The source of law in most African countries is Customary law, the Common law and legislation both colonial and post-independent. In a typical African country, the great majority of the people conduct their personal activities in accordance with and subject to Customary law.
Customary law has great impact in the area of addressing matters such as civil wrongs, crimes and traditional matter since this law developed in an era dominated by patriarchy where some of its norms conflict with human right norms. Hence, questioning its efficacy in guaranteeing equality between men and women who are facing prosecution. While recognizing the role of legislation in reform, it is argued that the courts have an important role to play in ensuring that customary law is reformed and developed to ensure that it conforms to human right norms and contributes to the promotion of equity and justice.
The guiding principle should be that customary law is a living law and cannot therefore be static. It must be interpreted to take account of the life experiences of the people it serves. In this regards, the study will be looking at the application of African Customary law in Nigeria and the work will be grouped as follows:
Chapter one which is the introduction of the essay, will look into the background of African customary law, the chapter will also discuss and review relevant literatures in the area of crime and civil wrongs. The chapter will as well look into the problem statement, rationale for the study and the scope of the study.
Chapter two will cover a brief history of customary judicial system, the nature and structure of customary society with focus on three major ethnic groups (Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa) in Nigeria. The received Penal Code and Criminal Act in Nigeria will also be examined with a critic of its reception.
Chapter three will take a cursory look at judicial decisions involving crimes and civil wrongs in criminal justice administration under the African customary system. This will then be followed by an evaluation of the relationship between Nigerian Criminal Justice and legal system. Thereafter we shall examine the nexus between abolition of Customary Criminal Justice and attitude to spiritualism.
Lastly, chapter four will summarize the work and recommendations and conclusion will be made.
TABLE OF CONTENT
TITLE PAGE i
TABLE OF CONTENT vi
TABLE OF CASES viii
TABLE OF STATUTES x
CHAPTER ONE 1
1.1 INTRODUCTION 1
1.2 LITERATURE REVIEW 5
1.3 THE PROBLEMS 16
1.4 IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY 17
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATION 18
CHAPTER TWO 19
2.1 BRIEF HISTORY OF CUSTOMARY JUDICIAL SYSTEM 19
2.2 THE NATURE AND STRUCTURE OF CUSTOMARY SOCIETY 26
2.3 AFRICAN CUSTOMARY LAW WITH FOCUS ON THREE MAJOR ETHNIC GROUPS (IGBO, YORUBA AND HAUSA) IN NIGERIA 31
2.3.1 CUSTOMARY LAW IN IGBO SOCIETY 31
2.3.2 YORUBA CUSTOMARY ADJUDICATORY SYSTEM 33
2.3.3 HAUSA CUSTOMARY LAW 50
2.4 THE RECEIVED PENAL CODE AND CRIMINAL ACT IN NIGERIA 55
CHAPTER THREE 66
3.1 JUDICIAL DECISIONS INVOLVING CRIMES AND CIVIL WRONGS 66
3.2 NIGERIAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND LEGAL SYSTEM 76
3.3 NEXUS BETWEEN ABOLITION OF CUSTOMARY CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND ATTITUDE TO SPIRITUALISM. 76
CHAPTER FOUR 83
4.1 RECOMMENDATIONS 83
4.2 CONCLUSION 85