History Of Nigerian Legal System

Nigerian Law History

The history of Nigerian law is interwoven with the evolution of the Nigerian legal system. The geographical expression that has become Nigeria (The Federal Republic of Nigeria) consisted of a host of indigenous, autonomous communities with their unique socio-cultural and political identities. They had their traditional systems for basic law and order including the administration of justice. The rules that governed them were organic customs that evolved with changes in their relations, ideologies, and aspirations – there was no organised legislative system.

The present Nigerian legal system is a relic of the century-old British imperialism that brought about the imposition of alien English legal system on Nigerian traditional legal structures and institutions. Their organic norms and values were thus largely displaced. The history of Nigerian law as we have it today, dates back to 1862 when Lagos was created a British colony. In that same year, a court was established there, and five statutes (called “Ordinances”) were applicable to the colony.

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