Interaction between Islamic Law and Customary Law of Succession among the Yoruba People

Author: Okunola, Muritala Aremu

Supervisors: Abiodun Adesanya and Timothy Akinola

The issue of legal pluralism has been with Nigeria since the inception of British rule in the country in the middle of the 19th century. The 1979 constitution merely affirms the existence of different systems of courts. It will appear from sections 226, 242 and 247 of the constitution that a great recognition is being given to both the sharia (i.e. Islamic law) and the customary law, but on the whole, the general law which, in the context of thesis, means the received English law and local legislature seems to enjoy a self-imposed supremacy over the two legal cultures. It will be seen that this multiplicity of legal cultures otherwise known as legal pluralism has arisen in Nigeria by a variety of factors: ethnic heterogeneity: Muslim conquest and islamisation; as well as British Colonial rule coupled with Christian evangelisation. It is therefore the first aim of work to find out how the two non-British legal cultures have been operating among the Yoruba people particularly in the sphere of succession. As will be seen later on in the work, it would appear that customary Law enjoys a sort of hegemony over the Islamic Law in the area under review. It is therefore the second major purpose of the present work to make a critical appraisal of both the Islamic and Customary Law Succession among the Yorubas with a view to highlighting the merits and demerits of each of them as well as exploring area of agreement between them and making necessary findings for closer integration and uniformity of the judicial process.