Eurocentric Perception of Pre-Colonial Africa Justice Administration Process
Every society has its own methods of controlling the social order to achieve a decorous culture; hence the essence of the legal framework cannot be denied. So, the criminal justice system delivers among other things, corrective procedure by which social deviants are brought in conformity with societal norms.
The African society is not an exception to this precept and in fact an epitome of operative customary criminal justice system, which though largely unwritten before the advent of colonialism, integrated a lush African culture unto its civilization. The post-independence era of most African countries however, bestowed utter aversion to these hitherto entrenched opulent customary criminal justice administration, downrightly reducing the system to nothing including those of the Nigerian customary criminal law.
Influenced by the received English law system, most postcolonial African countries are currently faced with the question of reconciling contradicting and often negating foreign law enforcement methods. The negative attitudes towards the African customary law practices have naturally stemmed from the lack of genuine efforts by the postcolonial African States to manage or resolve the unconventionalities for the overall good of the people, aggravating social instability stemming from breakdown of moral values; personal discontent, alienation, and anxieties of rampant conflict situations.
Nigeria, while not by any means the only postcolonial African State in this situation, typifies immersed brashness of imperialists Eurocentrism that is sequestered in primordial convictions of the Western world. Whereas, successive postcolonial governments have ignored to fervently resist negative tolerance of African indigenous law enforcement and social control mechanisms; thus, the native law systems have persisted and remain widely practiced throughout the continent.
This article hence aims to discuss remodeling of law enforcement in postcolonial Africa to reflect the uniqueness of the indigenous peoples, to remedy foreign abhorrence of the African justice process in insolence of preserving the bath-water after throwing away the baby.
The fields of criminal justice administration and particularly criminology only appreciably developed in the recent years. The main concentration as a consequence, being in the English speaking countries and Western European countries that presaged a state of western dominance of especially the historical criminology, making the western countries to pride themselves of many patterns of work in some areas of these fields.
In Britain for example there are a great number of documented commentaries that relate to the history of crime and crime control (see Emsley, 2002; Gattrell et. al., 1980; Godfrey, 1999). Conversely, the dearth of criminological writings is a stumbling block to the African continent, even if there have been a marked change, as several authors have begun to advance this field (See Ebbe (ed.) 1996, 2000; Onwudiwe, 2000). Yet, the historical criminology of Africa is under-researched.
Additionally, penmanship of pre-colonial African history, especially those of sub-Saharan West Africa were largely ignored by mainstream academia since the authors that contributed to the field (for example, Karenga, Diop, Walker) were (at best) acclaimed for limited inquiry into Black (African) history. Whereas advances that paralleled …