THE NIGERIAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM’S ABUSE OF CONFESSIONAL STATEMENTS: A CALL FOR JUDICIAL POLICY REFORM
Keywords:Criminal Justice, Confessional Statement, Judicial Policy, Abuse
The prosecution’s responsibility to prove the guilt of an accused person in Nigeria has, over the years, been watered down by the practice of the police extracting confessional statements from accused persons by extrajudicial means. The courts which are supposed to be the last hope of the common citizen or justice appear to be in synergy with the police in its interpretation and application of relevant provisions of statutes geared towards admissibility of coerced confessional statements. This article is a strident call for a reform of the judicial policy with regards to the admissibility of confessional statements in a manner which would clearly discourage the police from abusing the fundamental rights of accused persons in their bid to score a conviction on a coerced confessional statement. The paper adopted the doctrinal methodology by examining confessional statements in Nigeria through the Evidence Act 2011, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, and relevant Judicial interpretation. Relevant legal articles and news reports online which deal with confessional statements in Nigeria and detail abuses of fundamental rights of accused persons were referenced to show documented and prevalent police abuses and violation of citizens’ rights. It concludes with recommendations.