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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The beleaguered fortress: reflections of the independence of Nigeria's judiciary
Author:Olowofoyeku, A.A.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Law
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subject:judicial power
Abstract:This article examines the multifaceted question of judicial independence by assessing the situation in Nigeria in the light of the factors that are considered vital to ensuring or guaranteeing an independent judiciary. Broadly speaking, independence of the judiciary involves two main considerations: 1) the individual independence of particular judges, and 2) the institutional independence of the judiciary as a body. Generally, it connotes a) independence from the other arms of government, i.e. the executive and the legislature, and b) freedom from pressure or influence by any individual group, or by any extraneous factor in the discharge of the judicial office. With regard to institutional independence, the author examines budgetary and staff control, special tribunals set up to exercise judicial functions, and governmental interference with the judicial function. The individual independence of judges connotes that each individual judge is free to exercise his judicial office, subject only to the law. This indicates a need for security of tenure of judicial office, freedom from governmental pressure, freedom from financial anxieties, immunity from suit by private litigants, and the highest level of integrity and impartiality in the discharge of the judicial office. These issues are discussed next. On the basis of the foregoing analysis the author concludes that the independence of Nigeria's judiciary is seriously deficient. Notes, ref.