Expanding The Frontiers of Judicial Review In Nigeria: The Gathering Storm
This article examines the question of the scope of judicial review in Nigeria. The paper criticizes the traditional conception of judicial review which gives judicial review a strictly narrow and limited scope by limiting the concept to merely legality of an administrative or legislative action or in-action as well as the legality of decisions and actions of inferior courts and tribunal but not the merits of such an action. The paper finds that such an approach which is applied by Nigerian courts is not consistent with the current trends in administrative law in the Commonwealth. The paper therefore advocates an expansion of the scope of judicial review to the merits of an administrative action or decision. The paper prognostizes that with the coming into being of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency Act 2007, the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009 and such decisions as the Court of Appeal decisions in Fawehinmi v. Abacha and Fawehinmi v. The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria & Ors, the storm towards giving judicial review an expanded scope in Nigeria has started gathering and it is only a matter of time before the traditional approach to judicial review would be swept away in favour of a liberal approach which would enable judicial review to extend to merits of a target activity in deserving cases.