The delivery of justice is fastest in Borno State — more than any other state in Nigeria, a new report has said.
In what is seen as a first-of its-kind publication, the ranking was based on the capacity of High Courts to make quick the administration of justice across 33 states.
The publication, “Measuring the Pace of Justice through Data– A ranking of State High Courts of Nigeria,” was released by a tech-civic group, Citizens’s Gavel Foundation in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The publication assessed timeliness of justice delivery from 1,388 cases across 33 states, taking samples randomly from 50 cases per state with filing date of judgement and estimated number of legal problems.
The ranking shows that Borno, Katsina, and Kebbi States are top performers with justice delivered within 205, 229 and 365 days respectively.
Meanwhile, Rivers, FCT Abuja and Anambra States have the lowest ranking with justice delivery spanning up to 1,731; 1,431 and 1,206 days respectively.
This is despite the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA, 2015) provides that justice be delivered within 180 days.
Topping the list of states delivering fast-paced justice on civil cases is Katsina State, with justice administered within 167 days while Rivers State is the least state.
With speedy justice delivery on criminal cases, Borno State ranks first as cases are resolved on average within 158 days while Rivers State ranks the lowest with justice delivery spans up to 1,570 days.
The publication said the present insurgency in Borno State may be connected to the state’s success of fast-paced justice dispensation.
Borno State is battling a decade-long terrorist oppression as many have fled the state to seek better life in other states in the Northern region and across the country.
‘Nigeria’s justice delivery system too slow’
The Foundation’s team lead, Nelson Olanipekun, at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, said the publication spoke in depth to the pace of justice delivery in Nigeria through data sourced from the National Judicial Council.
He said a lack of data that measures dispensation of justice had made its delivery “painfully slow.”
“This has turned into a tool that somehow pushes Nigerians to conceding or resulting to various categories of injustice and taking laws into their hands because we lack a fast paced justice delivery system,” he said.
Bemoaning the gaps in Nigeria’s justice delivery system, Mr Olanipekun linked good justice system with economic prosperity.
He, however, pointed out that the ranking was not to discredit any state’s High Court but to help states to seek more creative paths to increasing the pace of justice delivery.
On improving the justice delivery system, the team lead said Nigeria needs to make active other alternative means of justice delivery and traditional mechanisms such as peace resolutions and mediations.
He said this would decongest the number of awaiting-trial cases in courts and bring judges’ efficiency.
He added that deployment of efficiency should also technologically wired as it would improve the pace of justice process.
He called for good policy change to aid the delivery system.
A representative of OSIWA, Tsema Okoye, said Nigeria should ensure that access to justice equates access to remedies.
To achieve that, she said, efforts from non-state actors are necessary.