Drawing on data from a cross-section of postcolonial nations across the world and on a detailed case-study of Nigeria, this book examines the experience of recreating law and justice in postcolonial societies. The author's definition of postcolonial societies includes countries that have emerged from external colonial rule, such as Nigeria and India as well as societies that have overcome internal dominations, such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Suggesting that restructuring a system of law and justice must involve a consideration of the traditions, customs and native laws of a society as well as the official, often foreign rules, this volume examines how ethnically complex nations resolve disputes, whether criminal or civil, through a combination of formal and informal social control systems. This book is unique in its concern with how the average citizens of a postcolonial society can play more active parts in their nation's law and justice, and how modern and increasingly urban societies can learn from indigenous peoples and institutions, which are more informal in their approaches to problem-solving. The concluding chapter looks at the possibility of an increased role for civil as opposed to criminal response in the social control system of a postcolonial society.
Nonso Okafo is Professor in the Criminal Justice Graduate Program of Norfolk State University, Virginia. Before taking his PhD at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he practised as a lawyer in Nigeria. He is the author of Law and Justice in Post-British Nigeria (2002).
'Nonso Okafo’s ambitious work addresses the tasks of reconstructing postcolonial legalities in ways which take "customary law" seriously. Okafo offers plentiful provocations. Many a comparative narrative and prescription will evoke lively contestation; however, no one may call into question the courage of conviction that animates this book.' Upendra Baxi, University of Warwick, UK