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Iyabode Ogunniran, ‘A Centurial Legal History of Child Justice Reforms in Nigeria 1914-2014’, 44-68

Article

Published onSep 01, 2015
Iyabode Ogunniran, ‘A Centurial Legal History of Child Justice Reforms in Nigeria 1914-2014’, 44-68

Abstract
This paper analyses the development of child justice during three main periods in Nigeria. From 1914-1943, juvenile delinquency emerged as a distinct social problem; specific laws were enacted relating to children and Reformatory and Industrial Schools were established across the country. From 1943-2003, the colonial masters enacted the Children and Young Persons Ordinance for the treatment of young offenders. After independence in 1960, this remained the law regulating juvenile justice. However, most juvenile offenders were not granted bail by the police and the juvenile court structure and procedure were not protective. Offenders were sent to institutions but extensive research carried out across the country shows that the facilities for rehabilitation were non-existent at such institutions. This paper argues that the period, 2003- 2014, has recorded positive improvement. The Child Rights Act 2003 introduces key reforms such as codified legal rights for children, diversion, Centralised Children Police Unit, Family Courts and two novel non-custodial disposition methods. The author recommends the implementation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child Observations to fully protect child offenders in Nigeria.

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