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INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION A CASE STUDY OF JUSTICE WALTER ONNOGHEN

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The legal premise ubi ius ubi remedium is encapsulated in the maxim. “If there is a right, there is a legal remedy,” this says. “The presence of a legal provision requires the existence of a competent authority to allow an appeal if this rule is broken,” in other words. If there is no legal procedure to enforce the law and no penalty for breaking it, the legislation is ineffective. As a result, any constitutional system that allows an institution to decide whether or not a law will be applied is essential. If a rule has been broken, define what it means to offer or impose consequences. It is essential that the facility be self-contained and not embroiled in the conflict.

Despite the fact that much has been written on the subject, judicial independence remains a challenging principle to achieve. The Nigerian Constitution establishes the basis for constitutional supremacy and the rule of law. The “independence of the judiciary” is a constitutional principle that is widely regarded as an essential component of a democratic government. The constitution confers authority on the courts and says that they are independent and subject exclusively to the Constitution and the law.

The judiciary is made up of a number of interested parties, each of whom plays an important role in the administration of justice, and each of their participation and coordination is critical to the judiciary’s continuous success. Because any decision made by the court system impacts the public, either directly or indirectly, the public is likewise a significant actor in the debate. Judges in Nigeria’s legal system are supposed to be entirely impartial during the trial of a case; that is, they should not be concerned with the outcome of the case; rather, their only concern should be that justice be administered completely. Lawyers, barristers, defendants, and the general public, on the other hand, are all invested in the outcome of the legal process. The public is keenly interested in the outcome of cases and trials, and it is this keen interest that frequently leads to media criticism of the judicial process, which is one of the problems that today’s judiciary is grappling with.

Nigeria’s judiciary is, for the most part, excellent, and foreign journalists such as American legal analyst Tracey Cain have praised the system’s competence, as well as its “infallibility and uprightness” when it comes to sentence. Regardless of outsider opinion, the Nigerian people’s overwhelming perception of the judiciary is that it is an inequitable, unfair, and unjust institution. In fact, the judiciary is increasingly being portrayed as a “obstruction to justice rather than a protector of it” (Cain, Tracey, 2002).

According to a recent poll on public opinions of the court (see Appendix A), the Nigerian people saw the judiciary as having a number of problems, particularly in terms of its independence.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Nigeria’s constitutional democracy contains the idea of separation of powers, which separates power between the executive, legislative, and judicial departments of government. The court is frequently referred to as the government’s weakest arm, because, unlike the legislature and the executive, it lacks the power of the stock market and the sword. 5 As a result, its Interference independence must be strictly protected. The goal of this safeguard is to “ensure neutrality and impartiality in court processes and, as a result, allow judges to carry out their responsibilities without fear or relief.” As a result, the judiciary is both individually and institutionally free of any sort of intervention, regardless of whether it originates from the government.

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The goal of this dissertation is to look at the judiciary as an independent and autonomous government apparatus, as well as to comprehend how the Nigerian public views the court’s independence.
1. Determine the processes that guarantee the judiciary’s independence in Nigeria.
2. Identify the current challenge to Nigeria’s judicial independence.
3. Pay attention to what the Nigerian people has to say about the country’s current status of justice.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

a) What is the definition of judicial independence? The following two questions are addressed at the end of this section:

I Irrespective of who and what

ii) What is the goal of independence?

b) The purpose of this chapter is to give a comprehensive study of the legal measures implemented in Nigeria to maintain the independence of the judiciary. The concern is whether these methods are compatible with Article 165 of the Constitution, which protects the judiciary’s independence. As a result, the following points are discussed:

I the legal and constitutional foundation for judicial independence protection, which includes both individual and institutional independence;

ii) To what extent does the Nigerian Constitution’s theory of separation of powers pertain to the judiciary’s independence? One question that must be addressed is whether the apartheid state’s judicial administration structure is suitable for the functions that courts must now perform under Nigeria’s constitutional waiver.

b) What are the present dangers to Nigeria’s judiciary’s independence? As a result, the following issue is addressed in this section:
I The Judicial Service Commission’s decision on Judge Walter Onnoghen.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The significance of this study cannot be overstated. Analyze the independence of the Nigerian judicial system in order to provide the public with a clearer picture of judicial administration. The research is also necessary to demonstrate the indiscriminate restrictions and abuses of justice by other government arms, as well as the country’s growing corruption and unfairness, which often leaves much to be desired.

The research will also provide insight into the media’s and general public’s perceptions of legal practice in the country, using Justice Onnoghen as a case study. With the aforementioned concerns, this research will be a valuable source of knowledge for everyone. First and foremost, it will help the general public and those who are involved in it.

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of this study is limited to judicial independence and public perception. It will also look into the issues of preventing occupational indebtedness and the systems in place in Nigeria to combat unfairness. However, the focus of the investigation will be on the case of former Nigerian Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen. Other judicial instances were also examined in order to gain a better understanding of the subject.

ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research paper is divided into five chapters for easy comprehension. The first chapter is devoted to the introduction, which includes (the study’s background), the statement of the problem, the study’s objectives, research questions, the study’s importance, and the study’s scope, among other things. The theoretical framework, conceptual framework, and other topics addressing the subject matter are presented in Chapter 2, which is a survey of the linked literature. The third chapter, Research Methodology, discusses the research strategy and methodologies used in the study. The fourth chapter focuses on data gathering, analysis, and presenting of findings. The study’s summary, conclusion, and suggestions are presented in Chapter 5.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

I Judiciary: The judicial branch of government is made up of a system of law courts that administer justice.

ii) Independence; freedom from another’s or others’ authority or influence.

 

Perception is a fundamental component in the construction of a notion because it is the representation of what is perceived.

 

People in general are referred to as the public.

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