Ahmed Yerima: Why I introduced Sharia law in Zamfara

Ahmed Yerima, former governor of Zamfara, says he introduced Sharia law in the state in line with the constitution on the freedom of religion.

Yerima said this on Friday while speaking with journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

TheCable had earlier reported how Yerima said he had received go-ahead from Buhari to join the race for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The former Zamfara governor had, in October 1999, introduced Sharia law in the state, after which several other states in the north followed suit.


Speaking on perceptions of him as a religious extremist, Yerima said he will fight the problem of ignorance and also ensure that whatever he does is in line with the constitution. 

“On the issue of Sharia, I’m a Muslim and I say everywhere I go, that I am a Muslim and I want to die as a Muslim. Like I said, I’m going to fight the problem of ignorance and this is one of them,” he said.

“People don’t know; a lot of people don’t know that the constitution of Nigeria, section 38, has provided for freedom of religion, including the freedom to change your religion if you want to, to practise alone, or in community with others, in private or in public.


“So, as governor of the state, I followed the constitutional provision, prepared a law, sent it to the state assembly and they passed it into law and I implemented what the constitution of Nigeria has given me the powers to do, even in Zamfara state.

“I have never, never required or asked or forced any Christian to follow Islamic faith because I would have done an unconstitutional act.

“So, if I’m elected, by the grace of God, I’m going to be elected under the constitution and I’m going to take an oath to protect and defend the constitution of Nigeria. I will never do anything unconstitutional.”

Yerima also said if he is elected as president, he will focus on fighting insecurity and poverty.


“I have three points as well — to fight insecurity, fight poverty and ignorance. Some people think that if you say ignorance, you’re talking of only western education. No. Illiteracy is different from ignorance. There are people who are professors, who are well educated in western terms, but they’re ignorant of their society,” he said.

“That is why you see people talking about rotational presidency as if it is an allocation of power. The constitution of Nigeria is very clear — every Nigerian is qualified to contest so long as he reaches the age prescribed for different offices.

“So, every Nigerian is qualified so long as he follows the constitutional provisions of this country to contest for any office and aspire to any office of this country.”

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