Uyo — Prof. Enefiok Essien, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, has called for review of African justice system to meet the needs of ordinary citizens on the continent.
He made the call at a public lecture entitled, “The Justice Conundrum: Redressing Human Rights Abuses in Africa” on Thursday in Uyo
Essien, represented by Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university, Academics, Prof. Enomfon Akpan, said the call became necessary as current system had failed to meet the needs of ordinary citizens.
According to him, the inability of the judiciary to speed up litigations has contributed to the gross violations of human rights experienced by the ordinary citizens.
Essien added that the failure of the judiciary to quickly resolve disputes was threatening litigation explosion that could overwhelm the judiciary.
“There can be little doubt that the African justice system is failing to meet the needs of the ordinary citizen.
“Courts are overloaded. Delays in litigations are no longer the exception but rather the norm, not only for the poor but also for large corporations.
“The decision to litigate has become a function of cost, not ingenuity.
“Litigation explosion threatens to overwhelm the capacity of our judicial institutions to respond adequately to the needs of our society”, he added.
The professor of law added that there was need for reforms in the domestic judicial system to make the judiciary more effective.
The vice-chancellor stated that the determination of the nation’s leadership to address human right abuses was necessary for the judiciary to impact possitively on the ordinary citizens.
“The use of domestic mechanisms in addressing human rights violations in most African states are ineffective.
Guest lecturer, Prof. Jon Silverman, said one major challenge facing Africa was how to deal with injustice.
Silverman, a research professor in Media and Criminal Justice, University of Bedfordshire, UK, said there was need to make use of the law to engineer social change. (NAN)