Judicial Attitudes to Corruption in Nigeria: Passivism, Activism or ‘Pragmactivism’?

Authors Olaolu S Opadere

ISSN: 2521-2613
Affiliations: Lecturer, Department of International Law, Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
Source: Africa Nazarene University Law Journal, 2014, Issue 2, p. 1 – 31


The bane of corruption is not new to humanity. However, the high incidence of corruption evident today is a relatively recent phenomenon and is something that has given rise to universal concern, particularly where such exploitative practices occur in and affect developing countries. Corruption is not easily defined and of those definitions that do exist, many are nebulous. However, the effect of corruption is always apparent, overwhelming, and sometimes calamitous; its impact felt and perceived in virtually all sectors of the State or society that it infests. The purpose of this article is to consider the Nigerian Judiciary’s attitude towards the scourge of corruption in terms of three conceptual constructs: passivism, activism and ‘pragmactivism’. These constructs are investigated in the context of their usefulness to the situation in Nigeria and, with this in mind; the article is of the view that ‘pragmactivism’ is the approach most likely to further the Judiciary’s aim of curbing corruption. However, the article proposes that the result of any attempt to curtail corruption is ultimately dependent on the Judiciary’s willingness to first engage in a process of self-discovery and revitalisation. The article also takes a cursory look at the doctrine of separation of powers, as constitutionally entrenched; as well as the connotation, causes and effects of corruption.