Problems And Prospects Of Judicial Administration In Nigeria

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Problems And Prospects Of Judicial Administration In Nigeria


Abstract


The aim of this studies is to critically study the problems and prospects of judicial administration in Ogun state of Nigeria. Survey research design was adopted for the study and with the aid of convenient sampling method, the researcher selected sixty-six (66) participant who are members of the juryas the respondent of the study. Well structured questionnaire was issued to the 66 respondent whereas only (60) were retrieved and validated. Data was analyzed in frequencies and tables using simple percentage. Hypothesis test was conducted using Chi-Square statistical tool. The finding revealed thatthe causes of corruption among the judiciary includes Executive lawlessness, political interference and threats from the ruling class, Lack of funding, Politicization of Appointment, Lack of tenure security, Corruption of following judicial proceedings by the elites. More so problems facing the judiciary includes political interference, slow trial, of judiciary procedure, poor remuneration, executive lawlessness etc. The study therefore recommends that judges should rise up to the task to ensure that the judicial independence entrusted in their hands is not traded for money and gifts. They should uplift a just and dependable judiciary whose pronouncements will be credited and appreciated by the general public. Finally the government should provide judiciary with modern communication and information facilities to enhance her work, political interference should be minimized and more funds should be allocated to the commission coupled with public enlightenment for the public to be further aware of the activities of judiciary.


Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The Nigerian political history dated back to the pre-colonial era. The various ethnic groups had one form or system of political and judicial set up that were distinct and peculiar to each ethnic group.

In the Northern part of Nigeria there was well established monarchical form of government, and its judicial system was based on the sharia which was strongly influenced by Islam. The Yoruba of the south west of Nigeria equally had a monarchical form of government (based on the cultural set up of the society) and the judicial system was based on the royal court of the “Obas”. The South East had a loose form of government based on community headship of splinter groups without a central power as it was the case in the north and south west of the country, while the judicial system was the same “Communal market system of adjudication”.

The prominent judicial system in the North was the “Alkali courts” presided over by the Emirs or the Alkalis (judges) who were very versatile in sharia law. The South west had courts similar with those in the North which were based on the traditions, customs and practices of the area, these were called “kotu oba or kotu Asipa” depending on who was the presiding judge. The judiciary continued to build up its standard from this period up to when the country attained its independence in 1960. One can conveniently insinuate that the success of the judiciary today had been laid long time ago by founding fathers. It is always construed by parties on both sides as either the victory for the rule of law (in a win case) and perversion of justice (on the losing side) but all these is human frailties, thus this is an eye opener to the issues of administration of justice in Nigerian courts. Administration is like a diamond having many facets. The facet would concentrate upon or concern ourselves with in this essay is that one that relates to justice.

Nigeria is a very large country with very high percentage of citizens many of whom goes to court to ventilate their grievances at the slightest provocation, excuse or justification. But most of them are faced with ejection clause (s), where the jurisdiction of the court is not ousted, there might be difficulty of meeting the phenomenal cost of litigation, payment of court fees, summons fees, the payment for records of proceedings including cases going on appeal, the payment of lawyers’ fees and disobedience to court orders, all these pit falls identified call for changes which form the inspiration for writing this project.

The Nigerian judiciary has come under severe criticism and condemnation recently on account of the quality of its rulings. The popular perception is that the courts, particularly the Supreme Court, by its decisions, are detached and out of sync with the aspirations of the peoples and the requirements of national development.

Although law is a specialty, the knowledge of which is mainly possessed minds trained in the intricacy of jurisprudence, there is nothing esoteric about it as the elementary principles of justice, seen largely from the prism of the common man also forms part of justice. Indeed it is a cardinal principle of justice that the common man must see the whole process of adjudication as being fair to all parties.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Corruption is deeply rooted in every facet of the Nigerian polity it is phenomenon that exists in innumerable forms, knows no cultural boundaries, operates in the private as well as the public sector and defies comprehensive definition. Despite the adverse impact of corruption on democratic governance in Nigeria The reverberating effects of the failure of leadership, corruption and bad governance are being felt across all sectors and segments of Nigeria polity; unemployment, insecurity, crude oil thefts, dearth of infrastructures, problems in education, health services, transportation, accommodation, communication, to mention a few. Corruption in the judicial arm of government in a democratic society appears to be a global problem. It is not restricted to a specific country or region. Yet manifestations of corruption seem to be at their worst in developing countries and countries in transition. It is now an undisputable fact that corruption is one of the main obstacles to peace, stability, sustainable development, democracy, and human rights around the globe. International and regional human rights instruments recognize as fundamental the right of everyone to due process of law, including to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law. The importance of this right in the protection of human rights is underscored by the fact that the implementation of all other rights depends upon proper and fair administration of justice. An essential element of the right to a fair trial is an independent and impartial tribunal. Another inherent element of a fair trial is the procedural equality of parties, the so-called “equality of arms”. Against the above background it is argued that where the judicial system is corrupt, no such elements will exist. Judicial corruption influences undue access to and outcome of judicial decisions. The decisions will remain unfair and unpredictable and consequently the rule of law will not prevail. If one of the parties has bribed the judge or other court official and obtained access to documents to which the other party has no access, or caused documents to disappear, there can be no equality of arms.


1.3 Research Question

  1. What are the causes of corruption in Nigeria judiciary system
  2. What is the effect of corruption on the judicial system in Ogun state
  3. What is the prospect of the Nigeria judicial system in Ogun state

1.4 Aims and Objective of Study

The aim of this studies is to critically study the problems and prospects of judicial administration in Ogun state of Nigeria.

The objectives are:

  1. Find out the causes of corruption in Nigeria judiciary system
  2. Find out the effect of corruption on the judicial system in Ogun state
  3. Investigate the prospect of the Nigeria judicial system in Ogun state

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Ho: there is no significant effect of corruption on the judicial system in Nigeria

Hi: there is significant effect of corruption on the judicial system in Nigeria


1.6 Scope of the Study

The idea of the research work is on the problems and prospects of judicial administration in Ogun state of Nigeria.

This project covers a range of subject peculiar to the administration of justice in Nigeria. It covers the historical evolution of judicial system before the colonial intervention. It also covers the procedural problems in the administration of justice, Institutional problems in the administration of justice, Independence of the judiciary in all the courts in Nigeria generally. These are the aspects to be covered in this project.


1.7 Limitation of the Study

The following factors poses to be a limitation during the course of this research

Financial constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


1.8 Definition of Terms

Judiciary:

The judiciary is the branch of government which administers justice according to law. The term is used to refer broadly to the courts, the judges, magistrates, adjudicators and other support personnel who run the system. The courts apply the law, and settle disputes and punish law-breakers according to the law.

Independence of the Judiciary:

Judicial independence is the concept that the judiciary should be independent from the other branches of government


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The aim of this studies is to critically study the problems and prospects of judicial administration in Ogun state of Nigeria. The study further found out the causes of corruption in Nigeria judiciary system. It examined the effect of corruption on the judicial system in Ogun state. It investigated the prospect of the Nigeria judicial system in Ogun State.

Survey research design was adopted for the study and with the aid of convenient sampling method, the researcher selected sixty-six (66) participant who are members of the juryas the respondent of the study. Well structured questionnaire was issued to the 66 respondent whereas only (60) were retrieved and validated. Data was analyzed in frequencies and tables using simple percentage. Hypothesis test was conducted using Chi-Square statistical tool.


5.2 Conclusion

There is no doubt that the judiciary has tremendously helped to deepen democracy in Nigeria in the last 16 years, despite its low points and is poised to do even more Nigerian judiciary, in the last 16 years, has tremendously helped to shape democracy. As the third arm of the government, it has clearly played its role in deepening democracy with several landmark decisions. One cannot but salute the courage, boldness and character demonstrated by the Judiciary so far, while expecting that our Judges, in all strata of the court system would continue to build upon this, with a view to churning out justice to all manner of people, irrespective of age, sex, religion, creed, ethnic or political affiliation, professional leaning or calling, etc.

The finding revealed that the causes of corruption among the judiciary includes Executive lawlessness, political interference and threats from the ruling class, Lack of funding, Politicization of Appointment, Lack of tenure security, Corruption of following judicial proceedings by the elites. More so problems facing the judiciary includes political interference, slow trial, of judiciary procedure, poor remuneration, executive lawlessness etc.


5.3 Recommendation

It is an incontestable fact that the judiciary occupies a pre-eminent position in the administration of justice not only in Nigeria but in every sane society where there is respect for the rule of law as opposed to rule by brute force. It therefore follows that the independence of judiciary is necessary for the sustenance of the Rule of Law and Democracy. This research has successfully identified the issues and challenges of judicial independence and will conclude by positing probable solutions to these issues.

  1. Condition of service of judicial officers should be reviewed to attract the best brains to the bench.
  2. The constitution should be amended to ensure that it provides for financial autonomy of the judiciary by establishing a provision for a capital expenditure for the judiciary.
  3. The court system should be made more sovereign, liable, proficient, neutral, reachable, affordable and trustworthy, especially as regard removal of judges.
  4. Efficient mechanisms should be put in place to ensure enforcement of court rulings against government, like a regulatory body.
  5. The Judiciary should be allocated a good percentage of the income of the State.
  6. Democratic institutions should be strengthened to make them effective, independent and accountable.

Therefore it is important that the judiciary is transparent to certain extent, accountable for their decisions and above all an autonomous body such as the National Judicial Commission should be up and doing in the supervision of the judiciary Finally, judges should rise up to the task to ensure that the judicial independence entrusted in their hands is not traded for money and gifts. They should uplift a just and dependable judiciary whose pronouncements will be credited and appreciated by the general public if we have to make success in our collective efforts in the fight against corruption.


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