Thursday, 30th November 2023

81% of Nigerians experience legal challenges as experts canvass community justice system 

By Ameh Ochojila, Abuja
26 April 2023   |   4:00 am
A report has said 81 per cent of Nigeria’s population have prevailing legal and justice-related challenges.

A gavel is seen in a courtroom in this file photo. (PHOTO: iStock / Getty Images Plus)<br />

A report has said 81 per cent of Nigeria’s population have prevailing legal and justice-related challenges.

The document, launched yesterday in Abuja by The Hague Institution for innovation of Law (HIIL), noted that legal problems were frequent reality for many Nigerians, with 81 per cent of adults having experienced at least one legal problem in the last one year. 

Chief Executive Officer of HIIL, Dr. Sam Muller, noted that issues bordering on neighbours, domestics, land and housing dominated legal challenges in the country. 

The survey revealed that land and domestic violence was prevalent among rural residents. 

It observed that only 55 per cent of the problems are resolved, while 82 per are considered fair and 35 per cent completely resolved. 

Titled ‘Justice Needs and Satisfaction (JNS) Nigeria 2023 Report’, the study said in most instances, the worsened community crises forced residents to embrace People Centered Justice (PCJ) ahead of the modern justice system.

Reacting, stakeholders and experts called for collaborative efforts to improve justice delivery in Nigeria.

They stressed the need for community justice by strengthening the informal justice system to enhance fairness. 

Prof. Nnandi Obiara of the Faculty of Law, Imo State University, Owerri canvassed less attention to technicality in justice delivery.

He called for more claim courts in rural areas to resolve community-based issues.

Director-General of Nigerian Legal Aid Council, Aliyu Abubakar, faulted a situation where the Supreme Court prioritises high-profile cases to the detriment of community and rural cases that directly affect the grassroots.

He urged support for PCJ to enhance justice dispensation. 

In his remarks, President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), pleaded with lawyers to be committed to justice.

He charged counsel to create issue-intimacy with clients in resolving legal hiccups.

Maikyau, however, charged HIIL and others in the justice sector to partner with NBA for better result.

The HIIL report represents experiences of 6, 573 randomly selected Nigerian adults, outlining the legal problems they encounter, impacts and steps taken to address them.

The report, second in the JNS series, was conducted across the six geopolitical zones, deploying a simple sample in line with urban-rural split from the National Population Commission (NPC).

Conducted between November and December last year, the study highlighted all socio-economic classes and eventually revealed that the process of getting justice in Nigeria is slow, difficult and costly.