THE evasion of justice by the elites among

THE
RULE OF LAW IN NIGERIA- A MYTH

ABSTRACT

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

In
the Nigerian society, it is very obvious that the 1999 constitution as amended
is presumed to uphold the principle of the rule of law in all her biddings.
This principle is deeply enshrined in the aforementioned constitution but it is
evident that it is not enforced as “leaders or politicians or elites” are
argued to have an upper hand or impunity when it comes to the fulfillment of
the dictates of the law. The principle of rule of law which stipulates equality
of all persons before the law regardless of one’s societal status or position
is debated to be a myth in the Nigerian society though it is a reality in many
advanced states. The Nigerian rulers are alleged to have sworn to uphold the
law and its dictates but fail to do this as there are cases of unfair trials,
unequal levelled punishments, and evasion of justice by the elites among
others.

This
work seeks to evaluate the principle of rule of law in the Nigerian society and
will further unravel the ambiguity regarding the former being a myth or reality
with regards to the provisions of the constitution and upholding the principle
of equity.

INTRODUCTION

Law
can be described as a necessary evil which is binding on human conduct and
actions in a society, when deviated from levels or dictates punishments on
defaulters and also its rules are formulated by an appropriate law making body.
Noticeably, laws exist due to the reality of crimes and its prevalence in the
society. According to McLean and McMillan (2003), law means the body of rules
enforced by any sovereign state. This implies that laws are regulations
established and prescribed by autonomous states in order to guide the conduct
of the citizenry or populace.

Laws
are attributed to fall under either legal positivism or legal naturalism based
on their stance and dictates (McLean and McMillan, 2003). Legal positivism is
formulated by an act of legislators whereas legal naturalism is anchored on
religious revelation and it can also be called natural law (McLean and McMillan,
2003).

Rule
of law can be described as a principle or doctrine that stipulates that all
persons are equal before the law regardless of social status or position in the
society. It is of the view that both the rulers and the ruled are to be treated
equally under the law regardless of differing levels of affluence. Garner
(2004) posits that rule of law is defined as a legal principle of general
application sanctioned by the recognition of authorities, usually expressed in
the form of maxim or logical proposition. Dicey (1961) posits that the rule of
law connotes the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed
to the influence of arbitrary power, and excludes the existence of
arbitrariness, of prerogative, or even of wide discretionary authority on the
part of the government. To him it also means equality before the law, or the
equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of the land administered by
the ordinary courts (Dicey, 1961).

LAW IN NIGERIA

Law
in Nigeria comes into play based on what is stipulated in the Nigerian
constitution. The constitution can be described as a legal document embodying
principles, norms, rules, regulations and laws that are binding on and also
regulates activities of a group of people, the government and the state in
general. Nigeria has evolved from, and revolves around series of policies and
constitutional changes or amendments overtime (colonial and post-colonial era).
The current constitution which is the 1999 Nigerian constitution as amended embodies
the provision of laws considered to be binding on the citizenry irrespective of
societal status.

Arguably, the
constitutional provisions is binding on all facets of human conduct including
the rights attached to citizens on being human. Though the rule of law is
considered to be under the umbrella of natural law as it is a principle that
upholds that all are equal in the eyes of the law.

Comments are closed.