P.M. News (Lagos)

29 October 2003

Nigeria: Attorney-General Blames Police for Sharia Failure

Maiduguri — The Borno State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Mohammed Monguno, has blamed the police command for the failure of Sharia introduced in the state in 2001.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri, the commissioner also accused the previous administration of Alhaji Mala Kachallah for introducing the law to score cheap political goals.

He said that the previous administration lacked the political will to ensure full implementation of the Islamic law because the people were not favourably disposed to it.

Monguno said although the present administration had put in place all that was required to make the law a reality, the police, constitutionally empowered to enforce the law, had refused to live up to its responsibility.

"Several representations have been made to the police to, at least, enforce those aspects of Sharia that are being glaringly violated in the society such as prostitution and alcoholism," he said. "It was in this regard that I paid a visit to the Commissioner of Police during which I urged him to close down all brothels and beer parlours but these places have continued to flourish, even in the state capital." The commissioner explained, however, that in spite of the odds, the state government was prepared to ensure a successful implementation of the law.

He said a committee had been set up to re-examine the situation with a view to ensure the gradual implementation of the legal code.

Beer parlous and brothels were banned earlier, but popular "joints" in the state capital have resumed business.

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