Confronting the Problems of Colonialism, Ethnicity and the Nigerian Legal System: The Need for a Paradigm Shift

Melvin Leslie Mbao, Olusegun Michael Osinibi


Nigeria secured independence from Britain over fifty years ago but prevailing socio-political turmoil and economic woes in Nigeria are attributed to colonialism and the forced amalgamation of the diverse ethnic units constituting Nigeria. The need to redress the long-standing marginalization of certain units due to colonialism accounts for the entrenchment of the Federal Character principle in the Nigerian Constitution. However, ethnic discontent and intolerance still pervades Nigeria while the oil curse has led to Nigeria’s categorization as a rentier state. This paper argues that notwithstanding the effects of colonialism, Nigeria, with its vast endowment of human and natural resources can overcome the contemporary challenges of intense ethnic conflicts and other socio-economic problems if the Government eschews corruption. The paper also examines the relics of colonial law in Nigerian statutes and legal practice and contends that time-worn British laws in Nigerian statutes need to be jettisoned to accommodate present realities.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n27p168

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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