FAIR HEARING AS AN INDISPENSABLE ELEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

The exercise of the presidential pardon power has generated periodic controversies and elicited various reform proposals in Nigeria. The power is often exercised in ways clearly at odds with the Nigerian Society’s interest, including granting pardons to facilitate narrow partisan interest and other personal ends. Sections 175 and 212 of the Nigerian Constitution, which codifies in Nigeria the sovereign pardon powers available in Britain, worsens the problem and fails to provide guidelines or standards for exercising the power. The need to rationalize and curb pardons has raised significant concerns among legal practitioners as to whether the pardon power is a pre-or post-conviction instrument, with the Nigerian judiciary weighing in on the side of the post-conviction argument as a way of making pardons fit unto a retributive and equitable system of distributing justice to offenders. Using doctrinal research methods, this paper examined the total amplitude of the power within the narrow confines of this riposte-provoking issue, especially in the light of the text of the Constitution and the justification or otherwise of the position of the Nigerian judiciary. Hence, these unrestricted authorities of the President and the governors must be checked by constitutional amendments. This is by the provisions and entry of the criteria that the President, about the Council of State, would have to consider before the pardon’s establishment. This project comprises five chapters; Chapter One is a general introduction to the work. Chapter two deals with a constitutional review of the power to pardon in some nations. Chapter three envisages the power to pardon under the Nigerian Constitution. Chapter Four looked at the grant of presidential pardons in some jurisdictions. Chapter Five summarizes, recommends, and concludes the entire work.

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