Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)

For struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

Committee for a Workers' International logo

Committee for a Workers' International

 

Home
Join DSM
Contact DSM
About us
Our Manifesto
Statements

Socialist Democracy

Newspaper of the DSM


Campaigns
NCP
Trade Unions
Students
Women
International

Downloads

email

26th September 2003

PRESS STATEMENT
AMINA LAWAL'S ACQUITTAL:

A WELCOME DEVELOPMENT; BUT REPEAL SHARIA CRIMINAL CODE AND ALL DEHUMANISING LAWS

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) welcomes the decision of the Sharia Appeal Court in Katsina State to quash the death sentence, by stoning, earlier passed by a lower sharia court on Mrs. Amina Lawal for allegedly committing adultery.

This reversal of the death sentence and subsequent acquittal of Mrs. Lawal is a product of the international campaign to secure her freedom. We rejoice with Amina, her daughter and family, and congratulate human rights and labour activists both within and outside Nigeria who participated in the campaign.

However, the DSM observes that Amina's acquittal was based by the Sharia appeal court on what it described as procedural errors at the lower court and that the case of adultery against her has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. In other words, the court decision to free Amina was based on mere technical ground and not on the basis of any principle.

Thus, while celebrating the acquittal of Lawal, the truth is that the Sharia criminal code with its extremely harsh and inhuman punishments such as amputation, stoning, flogging, etc, for criminal offences is still in place. Many ordinary working people, women and youth would still fall victims of these degrading laws.

Since the commencement of the code, it is only the common men and women who have been convicted and dehumanised for committing mostly petty offences and, at times, for what does not constitute crime at all. In contrast, members of the capitalist elite are not prosecuted for plundering of public treasury, inciting of ethnic and religious violence, election rigging, to cite just a few of their monumental crimes against the society.

We therefore call for the complete abrogation of the Sharia criminal code and an end to capital punishment.

To stem the incessant wave of religious tension, conflicts and violence in the country, we also demand the separation of the state from religion and an end to state support for religious activities, including building of churches and mosques and state sponsorship of pilgrimages.

In order to have a lasting solution to the endemic economic, social and political crises plaguing the country, the DSM calls on the leaderships of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the National Conscience Party (NCP) and labour and youth activists to commence as a matter of urgency the building of an independent working people's political party that will seek to transform society on the basis of common ownership of the commanding heights of the economy under democratic control and management of the working people, the use of society's resources to provide for the real needs of the mass of the people instead of luxuries for a small super-rich minority, and respect for the democratic rights of citizens without discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religion or gender.

SEGUN SANGO

General Secretary