Juvenile Justice Administration in Nigeria: A Case Study of Kogi State

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ABSTRACT

Juvenile Justice System is a special track of the criminal justice system. Essentially, the system is expected to be child-friendly in form and application. The need for a child-friendly justice system is borne out of the realization that children are vulnerable and that subjecting a child offender to the full weight of the criminal justice system will have an adverse effect on the child and society in general. The general criminal justice system, including the juvenile justice system in Nigeria, is retributive and punitive, contrary to current trends, which emphasize rehabilitation, reformation and re-integration as the main goal. In view of the importance for which the promotion and protection of the child’s rights avail the world, children’s issues have assumed global interest and attention. To this end, juvenile justice administration is no longer a matter within the exclusive domain of national governments. Therefore, the Nigerian juvenile justice system must be measured against the parameters set by United Nations and other Continental or Regional organizations. Historically, Nigeria was at the forefront of Nations committed to the right and welfare of the child. Nigeria enacted the Children and Young Persons Act in 1943, subsequently adopted in Northern Nigeria in 1958. These laws predate any international instruments on the rights and welfare of the child. Similarly, Nigeria was among the first countries in the world to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1991 and domesticated its provisions by passing the Child Rights Act in 2003. This development encouraged the adoption of the act as State law in some states in Nigeria. The promulgation of the Child Rights Act exposed the provisions of the Children and Young Persons Act to systemic weakness and problems undermining its main objective, thereby provoking a discourse. In comparison to the standard set by international instruments, it became obvious that the legal and institutional framework involved in juvenile justice administration in Nigeria was ineffective and greatly undermined by an army of problems and challenges. Consequently, this research examined the provisions of the laws on juvenile justice administration in Nigeria and the institutions responsible for its enforcement to make the system responsive, effective and result driven.

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Juvenile Justice Administration in Nigeria - A Case Study of Kogi State