Interrogating the justice system in a multi-ethnic state: a study of selected Yoruba video drama
Law is a major instrument of maintaining cohesion in any given society. Its formulation, codification or unification as well as interpretation are major factors in determining the credibility of the criminal justice system and the level of legal conformity. The letter and spirit of the law are defeated when its formation, modulations, interpretation and enforcement are not products of the history and cultural values of a people. The focus in this paper therefore is an examination of the administration of justice in Nigeria through a textual analysis of selected Nigerian Video Drama. How do these characters treat or respond to law? Do judicial or legal officers (lawyers, judges, police, and prison officials) conform to rules in the discharge of their duties? Is there any consciousness of legality in the text? These and other questions are answered in this paper. Combining the historical and realist theories, this paper affirmed that if the justice system of a nation does not grow from its cultural values and history, the level of compliance would be reduced. The paper also established that judicial officers’ ethical values would be grossly influenced and affected by a legal system that is not a product of national consciousness. The paper concluded that when a particular legal system within a multi-ethnic nation ignores its historic relevance, the law of that nation dies and the resulting consequence is legal anarchy.
Keywords: Letter of Law, spirit of law, justice, video drama, realist