Since 2000, twelve states in northern Nigeria have added criminal law to the jurisdiction of Sharia (Islamic law) courts. Sharia has been in force for many years in northern Nigeria, where the majority of the population is Muslim. However, the manner in which Sharia has been applied to criminal law in Nigeria so far has raised a number of serious human rights concerns.It has also created much controversy in a country where religious divisions run deep, and where the federal constitution specifies that there is no state religion.
Sharia is seen by many Muslims as an entire system of guidelines and rules which encompass criminal law, personal status law, and many other aspects of religious, cultural, and social life. The concern now is about human rights violations resulting from the implementation of the Sharia.