Comparative law and justice/Nigeria
Part of the Comparative law and justice Wikiversity Project
<!Justin Corso 16:27, 29 November 2010 (UTC)!>
- 1 Basic Information
- 2 Brief History
- 3 Economic Development, Health, and Education
- 4 Governance
- 5 Courts and Criminal Law
- 6 Rights
- Region: West Africa
- Population: 140,003,542 as at 2006, estimated by The National Population Commission (NPC)
- Area Total: 923,770 km2
- Area Land: 910,770 km 2
- Capital: Abuja
- Climate: Varies: equatorial in south, tropical in center, arid in north
- Major Languages:
- English (official)
- Nigeria’s 2 major religions:
- Ethnic groups:(the seven most populous; Nigeria contains over 400 ethnic groups)
- Hausa and Fulani 29%
- Yoruba 21%
- Igbo (Ibo) 18%
- Ijaw 10%
- Kanuri 4%
- Ibibio 3.5%
- Tiv 2.5%
Rivers and Lakes: "The Niger River and its tributaries—principally the Benue, Kaduna, and Sokoto rivers—drain most of Nigeria. In the northeast, the rivers drain into Lake Chad. Navigation is restricted by rapids and seasonal fluctuations in depth." 
PEOPLE: The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria accounts for over half of West Africa's population. Although less than 25% of Nigerians are urban dwellers, at least 24 cities have populations of more than 100,000. The variety of customs, languages, and traditions among Nigeria's 250 ethnic groups gives the country a rich diversity. The dominant ethnic group in the northern two-thirds of the country is the Hausa-Fulani, most of whom are Muslim. Other major ethnic groups of the north are the Nupe, Tiv, and Kanuri. The Yoruba people are predominant in the southwest. About half of the Yorubas are Christian and half Muslim. The predominantly Catholic Igbo are the largest ethnic group in the southeast, with the Efik, Ibibio, and Ijaw comprising a substantial segment of the population in that area. Persons of different language backgrounds most commonly communicate in English, although knowledge of two or more Nigerian languages is widespread. Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, and Kanuri are the most widely used Nigerian languages.
LEGAL SYSTEM REVIEW
- 1. Political System.
"Nigeria is a federation of thirty six states. The Nigerian Constitutions of 1979 and 1991 provide for a National Assembly and a Senate at the federal level. At the state level, there exists a Senate and a House of Representatives. The Constitutions also provide for a President to be the Nigerian Head of State and for a State Governor in each of the 30 states. There are separate federal and state courts and one Supreme Court. Every state is divided into counties generally called local government areas. Each local government area is administered by a chairman and a council of twenty members. The courts in each state are controlled by the state government. Each state government has a Chief Justice who also acts as the State Minister of Justice. There are essentially two types of Chief Justices: 1) the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court and 2) the Chief Justice of the Nigerian Federation who functions as an Attorney General.
- 2. Legal System.
Nigeria inherited the English common law tradition. However, since Nigeria has a tripartite judicial system, the common law tradition applies only at the English law (Colonial) based courts. The common law does not apply to the Islamic and customary law courts of Nigeria. Nigerian criminal procedure is based on an adversarial approach with the burden of proof most commonly placed on the accused. The Islamic (Muslim) courts and customary courts use an inquisitorial approach in their criminal procedures."
HISTORY: "In the northern cities of Kano and Katsina, recorded history dates back to about 1000 AD. In the centuries that followed, these Hausa kingdoms and the Bornu empire near Lake Chad prospered as important terminals of north-south trade between North African Berbers and forest people who exchanged slaves, ivory, and kola nuts for salt, glass beads, coral, cloth, weapons, brass rods, and cowrie shells used as currency."
"In the southwest, the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo was founded about 1400, and at its height from the 17th to 19th centuries attained a high level of political organization and extended as far as modern Togo. In the south central part of present-day Nigeria, as early as the 15th and 16th centuries, the kingdom of Benin had developed an efficient army; an elaborate ceremonial court; and artisans whose works in ivory, wood, bronze, and brass are prized throughout the world today. In the 17th through 19th centuries, European traders established coastal ports for the increasing traffic in slaves destined for the Americas. Commodity trade, especially in palm oil and timber, replaced slave trade in the 19th century, particularly under anti-slavery actions by the British Navy. In the early 19th century the Fulani leader, Usman dan Fodio, promulgated Islam and brought most areas in the north under the loose administrative control of an empire centered in Sokoto." 
Economic Development, Health, and Education
Economy/ Trade: "Nigeria is the United States' largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, largely due to the high level of petroleum imports from Nigeria, which supply 8% of U.S. oil imports--nearly half of Nigeria's daily oil production. Nigeria is the fifth-largest exporter of oil to the United States. Two-way trade in 2008 was valued at more than $42 billion, an 18% increase over 2007 data. Led by machinery, wheat, and motor vehicles, U.S. goods exports to Nigeria in 2008 were worth more than $4 billion. In 2008, U.S. imports from Nigeria were over $38 billion, consisting predominantly of oil. However, rubber products, cocoa, gum arabic, cashews, coffee, and ginger constituted over $70 million of U.S. imports from Nigeria in 2007. The U.S. trade deficit with Nigeria was $21 billion in 2007. Nigeria is the 50th-largest export market for U.S. goods and the 14th-largest exporter of goods to the United States. The United States is Nigeria's largest trading partner after the United Kingdom. Although the trade balance overwhelmingly favors Nigeria, thanks to oil exports, a large portion of U.S. exports to Nigeria is believed to enter the country outside of the Nigerian Government's official statistics, due to importers seeking to avoid Nigeria's excessive tariffs.
The United States is the largest foreign investor in Nigeria. The stock of U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Nigeria in 2006 was $339 million, down from $2 billion in 2004. U.S. FDI in Nigeria is concentrated largely in the petroleum/mining and wholesale trade sectors. Exxon-Mobil and Chevron are the two largest U.S. corporate players in offshore oil and gas production.
In March 2009, the United States and Nigeria met under the existing Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to advance the ongoing work program and to discuss improvements in Nigerian trade policies and market access. Among the topics discussed were cooperation in the World Trade Organization (WTO), market access, export diversification, intellectual property protection and enforcement, commercial issues, trade capacity building and technical assistance, infrastructure, and investment issues." 
Economy "GDP (2008): $183 billion (agriculture 33%; industry 39%; services 28%). Real GDP growth rate (2009): 4.4%. Oil growth: -18%. Non-oil growth: 3%. Per capita GDP (2009): $1,418. Inflation (2009): 11.5%. Natural resources: Oil and natural gas (37% of 2006 GDP), tin, columbite, iron ore, coal, limestone, lead, zinc. Agriculture: Products--cocoa, palm oil, yams, cassava, sorghum, millet, corn, rice, livestock, groundnuts, cotton. Industry: Types--textiles, cement, food products, footwear, metal products, lumber, beer, detergents, car assembly. Trade (2007): Exports--$65.5 billion: fuels and mining products (97%); agricultural products (cocoa, rubber, oil, nuts) (2.2%); manufactures (0.8%). Partners--United States (38.3%); European Union (21.8%); India (9.9%); Brazil (6.8%); Japan (4%). Imports--$29.5 billion: machinery; chemicals; transport equipment; manufactured goods (72.3%); agricultural products (23.7%), fuels and mining products (4%). Partners--European Union (33.2%); United States (15.6%); China 7.2%; Korea (2.8%); U.A.E. (2.6%); others (15%). Foreign direct investment (FDI, 2008): 29.5% of GDP. Official development assistance (2006): $11.434 billion. Currency: Naira (150 Naira = U.S. $1 as of March 23, 2010)." 
Education: Old Koranic schools are widespread throughout the north, and missionaries brought Western education to the coastal areas as early as the 1830s. Until the 1970s, enrollment in Western-oriented schools was significantly higher in the south. In 1976 free primary education was established throughout Nigeria. Educational facilities are lacking, however, and the adult illiteracy rate remains above 50 percent. By the mid-1980s, some 13.6 million pupils were enrolled each year in primary schools, and more than 3.1 million students attended secondary schools. Under a new educational system introduced in 1982, primary schooling (officially compulsory) takes six years to complete. Secondary schooling is organized in two successive phases of three years each. Western higher education, begun in 1948 with the founding of the University of Ibadan, is found throughout the country. Other major institutions include Ahmadu Bello University (1962), in Zaria; the Obafemi Awolowo University (1961), in Ife; the University of Lagos (1962); and the University of Nigeria (1960), in Nsukka. British-style universities have been augmented by a growing system of American-influenced teachers colleges and technical colleges. In (1993) AISA (American International School Abuja) was established, This school is Private and goes from Pre-school up until 12 grade. The staff at this school come from ten different nations.The word Abuja is the federal capital of Nigeria. Abuja-collage. 
President: Goodluck Jonathan (2010) 
Government Type:"Federal republic. Independence: October 1, 1960. Constitution: The 1999 constitution (based largely on the 1979 constitution) was promulgated by decree on May 5, 1999 and came into force on May 29, 1999. Subdivisions: 36 states plus Federal Capital Territory (Abuja); states divided into a total of 774 local government areas. Budget (2009): $21.3 billion, of which recurrent expenditures constitute $11.1 billion, capital expenditures $7 billion, statutory transfers $1.1 billion, and debt service $2 billion. Critical sectors--security and the Niger Delta (20%); education (8%); transportation (7%); agriculture and water (5%); and energy (5%). Indebtedness, including federal/state government debt, as percentage of GDP: 3%" 
"The 2011 elections present Nigeria with an opportunity to turn the page on the legacy of electoral fraud, political violence and stalled democratic development that has marred the past decade of civilian rule in the country. With its vibrant civil society and increasingly independent legislative and judicial branches of government, Nigeria has the essential ingredients for democracy to take root. However, since the end of military rule in 1999, successive civilian governments have done little to translate the country's immense natural wealth into tangible gains for the majority of Nigerian citizens, more than half of whom subsist on less than a dollar a day. Instability in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, failing infrastructure, the lack of political will to address governance challenges and the continuing nexus of violence, corruption and politics, threaten the development of the country's democratic institutions.
The appointment of a widely-respected new chair of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) and President Goodluck Jonathan's public assurances that his government will ensure a transparent and credible electoral process have rekindled hope among Nigerians eager to see the end to the poor governance and entrenched corruption at the national, state and local levels in Nigeria. Along with important opportunities, the 2011 electoral process also carries considerable risks. The slow pace of implementation of the new constitutional amendments and the electoral reforms; concerns over INEC's ability to conduct a credible voter registration process; divisive debates over the selection of party candidates; and growing fears that too little time is available to effectively plan, prepare and conduct credible elections in early 2011 have contributed to growing concerns in Nigeria and internationally that another flawed electoral process would lead to further disillusionment with elected government by Nigeria's citizenry and could stoke political violence and endanger prospects for continuing civilian governance." 
Government: Federal republic under strong presidential administration,Became parliamentary democracy at independence; under military rule 1966 to 1979, 1983- . Constitution of 1979 amended February 1984. New constitution promulgated 1989 and scheduled to take effect January 1993; provides for three independent branches of government: executive, legislative, judicial. National Assembly dissolved in 1983, had not been reinstated as of mid-1991. Transition to civilian rule scheduled to be completed January 1993.
Administrative Divisions: Thirty states divided into local councils; Federal Capital Territory of Abuja projected to become partially operational as national capital in 1991 as federal departments transfer from Lagos.
Judicial System: Legal system based on English common law modified by Nigerian rulings, constitution of 1979, legislative enactments, and decrees of military government in effect. Draft constitution of 1989 to take effect at start of Third Republic. Customary and Muslim sharia law recognized in personal status matters. Federal system included Supreme Court, federal courts of appeal, and federal high courts. Supreme Court had original jurisdiction in constitutional disputes.
Politics: In 1989 two political parties established by government: National Republican Convention, slightly right of center, and Social Democratic Party, slightly left of center. Presidential elections scheduled for December 1992. File:Election in Nigeria 1999.jpg
Foreign Relations: Nonaligned; active member of United Nations, Organization of African Unity, Commonwealth of Nations, and Economic Community of West African States. Main principles of foreign policy: noninterference in internal affairs and inviolability of national borders in Africa.
Conducted Elections: "The National Assembly agreed to amend sections of the 2010 Electoral Act to make it lawful to shift next year's elections forward. The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) had voiced its fears that the original January dates which it earlier set for elections into various offices were unrealistic. INEC suggested that if the elections were shifted to April 2010, the additional time would afford adequate arrangements for the polls, including the compilation of a credible voters' register". 
This 36-state federation, a member of the Commonwealth, is Africa's biggest country, with 140 million residents. It has for all practical purposes two legal systems, one in the mainly Moslem north, the other covering the mainly Christian south. This north-south divide dates back into history: there were two separate British colonial territories, Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria, until they were merged in 1914.
Courts and Criminal Law
Judges Appointments and qualifications.
- "The 1979Constitution requires appointments to the Supreme
Court to get the approval of both Houses of the Legislature. The judges are appointed by the President of Nigeria. The judges must be certified lawyers who have served as judges at the federal or state court levels for a minimum of ten years (Kasumu, 1978).
- All the judges of the Federal High
Court/Federal Court of Appeals are appointed by the President of Nigeria with the approval of the Senate. Ten years of experience on the bench is required before a lawyer is appointed judge to this court.
- The Chief Justice of the state High Court is
appointed by the State Governor. The other judges are appointed in the same manner as the Chief Justice but the appointments have to be made in accordance with the advice of the appropriate Judicial Service Commission. During the military regime (1966-1979), the Chief Justice of the Federal and each State High Court, as well as other court judges, were appointed by the Supreme Military Council after consultation with the Advisory Judicial Committee. During that time, the Nigerian Supreme Court was suspended and the Federal High Court was positioned as the highest court.
- The judges for the Sharia Court of Appeal are
appointed by the president after consultation with the Advisory Judicial Committee. The judges of all customary courts, including Sharia Courts, are all lay-judges with no formal legal training. The Public Service Commission of each state has the authority to appoint magistrates for the Magistrate Courts. The magistrates are all certified lawyers with at least five years of experience on the bench. The judges of the Area Courts in the Northern States are also appointed by the State's Public Service Commission.
- In Bendel, the Chief Justice is empowered to
appoint persons as presidents or members of a Customary Court upon the recommendation of the Advisory Judicial Committee (Elias, 1972)".
Key Actors: "Because of Nigeria's role as a regional power, leading oil exporter, and major contributor of troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions, foreign governments-including the United States and the United Kingdom-have been reluctant to publicly criticize Nigeria's poor human rights record.
Although US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out forcefully against endemic government corruption during her August visit to Nigeria, she was unwilling to publicly condemn the serious abuses committed by Nigeria's security forces. The UK government continued to play a leading role in international efforts to combat money laundering by corrupt Nigerian officials. However, in fiscal year 2009 it provided £132 million in aid to Nigeria, including security sector aid, without demanding accountability for Nigerian officials and members of the security forces implicated in corrupt practices or serious human rights abuses" 
Role of Judges: "The role and place of the judiciary in the scheme of things are pretty well-known in any system of democratic governance. As I once observed, a political system can be considered as democratic on the basis of the extent to which the judicial arm is permitted to hold the scales of justice over and above the other arms of government…For, if good governance has become a modern day desideratum, human ingenuity is yet to devise a better means of preventing arbitrariness and ensuring social well-being than that of separation of powers, due process of law and independence of the judiciary which, taken together, constitute the hallmarks of a well functioning democratic system.’" 
Elected: The Judges in Nigeria are elected by State parties.
Jurys: The only area in Nigeria which has adopted trial by jury is Lagos.
Lawyers: "A lawyer is a member of a versatile, learned and honourable profession. He may be a Judge, a Teacher of Law in a University, a Company Director or Secretary, a Civil Servant, an Office-Holder in any capacity, a Solicitor and Advocate, an Arbitrator entering into negotiations on behalf of his clients. The most popular one in Nigeria is to be a Solicitor and Advocate, preparing documents and appearing in wig and gown before the court of law to defend a client in a civil suit or on a criminal charge."  "In Nigeria, the education of a lawyer starts properly at the University. Faculties of Law are to be found in the Universities all over Nigeria. The conditions or qualification for admission to study law are usually as published by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board Act. A prospective lawyer may also chose to study in a foreign University. The content of the course of study leading to the award of a law degree whether from a Nigeria or foreign University must be approved by the Council of Legal Education. Only foreign Universities in common law countries or teaching common law courses are approved by the Council. The Council usually insists that the subjects taken must include Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Law of Contract, Tort, Land Law, Equity & Trust, Commercial Law, Law of Evidence."
Nigeria: Judicial CP "Anderson (1970) noted that such punishments had to be confirmed by the Emir or district officer before being carried out. He added that it was "important [...] to distinguish the lashes imposed under the Shari'a from any form of corporal punishment permitted under the Criminal Code. The former must be inflicted with a cowhide whip held only between certain fingers of the hand, while the one who inflicts it must also hold some object under his arm throughout. It is clear, therefore, that this punishment at least in modern Nigeria is to be regarded as a disgrace [...] rather than a very severe physical ordeal".
Sharia Law is usually for minor offences, these are possibly always administered in public. The public whippings are to the clothed buttocks or sometimes whipping on the bare upper back. For the more serious offenses the comporal punishment also comes along with a prison senetence,this corpal punishment is strokes of a cane.
Sanctions: The sanctions put on Nigeria by the United States and other nations were, restrictions on travel by government officials and their families and suspension of arms sales and military assistance. Anything sanctions added on after this was because Nigeria failed to gain full certification for its counter narcotics efforts.
Corporal punishment: Yes, Corporal punishment is used in Nigeria. "Both issues are seen as global problems, especially given the fact that despite the 1989 United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child in Africa, as well as other continents, corporal punishment and violence against children still go on uninhibited. Studies show that today's children and youths are subject to such punishments as beatings with sticks, whips or belts, though the physical and psychological injuries and the lasting damage these punishments inflict are well known."
Capital punishment: Yes, Capital punishment is used.
- At the head of the Nigerian police force is the Inspector-General.
Deputy Inspector-General,Assistant Inspector-General, Commissioner ofPolice, Deputy Commissioner of Police, AssistantCommissioner of Police, Chief Superintendent of Police, Superintendent of Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Chief Inspector, Inspector,Sub-Inspector, Cadet Sub-Inspector, SergeantMajor, Sergeant, Corporal, Constable, and Recruit.
Training and Qualifications
"Police recruits undergo a six to nine month training session at one of the police colleges located in each of the four geographic regions of Nigeria (north, east, west, and midwest) and the national capital of Lagos. (Editor's note: In 1991, the capital of Nigeria was transferred to Abuja. Most criminal justice agencies originally located in Lagos have remained there.) Most recruits are expected to have a high school diploma in order to be admitted into the Recruit grade of the police force. However, some recruits have first school learning certificates (equivalent to an 8th Grade education in the U.S.) or a West African school certificate (equivalent to a high school diploma). Police officer cadets are trained at the Nigerian Police Academy in Lagos. Some cadets are trained in England, the United States, India, and Pakistan. The length of training at the police academy ranges from one to three years, depending on the cadet's previous level of education. Persons with a university degree such as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science spend less than three years in training before they are commissioned Assistant Superintendent. Officers of the Nigerian police force are presently recruited among university graduates."
- Community Policing Developers (CPD)
- Community Safety Officers (CSOs)
- Human Rights Officers (HROs)
- Community Policing Officers (CPOs)
- Neighbourhood Watch Officers (NWOs)
- Vigilante Support Officers (VSOs)
- Divisional Intelligence Officers (DIOs)
- Conflict Resolution Officers (CROs)
Crime Rates and Public Opinion
1. Classification of Crimes.
- "Legal classification. Crimes in Nigeria are
classified by the severity of the offense into felonies (very serious) and misdemeanors (less serious). Examples of felonious offenses are armed robbery, arson, auto theft, burglary, child- stealing, counterfeiting, conspiracy, drug offenses, forgery, fraud, kidnapping, murder, rape, smuggling contraband, theft of an object of high value, and treason. All other offenses are considered misdemeanors. The Nigerian police also classify crimes into offenses against persons, offenses against property, other offenses (crimes without victims), and offenses against local ordinances.
- Age of criminal responsibility. Any person
seventeen years or older is considered an adult. Persons 12 to 16 years-old are treated as juveniles while 7 to 11 year-olds are considered children. The offenses of both children and juveniles are handled at the juvenile courts. Juvenile courts are generally ad hoc and informally administered. They are presided over by the county magistrate, a layman and a laywoman (Ebbe, 1988).
- Drug offenses. Drug offenses in Nigeria include
the possession or selling of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. Barbiturates and amphetamines are legal drugs which can be purchased as over-the-counter medicines.
- Crime regions. The Nigerian police annual
reports have no records of crimes according to regions, states or cities. However, it is generally known in Nigeria that property crimes are perpetrated more in the Southern states than in the Northern states. This may be due to greater business activity in the South".
- Whose the victims? There is no report on who gets victimized by crime in Nigeria, although from some information gathered in the prison reports it is known that most of these crimes actually within the same ethnicity. Also, more often than not the males are more likely to be victims and offenders then females.
Homicide rate: 17.70 per 100,000 person 
40,447 prisoners [32nd of 168]
- Prisoners > Female
1.9% [113rd of 134]
- Prisoners > Per capita
33 per 100,000 people [149th of 164]
- Prisoners > Pre-trial detainees
63% [17th of 143]
- Prisoners > Share of prison capacity filled
101.5% [89th of 128]
- Software piracy rate
82% [19th of 107]"
Adoption: "Nigerian adoption laws are complex and the system is not transparent. In general, foreigners who intend to adopt a specific child must first obtain temporary custody of the child (i.e., foster care). Foster care requirements differ from Nigerian state to state, and can be as long as one year before an adoption will be granted. Other states have citizenship or other requirements to adopt. Prospective adoptive parents are advised to obtain more information on adopting in individual states through their Nigerian attorneys or Social Welfare offices for the state where the adoption will take place". 
Marriage: Two major types of marriage exist in Nigeria: monogamy, a marriage of one man to one woman, and polygyny, a marriage of one man to two or more wives. In most cultural groups in Nigeria, traditional marriage is usually an arrangement between two families as opposed to an arrangement between two individuals. Accordingly, there is pressure on the bride and bridegroom to make the marriage work as any problem will usually affect both families and strain the otherwise cordial relationship between them. In most Nigerian cultures, the man usually pays the dowry or bride-price and is thus considered the head of the family. Adultery is acceptable for men, but forbidden for women. Marriage ceremonies vary among Nigerian cultures." 
"The National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria was established by the National Human Rights Act, 1995 in line with the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations which enjoins all member States to establish Human Rights Institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights. The Commission serves as a mechanism for the enhancement of the enjoyment of human rights. Its establishment is aimed at creating an enabling environment for extra-judicial recognition, promotion and protection and enforcement of human rights, treaty obligations and providing a forum for public enlightenment and dialogue on human rights issues thereby limiting controversy and confrontation." 
Fact: In Nigeria about 70 per cent of those living in poverty are women.
2008 Human Rights report:Nigeria: "The government's human rights record remained poor, and government officials at all levels continued to commit serious abuses. The most significant human rights problems included the abridgement of citizens' right to change their government; extrajudicial killings by security forces; the use of lethal and excessive force by security forces; vigilante killings; impunity for abuses by security forces; torture, rape, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners, detainees, and criminal suspects; harsh and life‑threatening prison and detention center conditions; arbitrary arrest and prolonged pretrial detention; executive influence on the judiciary and judicial corruption; infringement on privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, and movement; domestic violence and discrimination against women; female genital mutilation (FGM); child abuse and child sexual exploitation; societal violence; ethnic, regional, and religious discrimination; trafficking in persons for the purpose of prostitution and forced labor; and child labor."