Historical Primary Sources: Report of the Panel of Jurists Appointed by the Northern Region Government to Examine the Legal and Judicial Systems of the Region

On July 28, 1958, the colonial government of the Northern Region of Nigeria appointed a panel of jurists to examine the multiple systems of law existing in the region and to make recommendations for avoiding conflict among those plural systems. The multiple systems of law were English common law, British colonial statutory law, customary law, and Islamic law. The product of the panel’s deliberations was the Penal Code of 1960. This Penal Code abrogated the application of the sharīʿa to criminal mattes and abolished the judicial powers of the Islamic rulers. The Penal Code was based on the Sudan Penal Code of 1899, which had been enacted by the British colonial government. The Sudan Penal Code was itself derived from the Indian Penal Code, 1834.

Read the report of the Panel of Jurists.