Publisher: University of Calabar

Independence of The Judiciary In Nigeria: A Myth Or Reality?

Ibrahim Abdullahi (frhd), Llb, Bl, Llm, (phd In View)
KEYWORDS: Independence, Judiciary, Judicial Independence and Judicial Powers

ABSTRACT:

The increasing reliance by Nigeria polity on the court to decide major issues and public interest has also brought it into sharp focus. Informed opinions on the Judiciary in Nigeria varies between those who believe that the “Judiciary is dead” or that it is “on trial” and the more compassionate view that it is a “beast of burden” or a “sacrificial lamb”. These remarks derive from observations of the alleged or actual behaviours of the judges and their independence, impartiality and integrity. While the above metaphors may be subject to various interpretations, they do raise consideration, curiosity and interest as to why any Judiciary should attract such comments and perhaps to what extent the concepts are justified. This paper examines whether the independence of the Judiciary in Nigeria is a myth or reality and concludes that the high sounding constitutional provision relating to judicial independence has no bite and what could have been constitutional guarantees of judicial independence is no more than a slogan in Nigeria thence calling for reforms.

The increasing reliance by Nigeria polity on the court to decide major issues and public interest has also
brought it into sharp focus. Informed opinions on the Judiciary in Nigeria varies between those who
believe that the “Judiciary is dead” or that it is “on trial” and the more compassionate view that it is a
“beast of burden” or a “sacrificial lamb”. These remarks derive from observations of the alleged or actual
behaviours of the judges and their independence, impartiality and integrity. While the above metaphors
may be subject to various interpretations, they do raise consideration, curiosity and interest as to why any
Judiciary should attract such comments and perhaps to what extent the concepts are justified. This paper
examines whether the independence of the Judiciary in Nigeria is a myth or reality and concludes that the
high sounding constitutional provision relating to judicial independence has no bite and what could have
been constitutional guarantees of judicial independence is no more than a slogan in Nigeria thence calling
for reforms.


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