Full List of States that Use Sharia Law in Nigeria

Sharia law, derived from Islamic principles and jurisprudence, has been a significant aspect of legal systems in various regions globally. In Nigeria, a country with a diverse cultural and religious landscape, Sharia law holds particular significance in certain states. Understanding its implementation across Nigerian states is crucial for grasping the complexities of the nation’s legal framework.

Here we delve into the full list of states that practice Sharia law in Nigeria, exploring its historical roots, implications, and contemporary significance:

Historical Background:

The introduction of Sharia law in Nigeria dates back to the pre-colonial era when Islamic jurisprudence governed many Northern Nigerian societies. However, the formal integration of Sharia law into the legal system began in the early 2000s, primarily driven by the resurgence of Islamic identity and calls for greater adherence to Islamic principles.

List of States Implementing Sharia Law:

As of the latest information available, several states in Nigeria have adopted Sharia law to varying degrees. These states include:

  1. Zamfara State
  2. Kano State
  3. Sokoto State
  4. Katsina State
  5. Bauchi State
  6. Borno State
  7. Jigawa State
  8. Kebbi State
  9. Niger State
  10. Yobe State
  11. Kaduna State (Partial implementation)
  12. Gombe State (Partial implementation)

It is important to note that while Sharia law is implemented in these states, the extent of its application may vary. Some states enforce Sharia law primarily in personal matters such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance, while others extend its application to criminal law, including punishments like amputation and stoning for certain offenses.

Implications and Controversies:

The implementation of Sharia law in Nigeria has sparked considerable debate and controversy, both domestically and internationally. Critics argue that it undermines the secular nature of the Nigerian state and violates the rights of non-Muslim citizens, particularly in areas where Sharia law is applied to criminal offenses. Human rights organizations have raised concerns about the compatibility of certain punishments prescribed by Sharia law with international human rights standards.

However, proponents of Sharia law argue that its implementation is a constitutional right guaranteed to states under the Nigerian legal system. They view Sharia law as an essential aspect of religious freedom and identity for Muslim-majority states in Northern Nigeria. Additionally, supporters contend that Sharia law serves as a means of promoting social justice and morality within their communities.

Challenges and Adaptations:

The implementation of Sharia law in Nigeria has not been without challenges. One significant challenge is the tension between the Sharia courts and the secular legal system, particularly in cases where individuals are subject to conflicting judgments from both systems. Additionally, the perception of Sharia law as being discriminatory or biased against certain groups has fueled inter-communal tensions in some regions.

To address these challenges, some states have established mechanisms for harmonizing Sharia law with the secular legal system. This includes the creation of Sharia court systems with limited jurisdiction, as well as efforts to ensure that the rights of all citizens are protected regardless of religious affiliation.


The implementation of Sharia law in Nigeria reflects the complex interplay between religion, culture, and law in a diverse and multi-faith society. While some states have embraced Sharia law as a fundamental aspect of their legal system, others have opted for a more nuanced approach that seeks to balance religious principles with constitutional rights and obligations.

As Nigeria continues to navigate the challenges of governance and religious diversity, the issue of Sharia law implementation remains a topic of ongoing debate and discussion. Ultimately, the ability to uphold the principles of justice, equality, and religious freedom for all citizens will be critical in shaping the future trajectory of Nigeria’s legal landscape.

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