We will be discussing extensively on the Nigerian Judicial System, its Modus Operandi, its challenges and way forward. It will suffix me to at least analyse a little background of the Nigerian Judiciary.

Books and researches have endowed us with lots of proven facts that the Nigerian Judiciary arm of government as it where, has been vested with the responsibility of interpreting the law of Nigeria. When having a critical look at the job description of the Nigerian Judicial system, even the blind would visualize it that it is a very important task vested on them. The reason for this is that, the same laws been interpreted by this arm of the government is the bases upon which judgments are made. For this reason, interpretation of laws should be done with all manner of soundness, meritocracy, and serious alacrity.

The Nigeria Judicial System, Challenges And The Way Forward

Now let’s look into the Nigerian judicial system properly. According to facts, the Nigerian Judicial System is made up of what is referred to as ‘the Body of Benchers’ and ‘the Bar’ itself.

For the Body of Benchers as it where is a collection of the highest ranking legal practitioners in the country. And this body is headed by the Chief Justice of the Federation. The council of Benchers also has her members which is the representative of the Chief Judges of the Federation and also very reputable lawyers located in the country.

For the body Bar, this is a body every barrister located in the country. As it where, every one of the barristers, in the country do make up the ‘Nigerian Legal Class’. We are not just here to talk too much on the formation of the Judicial system but how it has fared in pursuing her roles as a law interpreting arm of the government.

The very reason for the judicial system is that, it most times becomes the last resort for the citizenry of the Nation if the excesses of the Executive and Legislative arms of government are not checkmated. And this is the reason why the judicial system should ensure equity to the maximum level.

For the purpose of knowledge, we must understand that the primary duty vested on the Judiciary is to ensure that the Executive and Legislative arms of government do not function outside their powers which should be within their constitutional provisions which have already been made .

One hindrance to this function has been the fact that the Nigerian Judicial system have been tampered with times without numbers with political class in the society. In the real sense, the Judiciary should in stand isolation while they perform their constitutional responsibility. But what we have currently is the reverse because the Nigerian Judicial system since its appointments comes from the Executive arms and must be sanctioned by the Legislatures, have in one way or the other been sentimental in their judgments.

What The Nigerian Judicial System has been experiencing based on challenges to contend during the dictatorial military has been total abject emasculation to the extent that it lost the substance to its name and only existed as a nomenclatural entity. And finally, the Nigerian Judicial System, sank into the great abyss.

All thanks to the democratic dispensation that has reopened the corridor of organized judicial system to have the capacity to be a watchdog to the polity of the Nation.

According to (Akpuru-Aja, 1999) “The importance of the Judiciary in any political system cannot be over-emphasized, hence the constitution of the land has provided for its absolute independence which is to enable the Judicial system perform its sacred constitutional function without sentiments and reservations.

For the likes of us who partially studied Law in the higher institution have viewed Judicial independence as the total freedom of the judicial arm of government from the other two arms which are the (Executive and Legislature) of government for whose purpose is ensure the total entrenchment of democracy in the society.

If we talk about the Judicial system, we talk about Separation of power between the three arms of governments which therefore makes them more accountable to the persons who elected them into office. For the judiciary, they are accountable to a higher value and to standards of judicial rectitude.

I do believe that this was the sole reason why the United Nations adopted the basic principles of the independence of the judiciary. we will be analyzing the very principles that must be in place to call a judiciary independent.

  1. The independence of the Judiciary shall be guaranteed by the State and enshrined in the Constitution or the law of the country. It is the duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the Judiciary.
  2. The judiciary shall decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.
  3. The judiciary have jurisdiction over all issues of a judicial nature and shall have exclusive authority to decide whether an issue submitted for its decision is within its competence as defined by law.
  4. There shall not be any inappropriate or unwarranted interference with the judicial process, nor shall judicial decisions by the court be subject to revision. The principle is without prejudice to judicial review or to mitigation or commutation by competent authorities of sentences imposed by the judiciary, in accordance with the law.
  5. Everyone shall have the right to be tried by ordinary courts or tribunals using established legal procedures. Tribunals that do not use the duly established procedures of the legal process shall not be created to displace the jurisdiction belonging to the ordinary courts or judicial tribunals.
  6. The principle of the independence of the judiciary entitles and requires the judiciary to ensure that judicial proceedings are conducted fairly and that the rights of the parties are respected.
  7. It is the duty of each Member State to provide adequate resources to enable the judiciary to properly perform its functions.

If these are done as it is stated, then the citizenry of a Nation has nothing to fear not even the excesses of Executive and Legislative arms respectively.

I must say this in alacrity that Nigeria as it where that a more percentage of judicial officers in Nigeria do fall below the standard which is actually expected of judicial officers in the following areas as was stated by a friend.

They are intellectual capability, uprightness, character and integrity.

With the lack of the aforementioned, it has resulted in a very baked judgments by our judiciaries.

The very reasonable challenges facing the Nigerian judiciary is the poor institutional to personnel problems, poor facilities to inadequate financial provisions and also procedural problems to constitutional problems.

We had a report that some years ago, researches were conducted and it was told that there was the urgent need for constant training and retraining of Nigerian judicial officers which should come in the form of workshops, seminars and symposiums for judges to update their knowledge on the latest trend and also restructuring the appointment process of judicial officers to ensure that when it comes to appointments of judges, persons accepted must be intellectually capable, and of good character.

The Nigerian Judicial System, Challenges And The Way Forward. read more 

Article by Naija Classic.

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