People-centred Justice Transformation in Kaduna State

Nigeria’s ‘Centre of Learning’ has launched a statewide strategy which outlines innovative approaches towards addressing people’s justice needs.

Nigeria has been active in the movement towards people-centred justice for several years. Throughout the country, government and community leaders have promoted a vibrant and functional justice system to ensure the security, development, and well-being of Nigerians. Change is underway, particularly in Imo and Ogun states, and now Kaduna State joins the movement towards innovative, affordable and responsive justice delivery.

“This strategy and the Justice Transformation Lab which kick-started it has created opportunities for improving the justice ecosystem in a paradigm-shifting way,” explained Chris Umar, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative and Legal Matters in the Office of the Governor of Kaduna State. « The whole concept behind the document is to improve people-centred justice in the state. We are optimistic that with this document now, we can begin to add activities and see how we can implement this.”

The document articulates a systemic and integrated approach to realising people-centred justice. It is the culmination of a collaborative process known as a Justice Transformation Lab (JTL), a series of topically-focused dialogues. The JTL involved 35 high-level stakeholders representing the formal and informal justice sectors as well as government, private sector and civil society.

“People and businesses are asking justice systems to be better and to deliver justice more effectively,” said Sam Muller, the CEO of HiiL. “If our societies are to reduce violence, tackle corruption, protect the environment, address inequality, and repair broken social contracts, then they will need to revamp justice systems so they respond effectively – and cost-effectively – to people’s needs.”

The strategy offers a roadmap to help resolve people’s justice problems, prevent the recurrence of injustices large and small, and create (new) opportunities for people to participate fully in their societies and economies. 

“It is an ambitious starting point but by no means comprehensive given the complexity of challenges,” said Ijeoma Nwafor, HiiL’s Transformation Country Representative in Nigeria. “Even so, it is a clear reflection of the stakeholders’ unequivocal commitment to the people of Kaduna State.” 

Said one participant: “It doesn’t matter whether you are a man, woman, a Christian, Muslim, or anything else. We all feel the same when encountering justice problems.”

Stakeholders tailored the strategy to focus on the three most urgent justice needs in Kaduna State: crime, police reform, and money disputes. Each priority area was accompanied by target goals, indicators, and pathways to achievement over the next three years. Gamechangers, the unique services or tools that can have the greatest impact towards realising justice transformation goals are also key features of the strategy. 

Financing and implementing game-changing services help make the justice sector affordable, accessible, and easy to understand. Learn more in chapter 6 of our recent Trend Report: Delivering Justice Rigorously

Justice needs across Nigeria 

A Justice Needs & Satisfaction (JNS) survey conducted by HiiL in 2018 helped inform the stakeholder dialogues and eventual strategy. The JNS study involved 6,130 Nigerians across 18 states including Kaduna. It revealed that 83% of people in Kaduna State have experienced at least one legal problem in the past four years. Furthermore, 50% of Nigerians and 71% of Kaduna State people rely on the police as an initial focal point for both preventing and resolving crime-related justice needs.

Nigeria is undergoing a second justice needs study at the moment. This instalment is engaging over 4,500 participants through an electronic online survey (eJNS). The people of Kaduna State will be included in the representative sample thus building on the data gathered in 2018.

The 2022 eJNS provides justice leaders in Kaduna State another opportunity to learn about the current justice needs in the State. It offers a viable opportunity to be responsive to the outcomes that people need most and to ensure sector processes and systems fulfil those outcomes in a user-friendly way.

A nationwide Justice Needs & Satisfaction survey conducted by HiiL in 2018 revealed that 83% of people in Kaduna State have experienced at least one legal problem in the past four years.

As Kaduna State strives for peace, innovative ways towards access to justice can benefit the people and ultimately support improved security. Achieving this requires looking at the justice sector as a whole, creating synergies between justice actors, meeting the expectations of the Kaduna State residents, and introducing more innovation to deliver accessible, timely, affordable and effective justice strategies for the people.

“A good justice system prevents and resolves legal problems,” said Ijeoma. “What really matters is whether people in Kaduna State, and Nigeria more broadly, have access to affordable mechanisms that resolve their problems fairly and allow them to go on with their lives.”

A concrete next step will be the operationalisation of this strategy and implementation of a Justice Innovation Lab (JIL), where a game-changing service or tool will enter a pilot phase to become a potentially sustainable financing model.

Further reading