The Re-implementation of Sharia in Northern Nigeria and the Education of Muslim Women 1999-2007


Dr. Chikas Danfulani

Research Area:


Northern Nigeria has been most disadvantaged in terms of Muslim female education. This is revealed in a recent study by the National Bureau for Statistics which shows that women in the North have the lowest literacy rate as compared to their male counterparts and women in other regions. This problem has its roots in the colonial period when the north rejected the introduction of ‘Western Education” to the region. Several factors have been responsible for the rejection of the introduction of Western Education and the denial of same to the female populace in the North. These factors range from traditional antagonism against women to fear of conversion to Christianity.

The reimplementation of Shari ‘a in 1999 in twelve states of northern Nigeria attracted a lot of arguments and debates which centered on issues relating to women. However, none of these works focused on the changing status of women’s education in the North. This study therefore examines the state of women’s education since the reintroduction of Shari’a in four states of northern Nigeria, namely Zamfara, Kano, Bauchi and Kaduna. This is to ascertain the level of impact of Shari’a on the education of women as well as the extent to which the Shari ‘a states have made deliberate efforts in promoting women’s education since 1999 and how women are responding to the perceived influence of Shari ‘a on their education.