Back to RJ Archive

Relevance of African Traditional Jurisprudence on Control, Justice, and Law: A Critique of the Igbo Experience.

Okafo, Nonso
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies. 2(1):37-62.

Native African ideas and models of law and justice are best suited for social control in African societies. Africans should therefore prefer the ideas and models for many reasons, including the fact that Native African systems of law and justice derive fundamentally from African societies, rather than foreign cultures. This paper uses the Igbo (Nigeria) experience to illustrate the need for African societies to advocate, promote, and expand the uses of
their indigenous justice and social control philosophies and
systems despite their respective colonial experiences. The
governments of modern African States, as well as private
individuals and groups, have important contributions to make
toward these objectives. Based on this author’s years of studying the Igbo systems of justice, social control, and law, this paper presents illustrative scientific evidence to demonstrate that the indigenous Igbo justice system, like many other Native African justice systems, remains potent for social control in Africa. Despite the potentials that the indigenous Igbo justice system presents, the lack of official government support for the system remains the greatest challenge facing the indigenous system. Postcolonial
Nigeria’s continued descent to a condition of anomie exemplifiesthe heightened need for Nigerians, indeed Africans, and their leaders to recognize their indigenous social control systems as superior and preferable to foreign system. (Author’s abstract)


AbstractAfricaCourtsIndigenous JusticePoliceRJ in Schools
Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now