A CRITIQUE OF THE POWERS OF ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN NIGERIA


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Abstract
Table of Contents
Table of Statute
Table of Cases
List of Abbreviation

CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1.      Background of the Study
1.2.      Statement of the Research Problems
1.3.      Aims and Objectives of the Research
1.4.      Justifications of the Research
1.5.      Scope and Limitation of the Research
1.6       Research Methodology
1.7.      Literature Review
1.8.      Organizational lay out

CHAPTER TWO: HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE OFFICE AND POWERS OF ATTORNEY GENERAL IN NIGERIA
2.1       Introduction
2.2       Who is An Attorney General?
2.3       Nature of the Powers of Attorney General
2.4.      Historical  Development  of  the  Office  and  Powers  of  Atorney General in Nigeria
2.5.      Conceptual Clarification of Key Terms
2.5.1    The Concept of Administration of Justice/dispensation of Justice defined
2.5.2    Public Interest Defined
2.5.3    The Interest of Justice Defined
2.5.4    Abuse of Court Process Defined
2.6       Conclusion

CHAPTER THREE: APPRAISAL OF THE POWERS OF ATTORNEY GENERAL UNDER THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION
3.1.      Introduction
3.2.      Powers of Attorney General in Civil cases
3.3.      Powers of Attorney General in criminal cases
3.3.1    Powers of the Attorney General to Institute and undertake Criminal Proceedings
3.3.1.1 Delegation of the Powers of Attorney General
3.3.2    Powers of Attorney General to take over and continue Criminal Proceedings
3.4.3    Powers of Attorney General to discontinue Criminal Proceedinds (Nolle prosequi)
3.5       Conclusion

CHAPTER FOUR: JUDICIAL REVIEW OF POWERS OF ATTORNEY GENERAI IN NIGERIA
4.1       Introduction
4.2.      Arguments for the judicial review of the powers of Attorney General in Nigeria
4.3.      Arguments  against  judicial  review  of  the  powers  of  Attorney General in Nigeria
4.4.      Judicial Attitude to Applications for the Review of the Powers of Attorney General in Nigera
4.5.      Matters  Arising  From            the  Judicial  Attitude  to  Applications  for Judicial Review in Nigeria
4.6       Conclusion:

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION.
5.1       Summary:
5,2       Findings:
5.2       Recommendations
Bibliography




ABSTRACTS:


In the system of Administration of Justice in Nigeria, Attorney General occupies a very prominent position. As the Chief Law Officer and Minister for Justice, Attorney General exercises a controlling authority in the conduct of any civil proceeding affecting government or any of its agencies. For example, no garnishee order affecting public funds in the hand of any public functionary or any corporation or organization shall be executed without the prior consent of the Attorney General. In Criminal Cases, the Attorney General as the Chief Law prosecutor for the state, has power to institute and undertake, take over and continue or discontinue any criminal proceeding instituted by him or any other person or authority what so ever. In the exercise of the aforementioned powers, the Supreme Court of Nigeria had held that the Attorney General is a master unto himself, law unto himself, and is under no control – judicial or otherwise whatsoever. The exercise of his discretion in that regard is final and irreversible by even his appointer and is subject only to public condemnation in the court of public opinion. This dissertation however, questions the validity of the above position of the Supreme Court based on the general character of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the historical development of the powers of Attorney General under the same Constitution, the

Nigeria‟s local circumstances and the Rules of  Interpretation of statute/

Constitutional provisions. The dissertation therefore, calls for the judicial restatement of the law and makes recommendations for the reform of the Constitution in such a manner that would ensure the redemption of the office of Attorney General from the exclusive control of the executives and curve political influence on the performance of his duties. The dissertation also questions the constitutionality of the requirement for the consent of Attorney General in the enforcement of garnishee orders against government or any of its agencies under S. 84(1 & 3) of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act Cap.S6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and calls for the repeal of the same.




CHAPTER ONE:

GENERAL INTRODUCTION:


1.1 Background of the Study: The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for the office of Attorney General and bestowed him with the powers of public prosecution which shall be exercised in the best interest of the State.1 The powers were granted on the legal assumption that the independence, strength of character, professionalism and integrity of the Attorney General would not allow him to misuse the powers for any whimsical purpose whatsoever. That lofty expectation of the law notwithstanding, democratic experiences in Nigeria, has shown that the officer usually styled as the Minister/Commissioner of justice of the federation or the states as the case may be and invariably appointed on the basis of political consideration; has typically proved to be more of a political Minister/Commissioner than an officer of law committed to upholding the demand of justice for which his powers were in the first place granted.2 From the first, second, third to the present fourth Republic, Nigeria‟s Democratic history is replete with instances where the powers of Attorney General where used for whimsical purpose such as the prosecution of political opponents upon trumped up charges and the discontinuance of prosecution instituted by the police and other law enforcement agencies against government‟s party activists solely on political ground. In fact, it was this abuse of powers by the Federal and Regional Attorneys General of the First Republic which led to the rejected recommendation of the 1979 Constitution Drafting Committee that the powers of the Attorney General to take.....


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