A committee set up by the government of Gombe state in northern Nigeria to consider the implications of shari'a, the controversial Islamic legal code, reported that the people do not want Islamic law as proposed by the government.

Speaking at the presentation of the Shari'a Implementation Committee's report on November 15, Committee Chairman Mela Audu Nunghe said over 98 percent of the respondents in the state are opposed to the introduction of shari'a because of its divisiveness.

Nunghe, an attorney, said the recommendations of his committee, which included both Muslims and Christians, took into consideration the need to sustain peaceful co-existence among the diverse ethnic and religious groups in the state.

"While most respondents recognize and accept the right of individuals and groups to practice and propagate their religion as provided for under Section 38 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria," Nunghe said, "virtually all detest the use of state apparatus, machinery, resources, and associated package of spiritual, psychological, economic and political discriminations to project the interest of Islam over that of other faiths, especially Christianity."

The Gombe state government's recent decision to introduce shari'a led to violent clashes between Christians and Muslims and the destruction of property worth millions of dollars. Twenty-five people were killed in Bambam.

The violence apparently forced Governor Alhaji Abubakar Habiu Hashidu to set up the committee to further consider the implications of implementing Islamic law.

After receiving the committee's report and recommendations, Hashidu, a Muslim, said, "The almighty Allah will guide us to do the right thing so that each one of us in this young state will continue to live with each other in the way and manner our great grandfathers lived together."

Hashidu said his government would scrutinize the report to ensure that "nobody is cheated or discriminated against."

Related Elsewhere

To read direct news from Nigeria, visit Africa Newswire. For more news about shari'a and Nigeria, see the BBC, AllAfrica, and Yahoo's full coverage.

About fifteen people were killed in Gombe in September when Christian youths protested shari'a.

Previous Christianity Today stories about Nigeria include:

Nigerian Muslims and Christians Form a Religious Council | Gombe, a north Nigerian state, creates a council of faiths to deal with fears over Islamic law. (Sept. 19, 2000)
Churches Challenge Islamic Law | Christians plan to take shari'a to court. (Aug. 15, 2000)
Moving Toward War? | Deadly riots lead to suspension of Islamic law. (April 24, 2000)
Is Nigeria Moving Toward War? | Deadly riots lead to suspension of Islamic law. (March 31, 2000)
Islamic Law Raises Tensions | (January 24, 2000)
Nigeria's Churches Welcome Decision to Return Former Mission Schools | Christian Association of Nigeria hopes schools will become 'centers of excellence' (Dec. 21, 1999)
Violence Mars Bonnke's Revival | Sixteen Nigerians die during opening rally. (Dec. 18, 1999)
Nigeria's Churches Considering Legal Challenge to Islamic Laws | Third state moving toward implementing Koranic laws. (Dec. 17, 1999)
Nigeria On the Brink of Religious War | Northern states adopt Islamic law, increasing Christian-Muslim tensions. (Dec. 16, 1999)
Can Christianity and Islam Coexist and Prosper? | Is peace with Islam possible? (Oct. 25, 1999)
Nigeria's Christian President Calls for 'Moral Rearmament' | (April 26, 1999)