The independence of the judiciary under the Third Republican Constitution of Nigeria

One of the fundamental principles underlying the Nigerian constitutional process is that of the independence of the judiciary. Experience indicates, however, that despite the tight constitutional guarantee given the judiciary in Nigeria, the judicial system has nonetheless not been free from negative manipulation by politicians. The author explores the scope of the doctrine of judicial independence and its relevance to the Nigerian polity; the history of the doctrine so far; the somewhat hostile attitude of Nigerian politicians to this doctrine which they consider obstructive to rapid development; the impact of military rule on its application; and, finally, the role of the judiciary itself in sustaining its independence. Then he reviews the new constitutional reforms introduced in 1989 to redress perceived shortcomings, notably with respect to provisions regulating the removal of judicial officers which had become evident in the case of Justice Anyah v. Attorney General, Borno State (1984), and offers some suggestions for further realization of the ideal of judicial independence in Nigeria. Notes, ref.

Title: The independence of the judiciary under the Third Republican Constitution of Nigeria
Author: Ikhariale, M.A.
Year: 1990
Periodical: Journal of African Law
Volume: 34
Issue: 2
Pages: 145-158
Language: English
Geographic term: Nigeria
Abstract: One of the fundamental principles underlying the Nigerian constitutional process is that of the independence of the judiciary. Experience indicates, however, that despite the tight constitutional guarantee given the judiciary in Nigeria, the judicial system has nonetheless not been free from negative manipulation by politicians. The author explores the scope of the doctrine of judicial independence and its relevance to the Nigerian polity; the history of the doctrine so far; the somewhat hostile attitude of Nigerian politicians to this doctrine which they consider obstructive to rapid development; the impact of military rule on its application; and, finally, the role of the judiciary itself in sustaining its independence. Then he reviews the new constitutional reforms introduced in 1989 to redress perceived shortcomings, notably with respect to provisions regulating the removal of judicial officers which had become evident in the case of Justice Anyah v. Attorney General, Borno State (1984), and offers some suggestions for further realization of the ideal of judicial independence in Nigeria. Notes, ref.