Criminal Justice in Nigeria: Forensic Science as a Panacea

V. O. Aigbokhaevbo, E. A. Iyamu-Ojo


The Nigerian criminal justice system is assailed with maladies such as corruption,
delayed prosecution of offenders, poor funding, tardy investigation techniques,
ill equipped court rooms and irregular training of judicial offi cers. Shoddy
investigation techniques have resulted in the existence of a skewed investigation
procedure primarily focused on extraction of confessional statements to secure
convictions. This often culminates in miscarriage of justice, extra judicial
killings of suspects or incarceration of innocent persons and the discharge
of criminals. These inconsistencies have enthroned a culture of mistrust and
disrespect for the criminal justice system in Nigeria. Jungle justice, voodoo
and compounding are the preferred modes of resolving criminal disputes by the
largely illiterate populace. To restore the dignity, dependability and effi ciency
of the criminal justice system in Nigeria with a view to reducing the incidence of
human rights abuses and extra judicial killings associated with the investigation
process, increased reliance on forensic science has been advocated. This
article analyses the lapses in the tripartite organs of the criminal justice system,
with emphasis on the Nigerian Police Force as the principal law enforcement
agency, with a view to advocating enhanced utilisation of forensic science to
bridge the gap in criminal investigation processes.

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