AN OVERVIEW OF SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CUSTOMARY ARBITRATION AND NATIVE COURTS AS PLATFORMS OF ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE IN PRE- COLONIAL NIGERIA
At the pre-colonial times, a traditional mode of adjudication existed in plural forms; representing the various ethnic formations and rules in Nigeria. This ranges from Customary Arbitration to native courts; purpose of both platforms remains however the administration of justice. In African states, arbitration grew from customary law.Â In traditional African societies, parties to a dispute often resort to customary arbitration by submitting their dispute to family heads; chiefs and elders of the community for settlement and the parties will mutually agree to be bound by such decision. Arbitration was used for resolving conflicts then because of its emphasis on moral persuasion and its ability to maintain harmony in human relationship. In a similar vein in the 19th century, before the annexation of Lagos in 1861, the different societies that now form Nigeria and other African countries had their own political systems and their methods of administering justice. There existed â€˜â€˜traditional courtsâ€ where traditional rules were applied against parties, irrespective of whether they were indigenes or foreigners. Â This paper seeks to look into these, establish similarities between customary arbitration and native courts; also establish that Africans have always had their own way rich way of settling disputes, which invariably have been sustained and modified into the modern ways of dispute resolution.Â
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