Archbishop George Carey told the BBC that many Christians in the state had left in despair because they were unable to build churches or teach religion in schools. Carey, the spiritual leader of the world´s 70 million Anglicans, is on a two-week pastoral tour of Nigeria. He said he had expressed his concerns over Christians´ rights to the governor of Zamfara state, Ahmed Sani.
Zamfara was the first Nigerian state to impose the Islamic legal code, or Shariah, which includes punishments such as stoning to death, amputation and flogging.
According to the Muslims in Zamfara, the fear of Shariah punishments has already made for a better society. Men and women are now prohibited from sharing public transport in Zamfara. Boys and girls are taught in separate schools and the sale and consumption of alcohol has been banned.
Attempts to introduce Shariah in the neighboring state of Kaduna led to terrible bloodshed last year. At least 2,000 people died in fighting between Christians and Muslims and Nigeria´s Christian minority says the fear of Shariah is driving their numbers even lower.