THE IMPACT OF JUDICIAL SYSTEM ON CRIME REDUCTION IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
Crime is one of the human security problems confronting humanity across the world. Nations have grappled to contain the rising incidence of homicide, armed robbery, and kidnap, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, illegal gun running and host of others. According to the report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2011, homicides globally were estimated at 468,000 and more than a third (36%) was estimated to have occurred in Africa, 31% in the Americas, 27% in Asia, 5% in Europe and 1% in the tropical Pacific region. Continent of Africa has been on the foremost on global statistics on crime. It was revealed that South Africa and Nigeria have recorded high incidents of violent and non-violent crimes in recent times. Incidents of murder increased from 15 609 murders in 2011/12 to 16 259 murders in 2012/13 in South Africa, with increase of 650 murder cases or a 4,2% increase when comparing the total numbers of murders with the previous year as revealed by Africa Check, (2013). The same report also revealed that, murders and attempted murders that take place during aggravated robbery or inter-group conflict (such as gang or taxi violence), and vigilantism make up between 35% and 45% of all murders and attempted murders.
Nigeria is currently caught in the web of crime dilemma, manifesting in the convulsive upsurge of both violent and non-violent crimes. Notable in this regard are the rising incidents of armed robbery, assassination and ransom-driven kidnapping, which are now ravaging the polity like a tsunami and spreading a climate of fears and anxieties about public safety. The sudden increase in crime has been ongoing as Nigeria has been on the global crime map since 1980s. These throes of crime for decades are traceable to poverty, poor parental upbringing, and greed amongst the youth; get rich quick mentality, inadequate crime control model of national security among others.
The judiciary is vested with the power of upholding the rule of law by interpreting, construing and applying the laws of the land in the resolution of disputes and act as checks on the two other arms while also adjudicating on contentious issues. The establishment of other agencies like State Security Service (SSS), Independent Corrupt Practices and other offences Commission (ICPC), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is a laudable effort towards crime prevention and control, their narrow focus and few personnel inhibits them from functioning in a broad day to day manner like the police. Some of them apart from the State Security Service that is consigned to the gathering of intelligence reports don’t exist even at the State or Local Government levels. They leave the day to day policing of the entire country more at the door-steps of the police.
The ability of the Nigerian police and other security agencies in the country to effectively prevent crime has often been called to question. As a matter of fact, many have lost faith in the security agencies going by the incessant increase in the crime rate. Crime prevention basically involves the disruption of mechanisms, which cause crime events. In other words, the central question to crime prevention is how to disrupt the causes of crime Okunola (2002). Crime prevention involves the community, government as well as individuals; crime control involves the whole of the criminal justice system, that is, the police, courts and prisons.