AN ANALYSIS OF THE USE OF TESTIMONY AS A MEANS OF PROOF IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT


It is natural and common in human society to have between individuals a kind of
dispute that may probably arise. Islamic Law had laid down and provides the
procedures through which such dispute can be judicially determined. Nigerian
Courts are enjoined to apply principles and Rules enunciated by Makili School of
jurisprudence.
Complete application of Islamic law of Evidence in Nigeria has been limited and
most of the texts on Islamic law of Evidence are classical and written in Arabic
language. The rules of Islamic law of Evidence pronounced by the classical books
are yet to be comprehensively codified to guide Nigerian Courts in conducting trials.
Regrettably the poor level of knowledge of Islamic law of Evidence rules among
lawyers and the lower courts judges has led to erroneous appreciation and
application of the rules.
The scope to be covered by this research is: the sources of Islamic law of Evidence,
the cardinal principles governing the use of testimony, the application of testimony
as means of Proof in Establishing both Criminal and Civil Cases. The research
methodology of the thesis is doctrinal and analytical.
In the course of the research, some findings or observations were made. The
research found that there is no clear distinction between substantive and procedural
law in Islamic Law and most of the texts on the subject are written in classical
Arabic which is technical in nature. The jurisdiction of Shari‟a Court of Appeal in
Nigeria is limited to Islamic personal Status. Suggestions were made in the research
as proffered solutions to the enumerated findings/observations.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
DECLARATION……………………………………………………………………………………………………..i
CERTIFICATION……………………………………………………………………………………………….. iii
DEDICATION……………………………………………………………………………………………………….iv
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT……………………………………………………………………………………….v
ABSTRACT………………………………………………………………………………………………………….vii
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ……………………………………………………………………………… viii
GLOSSARY OF TERMS……………………………………………………………………………………….ix
TABLE OF CASES……………………………………………………………………………………………….xv
TABLE OF STATUTES ……………………………………………………………………………………..xvii
TABLE OF CONTENTS ………………………………………………………………………………….. xviii
CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………1
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY………………………………………………………………….1
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM………………………………………………………………………6
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES ……………………………………………………………………………12
1.4 SCOPE OF THE RESEARCH…………………………………………………………………….12
1.5METHODOLOGY …………………………………………………………………………………………..12
1.6 JUSTIFICATION ……………………………………………………………………………………….13
1.7 LITERATURE REVIEW ……………………………………………………………………………13
1.8 ORGANIZATIONAL LAYOUT………………………………………………………………….18
CHAPTER TWO:SOURCES OF ISLAMIC LAW OF EVIDENCE……………………….19
2.1 Introduction:……………………………………………………………………………………………………19
2.1.1 Qur’an…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..20
2.1.2 Sunnah ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….25
2.1.2.1 Classifications of sunnah:…………………………………………………………………………………29
2.1.3 Classical Works of Islamic Jurisprudence …………………………………………………………..31
2.1.4 Contemporary Works of Islamic Jurisprudence …………………………………………………36
2.1.5 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 …………………………………………39
2.1.6 Shari’a Courts’ Rules…………………………………………………………………………………………..40
2.1.7 The Evidence Act…………………………………………………………………………………………………..40
CHAPTER THREE:42THE CARDINAL PRINCIPLES GOVERNING TESTIMONY ……..42
3.1 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………..42
3.2 The Rights need to be proved ………………………………………………………………………45
3.2.1 The right of individual (Haqqal abd or adami) ………………………………………………..46
3.2.2 The right of Allah (Haqqaal llah)………………………………………………………………………46
3.2.3 The Joint rights but rights of Allah Prevails …………………………………………………….46
3.2.4 The Joint Rights but right of Individual Prevails …………………………………………….46
3.3 Legal Authorities for Testimony…………………………………………………………………..46
3.3.1 Qur’anic Verses………………………………………………………………………………………………….47
3.3.2 Prophetic Traditions ………………………………………………………………………………………….47
3.3.3 The Position of Rendering Testimony Considering the Witness ……………………..48
3.3.3.1The First View …………………………………………………………………………………………………….48
3.3.3.2 The Second view…………………………………………………………………………………………………48
3.3.4 The Position of Rendering Testimony Considering the Subject Matter at Hand …………………49
3.3.4.1The First View …………………………………………………………………………………………………….49
3.3.4.2The Second View …………………………………………………………………………………………………50
3.4 Conditions for Validity of Testimony………………………………………………………………..50
3.4.1 Conditions for Conceiving Testimony……………………………………………………………….51
3.4.2 Conditions for Rendering Testimony………………………………………………………………..51
3.4.3 Representation in Testimony (Niyaba alal ashahaada) ……………………………………58
3.4.4 Witnesses of Witnesses……………………………………………………………………………………….59
3.4.5 Expert’s Evidence (Ra’ayul Khabir)…………………………………………………………………59
3.4.6 Testimony under The Evidence Act……………………………………………………………………..60
3.4.6.1Evidence of a Child……………………………………………………………………………………………..61
3.4.6.2 Physical or Mental Challenged Persons ……………………………………………………………62
3.4.6.3Accomplice Witness…………………………………………………………………………………………….63
3.4.6.4Incompetency by Virtue of Office or Occupation ……………………………………………..63
3.5 Quantum of Witnesses (Nisabu Shuhood) …………………………………………………….65
3.5.1The Quantum of Witnesses in different cases……………………………………………………….67
3.5.2Hindrances to Admissibility of Testimony ……………………………………………………………73
3.6Procedure of Giving Testimony…………………………………………………………………………74
3.6.1Under Islamic Law…………………………………………………………………………………………75
3.6.2Under Nigerian Evidence Law ………………………………………………………………………………77
3.7The Legal Position on Conflict between and among Witnesses……………………………81
3.7.1Conflicts of Witnesses in Criminal Offences…………………………………………………………81
3.7.2Conflict of Witnesses in Civil Cases………………………………………………………………………83
3.8When Doubt (Shubha) Casted to Testimony………………………………………………………86
3.8.1Definition of Shubha………………………………………………………………………………………………86
3.9Retraction from Testimony and the Penalty Imposed upon false witness…………….88
3.9.1Retraction from Testimony……………………………………………………………………………………88
3.10Penalty of False Witness………………………………………………………………………………….90
CHAPTER FOUR: Testimony as a Means of Proof in Criminal and Civil Cases …….93
4.1 Criminal Liability ……………………………………………………………………………………………93
4.1.1 Sexual Offences……………………………………………………………………………………………………..94
4.1.1.1Sexual Offences in Nigerian law …………………………………………………………………………94
4.1.1.2Adultery /Fornication (Zina)………………………………………………………………………………98
4.1.2.2.1 Authority of Prohibiting Adultery………………………………………………………………….98
4.1.2.2.2. Conditions for Inflicting the Hadd of Adultery…………………………………………..100
4.1.2.2.3 Means of Proof (Testimony)………………………………………………………………………….102
4.1.2.3 Homosexuality /Lutt/ Sodomy………………………………………………………………………….103
4.1.2.3.1 Authority for Prohibiting Homosexuality…………………………………………………….104
4.1.2.3.2 Means of Proof (Testimony)………………………………………………………………………….104
4.1.2.3.3 Punishment of Homosexuality ………………………………………………………………………105
4.1.2.4 Bestiality (Muwaqa’atu elhayawaan)………………………………………………………………106
4.1.2.4.1 Means of Proof (Testimony)………………………………………………………………………….106
4.1.2.4.2 Punishment of the offence of Bestiality ………………………………………………………..107
4.1.2.5 Lesbianism (Sihaaq) …………………………………………………………………………………………107
4.1.2.5.1 Authority Prohibiting Lesbianism………………………………………………………………..107
4.1.2.5.2 Means of Proof (Testimony)………………………………………………………………………….107
4.1.2.5.3. Punishment……………………………………………………………………………………………………108
4.1.3 Crime against honour (Qadhf or false accusation) ……………………………………………108
4.1.3.1 Definition of Qadhf…………………………………………………………………………………………..108
4.1.3.2 Authority for prohibiting false Accusation (Qadhf) ……………………………………….108
4.1.3.3 Conditions for imposing Hadd of Qadhf …………………………………………………………110
4.1.3.4 Means of Proof (Testimony) …………………………………………………………………………….110
4.1.4 Crimes Against Property (theft sariqa) ……………………………………………………………..111
4.1.4.1Definition of Theft……………………………………………………………………………………………..111
4.1.4.2 Authority for prohibiting theft ………………………………………………………………………..112
4.1.4.3 Conditions of Theft…………………………………………………………………………………………..113
4.1.4.4 Means of Proof (Testimony) …………………………………………………………………………….113
4.1.5 Crimes Against Reasoning (shrub al khamr) …………………………………………………….114
4.1.5.1 Definition of Khamr …………………………………………………………………………………………114
4.1.5.2 Authority for prohibiting khamr (wine)………………………………………………………….114
4.1.5.3 Conditions before the hadd of wine drinking (shrub elkhamr) is inflicted……115
4.1.5.4 Means of Proof (Testimony) …………………………………………………………………………….116
4.1.6 Crime against Religion (Apostacy)……………………………………………………………………..116
4.1.6.1 Definition of Apostacy………………………………………………………………………………………117
4.1.6.2 Acts, Deeds or Words that lead to Apostasy……………………………………………………117
4.1.6.3. Divine Provision on Apostacy …………………………………………………………………………118
4.1.6.4 Conditions…………………………………………………………………………………………………………119
4.1.6.5 Means of Proof (Testimony) …………………………………………………………………………….119
4.1.7 Homicide Offences (Crimes against Human life) ………………………………………………119
4.1.7.1 Types of Homicide Offences …………………………………………………………………………….121
4.1.7.2.1 Intentional Murder………………………………………………………………………………………..122
4.1.7.2.2 The Ingredients need to be proved in Intentional Homicide: ……………………..122
4.1.7.3.1 Manslaughter (Unintentional Homicide) ……………………………………………………..124
4.1.7.3.2 Essential Elements for Committing Manslaughter………………………………………124
4.1.7.4 Means of Proof (Testimony) …………………………………………………………………………….125
4.2.0 Testimony As A Means of Proof in Civil Matters …………………………………………..126
4.2.1 Civil Liability ……………………………………………………………………………………………………126
4.2.2 Sale Contract…………………………………………………………………………………………………….126
4.2.2.1Definition……………………………………………………………………………………………………………126
4.2.2.2Essential Elements for sale contract …………………………………………………………………126
4.2.2.3Means of proof (Testimony) ……………………………………………………………………………..127
4.2.3 Ownership…………………………………………………………………………………………………………128
4.2.3.1Constituted Elements of Ownership…………………………………………………………………129
4.2.3.2Means of Proof…………………………………………………………………………………………………..129
4.2.4 Loan ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….130
4.2.4.1Definition of Loan ……………………………………………………………………………………………..130
4.2.4.2Essential Elements of Loan……………………………………………………………………………….130
4.2.4.3Means of Proof (Testimony) ……………………………………………………………………………..130
4.2.5.0Marriage…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….131
4.2.5.1 Definition of Marriage …………………………………………………………………………………….131
4.2.5.2 Legal Authority of Marriage…………………………………………………………………………..131
4.2.5.3 Elements of Marriage ……………………………………………………………………………………..132
4.2.5.4 Means of proof…………………………………………………………………………………………………132
4.2.6.0 Divorce……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..133
4.2.6.1 Definition of Divorce ……………………………………………………………………………………….133
4.2.6.2 Conditions of Divorce ……………………………………………………………………………………..133
4.2.6.3 Types of Divorce………………………………………………………………………………………………134
4.2.6.4 Means of Proof…………………………………………………………………………………………………135
Chapter five: Summary and Conclusion …………………………………………………………………….136
5.1 Summary……………………………………………………………………………………………………..136
5.2 Findings…………………………………………………………………………………………………………137
5.3 Recommendations………………………………………………………………………………………….139
BIBLIOGRAPHY ……………………………………………………………………………………………….143

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