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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The right to freedom of religion and the search for justice through the occult and paranormal in Nigeria
Author:Nwauche, E.S.ISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:African Journal of International and Comparative Law
Volume:16
Issue:1
Pages:35-55
Language:English
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:magic
witchcraft
legal procedure
freedom of religion
Link:http://www.heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/afjincol16&id=39&collection=journals&index=
Abstract:In Nigeria the continuing widespread belief in the occult and the paranormal, notwithstanding the fact that such belief has been legislatively prohibited or judicially regarded as unreasonable, impacts on the administration of justice, especially the search for justice. The Nigerian legal system is contradictory in its treatment of the occult and the paranormal because of a lack of understanding and application of the content of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion contained in chapter four, section 38, of the 1999 Constitution. On the one hand, the practice of the occult and the paranormal is criminalized. This may lead to the denial of justice and a threat to the administration of justice system, as in the case of defences to murder and other crimes based on a belief in witchcraft and other paranormal phenomena. Citizens, who react in many ways to a perceived attack of the paranormal, like witchcraft, are not adequately protected by the judiciary. On the other hand, the belief in the efficacy and use of certain aspects of the occult and the paranormal, such as juju and oracles, is recognized by the Nigerian judiciary as forming the fulcrum of some forms of customary arbitration that rely on oath taking. The critical issue is that the Nigerian legal system ought to recognize the widespread belief in the occult and the paranormal even if it doubts their existence and reality. This is the obligation imposed by section 38 of the Constitution. However, the obligation is not absolute, since the internal and general limitation of its content ensures that the criminal aspects of the manifestation of the paranormal are denied constitutional protection. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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