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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Ambiguities of colonial law: the case of Muhammadu Aminu, former political agent and chief alkali of Kano
Author:Afeadie, Philip AtsuISNI
Periodical:History in Africa (ISSN 1558-2744)
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Northern Nigeria
Subjects:colonial law
customary courts
About person:Muhammadu Aminu
Abstract:On the establishment of colonial rule in Kano (Nigeria), judicial administration was organized on three principal institutions, involving the resident's provincial court, the judicial council (emir's court), and the chief alkali's (chief judge) court in Kano City with corresponding district alkali courts. In 1919 Muhammadu Aminu became chief alkali of Kano. According to Kano traditions, Chief Alkali Aminu was efficient and usually handed out stiff sentences to culprits. For the colonial authorities, however, Alkali Aminu's work was 'dilatory and unsatisfactory' and he himself was regarded as having fallen liable to corruption. He had barely served for two years when he was dismissed, with the latest offence being condoning slave dealing, specifically his permitting the 'ransom' of a girl who had already been freed five years earlier. For this offence Alkali Aminu was sentenced to three years of imprisonment. The case of slave dealing against Alkali Aminu involved some legal complications, as it related to the larger issue of slave women and the practice of concubinage in northern Nigeria on prohibition of the slave trade. The present paper discusses the case of Alkali Aminu, presenting texts of court records. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]