Saturday, 25th February 2017

The goal: legal/law-enforcement systems that mete out justice and uphold human rights


The present situation: most law enforcement systems are dysfunctional, consequently billions are denied justice and legal protection


The answer: accountability of law enforcement systems to society


The method: inform and expose for legal empowerment


The vehicle: modern technology


The model: financially sustainable


An example: Pre-trial detention can sometimes last for years, with some detainees serving longer pre-trial imprisonment than their maximum possible sentence. During the course of an average year, approximately 15 million people are detained pre-trial. The current 3.3 million pre-trial detainees represent an awful waste of human potential that comes at a great cost to governments, taxpayers, families and communities, particularly since an estimated 10,000 of them die each month. Modern technology can be used to inexpensively ensure police, prosecutors, judges, NGOs, defendants, defendants' supporters, etc. understand due process regulations and how they apply to pre-trial detention. Public money is saved by reducing pre-trial detention costs. Overcrowding in prisons and the socio-economic costs of pre-trial detention are avoided.


Our strategies to combat such costly injustice are part of a long-overdue paradigm shift in an industry that is often all too well endowed, but short on results. They advance humanity in that they focus on changing legal systems through accountability - accountability that comes from transparency and information provision. They are innovative, dynamic, flexible, solution-oriented and cost-effective. 


We welcome enquiries - email: info[at]




Nigerian Legal System


The Nigerian justice system – which comprises four distinct branches: English law, Common law, Customary law and, in the predominantly Moslem north of the country, Sharia law – is in dire decline. Once the pride of Africa and the cradle of lawyers and judges that went on to serve with distinction across sub-Saharan Africa and even as judges in international courts, Nigerian justice is now often perverted such that it is the complainant who ends up in the dock, while the guilty are let off scot free.

More than 700 prisoners currently languish on death row – some 140 have been there for more than 10 years and a number for over 20 years – many of whom were not given fair trials. Furthermore, human rights are frequently violated by, for example, roadside strip searches, unlawful detention, torture to extract confessions and, most shocking of all, extra-judicial executions (the murder) of detainees unable or unwilling to pay bribes. These and other heinous acts committed by the police are not investigated or punished.

Cause of the malaise

One cause of this legal system malaise is the decentralisation of and decline in the standard of legal training; but others include low pay for lawyers and judges, inadequate infrastructure and the consequences of decades of being held in thrall, by pressure and inducements, to the changing military regimes. More seriously than this, however, is the charge that legal system decline parallels the moral decline in the country as a whole. Nigerian society is said to be far less concerned about the rule of law, ideals, ethics and morality; aspiring instead to material gain predicated on the belief that everyone can be bought, including those who administer the law. Consequently, cases end up being repeatedly postponed; case files stolen, lost or sold; evidence tampered with by police, prosecutors and even judges; and the accused locked up in dreadful conditions pending trial for longer than their sentence would be if found guilty. Nigerian prisons are often overcrowded – with inmates sleeping two to a bed or on the bare floor – disease ridden, unhygienic, and poorly supplied with food and medicines.

According to Amnesty International’s 2008 report, “The judiciary fails to ensure that all inmates are tried within reasonable time; indeed, most inmates wait years for a trial. When inmates are convicted, most courts do not inform them of their right to appeal. Nor does the judiciary guarantee that all suspects are offered legal representation. Few of the courts take the necessary steps to end the use of evidence elicited as a result of torture. In breach of national and international law, the judiciary does not guarantee fair trial standards even in the case of minors.”

In some states, however, there has been some improvement. Lagos state amended its Criminal Procedures Act, prohibiting the rather odd practice of arresting third parties in lieu of suspects, and requiring police to videotape their interviews of suspects or conduct them in the presence of a lawyer. In addition, several states set up legal aid services, albeit with limited funding and of dubious capacity and independence.

Huge challenge

Unfortunately, changing this rather desperate situation is proving to be a huge challenge, not least because human rights defenders and journalists critical of the government face intimidation, and official intolerance towards the media has increased. The latter is manifested by police raids on media offices, the closing down of TV stations, threats against, beatings and even killings of journalists by police and security forces.

Thus, like many other legal systems in the developing world, the Nigerian legal system is dysfunctional through being riddled with corruption and violence, and it is this that retards the nation. This can be changed, but only by exposing such systems to public scrutiny so that change can be effected.

You can help us change this. Contact us now. Awareness, transparency and accountability change the law-society interface and dynamics, so that fair trials and equality before the law can become a reality through societal pressure. You can donate to our work here:


Fair Trial Poll

Fair Trial

What do you consider to be the chances of getting a fair trial in your country?

Less than 25%
Between 26% and 50%
Between 76% and 90%
Between 51% and 75%
More than 90%
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1 Votes left

Origin of Crime Poll

Fear of Crime by Whom?

In the developing world, which crimes do you think are feared the most: those committed by ordinary citizens or those committed by law enforcement agencies?

Law enforcement agencies through violence, corruption and abuse of power.
Ordinary citizens
Add a new response!
» Go to poll »
1 Votes left

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10: "Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him."



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