Members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly have refuted claims by the Speaker, Hon. Yusuf Zailani, that they rejected an Executive Bill to scrap both Sharia and Customary courts in the state.
Zailani had claimed, during a valedictory session by the House last week, that the bill was brought to the House by the former Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the House rejected it.
According to him, such a bill was capable of causing an unimaginable crisis in the state and, by extension, the entire country.
He stated that rejecting the bill had caused friction between him and the immediate-past governor to the extent that he was witch-hunted.
The Speaker said, “If the bill to scrap Sharia and customary courts had sailed through the House, only God knows the unimaginable crisis that would have followed.”
In reaction to the Speaker’s claim, however, a member of the 9th Assembly, Hon. Yusuf Salihu, representing Kawo Constituency, on behalf of other members, described as “laughable” the Speaker’s allegation that he was being witch-hunted over a proposed bill to scrap the Sharia and customary courts by the former governor.
According to The PUNCH, Salihu, flanked by a member-elect, Hon. Shehu Yunusa, representing Kubau Constituency, while addressing a press conference in Kaduna, the state capital, on Monday, said there was no executive bill to scrap the two courts in the last Assembly.
He noted that the Speaker just came up with the allegation to tarnish the good image of El-Rufai.
When asked why it took so long to react, Salihu said members had to thoroughly investigate to ensure there was nothing of the sort, saying, “It was never registered and we assumed there was nothing of such.”
He said, “Most of you may be aware of the laughable allegation raised by the outgoing Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Hon. Ibrahim Zailani, during the valedictory session of the Assembly, wherein he alleged that he is being witch-hunted for rejecting an Executive Bill which was sponsored by the then Mallam Nasir el-Rufai-led administration, wherein he sought to scrap Shariah and customary courts and convert them to Area Courts.
“We would like to state that the allegations made by the Honourable Speaker are false and baseless. There is no executive bill sponsored by the Kaduna State Government aimed at scrapping Sharia and customary courts in the state, as alleged by the Honourable Speaker. We only heard about it, like every other resident of Kaduna State, during the valedictory session.
“Furthermore, it is disheartening that the Speaker of Kaduna State House of Assembly would make such false allegations just to whip public sentiment, not minding the long-run implications of his action on the institution.
“We urge the Honourable Speaker to desist from spreading misinformation and to refrain from making unsubstantiated claims, especially regarding sensitive matters such as the administration of justice in our state.”