... Kadis of a Sharia Court of Appeal ... [among others]

(3) The Chairman and other members shall be appointed by the President of the Court of Appeal in consultation with ... the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the State ... [among others], as the case may be.


Sources

1.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

2.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports annual estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivisions within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

3.  Text from country constitutions was copied from primary documents obtained online using a variety of sources, including the Constitute Project, World Constitutions Illustrated, and government sources. When the text was in a language other than English, it was translated to English by ARDA staff or with web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to differentiate religious content from non-religious content. Text is current to the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at support@thearda.com if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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