Muslims 50%, Christians 40%, indigenous religions 10%.
The constitution stipulates that neither the federal nor the state governments establish a state religion and prohibit discrimination on religious grounds.
The Constitution provides for state courts based on common or customary systems that have been operating in the region for centuries. In particular, it recognizes Sharia appeals courts in all states where this is required. They are responsible for civil procedures such as marriage, inheritance and other family affairs in which all parties are Muslims. According to state law, Sharia courts may impose sanctions based on the Sharia Penal Code, including hudood offenses (severe offenses punishable by the Qur’an) and penalties such as stabbing, amputation and death by stoning. Sharia courts are not authorized to force the participation of non-Muslims.
In January, a Kano State Sharia court sentenced Tijaniya Sufi Muslim cleric Abdul Nyass and five other men for derogatory statements against the Prophet Muhammad and sentenced them to death. All have appealed. On January 4, 2016, a Superior Sharia court in Kano sentenced Abdulaziz Dauda, the priest, and nine followers to blasphemous utterances against the Prophet Muhammad. The appeal was heard at the end of the year. Dauda allegedly said on May 15, 2015, that Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, an Islamic scholar of the Tijaniya Sufi Order in the 20th century, had a larger following than the Prophet Muhammad. The statement resulted in the following week in the fire of a sharia court in Kano, when angry youths protested and called for the execution of Dauda. The case was not completed by the end of the year. (U.S.St.Dept.)
The Kano state is considered one of the centers of power of the Boko Haram (Islamic terrorist group).
Since the official introduction of sharia law in 12 northern states of Nigeria since 1999, it has been estimated that tens of thousands of people in the region have been murdered by Islamists. (ISHR)
In 2016, there were several instances of mass violence in connection with blasphemy allegations. On May 29, a mob in Pandogari, Niger, killed a Christian for allegedly publishing blasphemous statements against Islam on a social media network. After the incident, riots broke out in the area, resulting in three more deaths, a series of injuries and the destruction of a church. The military and police intervened to restore order and arrested 32 people.
On June 2, attackers killed a Christian salesman from southeastern Nigeria at the Kofar-Wambai market in Kano City after attempting to stop a Muslim from performing wudu, a pre-prayer ritual, in front of their shop. The killing was condemned by President Buhari, the country’s senate, the chairman of the CAN, and the Sultan of Sokoto. Five people were arrested, but on November 3, a district court dismissed the case and released it after Attorney General Haruna Falali announced that the state had no interest. He declared the men innocent and ordered the court to release them. (U.S.St.Dept.)