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INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION A CASE STUDY OF JUSTICE WALTER ONNOGHEN
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The maxim ubi ius ubi remedium expresses an important legal principle. This means that "if there is a right, there is a legal recourse". In other words: "The existence of a legal provision presupposes that there is a competent authority to grant an appeal if this rule is violated." The legislation is inadequate if there is no legal recourse to enforce it and if there is no sanction for breaking this rule. "Therefore, it is fundamental for any constitutional system that provides for an institution to decide if a law will decide. The rule has been violated and, if so, what it means to provide or what sanctions to impose. It is necessary that said facility be independent and not be involved in the dispute. In Nigeria, the main body responsible for this responsibility is the judiciary. (1) In this context, the term "judicial power" is used interchangeably with judges, public officials and judicial assistants.
Although much has already been written on this subject, the independence of the judiciary remains a difficult principle to achieve. The Constitution of Nigeria lays the foundations for incorporating constitutional supremacy and the rule of law. The "independence of the judiciary is a constitutional principle that is generally considered an integral part of a democratic system of government, in accordance with this constitution, confers jurisdiction on the courts and declares that they are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law.
The judiciary is made up of a series of interested parties, all of whom play an essential role in the exercise of justice, and the participation and coordination of each of them is crucial for the continued well-being of the judiciary. The main actors are the judges, who condemn the accused, the jury that determines the guilt of the defendants, the lawyers and lawyers that provide legal advice and represent their clients in the courtroom, as well as the representatives of the police and government agencies, whose participation often requires evidence in giving processes and specific cases.
The public itself is also an important actor in the dispute, since any decision made by the judicial system affects the public, either directly or indirectly. In Nigeria's legal system, judges are expected to be completely impartial in the trial of a case; H. e. They should not be interested in the outcome of the trial, their only concern is that justice be exercised completely. However, lawyers, barristers, defendants and the public all have an active interest in the outcome of the judicial process. The public has a particular interest in the outcome of cases and trials, and it is this special interest that often leads to media criticism of the judicial process, which is one of the issues today's judiciary faces. In today's day and age, the biggest issue that the Nigerian judiciary faces is not corruption in the courts or biased juries, but rather the public perception of the system as a whole.
For the most part, Nigeria's judiciary is first-rate, and overseas correspondents, such as American legal strategist Tracey Cain, have commented on the effectiveness of the system, and its 'infallibility and uprightness' when it comes to sentencing. However, regardless of outsider opinion, the overwhelming attitude of the Nigerian people towards the judiciary is of an inequitable, unfair and unjust organisation. In fact, the judiciary is increasingly being painted as an "obstacle to justice rather than the guardian of it" (Cain, Tracey, 2002).
According to a recent survey conducted on public perceptions of the judiciary (see appendix A), the Nigerian public perceived a number of flaws in the judiciary especially on the part of its Independence. The best known are the light sentences, the subjective judicial decisions and the excessive compensation for the judges. It is interesting to note that most of the respondents were very happy to make critical judgments about the justice system, but around 25% admitted that they did not even have a basic knowledge of the Nigerian legal system.
1.2 definition of the problem
Nigeria's constitutional democracy includes the principle of separation of powers, which divides power among the three branches of government, the executive, the legislative and the judicial. It is often said that the judiciary is the weakest arm of the government, since the judiciary, unlike the parliament and the executive, lacks the power of the stock market and the sword.5 Therefore, the strict protection of its Interference independence is paramount. The objective of this protection is to "guarantee impartiality and impartiality in judicial proceedings and, to that end, allow judges to perform their duties without fear or relief". It follows that the judiciary is individually and institutionally independent of any form of interference, regardless of whether this interference comes from the government, private actors or even the judiciary itself. Judicial independence not only protects judges, but also protects the public from arbitrary executive actions
1.3 Objectives of the investigation
The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the judiciary as an independent and autonomous government apparatus and to understand the perception of the Nigerian public about the independence of the judiciary.
1. Identify the mechanisms that protect the independence of the judiciary in Nigeria.
2. Identify the current threat to judicial independence in Nigeria.
3. Listen to the opinions of the Nigerian public about the current state of justice in Nigeria.
1.4 Significance of the study.
The importance of this research can not be emphasized enough. Analyze that independence of the judicial system in Nigeria, in order to give the public clearer views on judicial administration. Also, the research is necessitated to show case the indiscriminate restrictions and violations justice by other arms of the government and the gross increase of corruption and injustice in the country which often leaves less to be desired.
The research work will also give the perception of the media and general public concerning the legal practice in the country, taking the case of justice onnoghen as the case study With the above issues, this research will serve as a viable source of information to all and sundry. First, it will benefit the public, those engaged in the administration of justice, law enforcement agencies and the court. It will also provide relevant suggestions on how best to curb the increase of injustice; it is also of immense benefit to policy makers, government officials, academicians, students and anyone interested in the peaceful co-existence of the Nigerian populace.
1.5 Research questions
a) What is judicial independence? This section ends with an attempt to answer the following two questions:
i) Regardless of whom and
ii) independence for what purpose.
b) This chapter seeks to provide a holistic analysis of the legal measures taken to protect the independence of the judiciary in Nigeria. The question that is asked is whether these mechanisms are compatible with Article 165 of the Constitution, which establishes the independence of the judiciary. Therefore, the following is discussed:
(i) the constitutional and legal framework for the protection of the independence of the judiciary, covering both individual and institutional independence;
ii) To what extent does the doctrine of separation of powers in the Nigerian Constitution refer to the independence of the judiciary. One issue that also needs to be addressed is whether the judicial administration system adopted by the apartheid state is fit for the functions that courts now have to fulfill under the constitutional waiver of Nigeria.
c) What threats currently exist for the independence of the judiciary in Nigeria? This section therefore addresses the following issue:
i) Judgment of the Judicial Service Commission on Judge Walter Onnoghen.
1.6 Scope of study.
This research is limited to the independence of the judiciary and public perception. It will also examine the problems of prevention of occupational debts and the mechanisms for controlling injustice in Nigeria.But, The work will center greatly on the case of justice Walter Onnoghen, former chief justice of Nigeria. Analysis was also made on other judicial cases to enhance more knowledge on this area.
1.7 Definition of terms
i) Judiciary; the system of law courts that administer justice and constitute the judicial branch of government.
ii) Independence; freedom from control or influence of another or others.
Perception; the representation of what is perceived; basic component in the formation of a concept.
Public; people in general considered as a whole
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter. Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.