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4 The Evolution of the Independent sharīʿa Panel in Osun State, South-West Nigeria

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Chapter Summary

Osun State is located in the tropical rain forest in the South-West of Nigeria and covers an estimated area of 8,602 square kilometres. The State, when it was created, had twenty-two Local Government Areas (LGAs). However, with the creation of additional Local Government Areas in 19915 and 1997, the State now has thirty Local Government Areas. Some parts of the South-West of Nigeria applied sharīʿa as a legal system before the arrival of the British colonialists in 1861 when Lagos was annexed as a British colony. There were some principal Yoruba towns where sharīʿa was established and applied in the domains of their obas during the pre-colonial era. The sharīʿa legal system had a set-back with the introduction of the colonial court system. The Native Council Ordinance of 1901 gave legal support to native courts which were required to administer justice according to native law and customs.

Keywords: British colonialists; colonial court system; Local Government Areas (LGAs); Native Council Ordinance; Osun State; sharīʿa legal system; South-West Nigeria



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