Transforming civil justice to improve people-centred justice and facilitate the ease of doing business in Ogun State, Nigeria

HiiL and the Ministry of Justice of Ogun State to present a strategy with recommendations for the effective implementation of game-changing pathways that could better serve people-centred justice in both Ogun State and across Nigeria more broadly.

The Hague and Abeokuta, Nigeria – A group of high-level justice practitioners convened by HiiL and led by both the Governor and Attorney General of Ogun State will announce a civil justice transformation strategy following several months of stakeholder exchanges and a deep dive report. The strategy offers recommendations for addressing people’s justice problems in Ogun State, an economic and commercial hub neighbouring Lagos, and is the result of expert research, collected data, and a Civil Justice Transformation Lab (CJTL) organised by HiiL.

“We challenged ourselves to step away from the business-as-usual approaches that may not be sufficient in addressing the justice needs of the average person in Ogun State,” said Akingbolahan Adeniran, the Attorney General of Ogun State. “At the forefront of our minds were the frustrations and hurdles experienced by everyday Nigerians and Ogun people specifically.”

Recognising that business and justice are inextricably linked, justice sector leaders met both virtually and in person over the course of three dialogues to examine how embracing a people-centred approach to justice would strengthen the ways people and businesses prevent and resolve their most pressing justice needs. 

Land, neighbour, and family disputes were identified as the top civil justice issues affecting Ogun people. For the group of stakeholders, addressing the need to resolve the issues in these areas led them to develop four Civil Justice Transformation Goals – each with indicators and targets to quantify what could realistically be achieved within a two-to-three-year timeframe.

“It is our vision for Ogun State to be the safest place to live, to work and to do business,” said Prince Adedapo Oluseun Abiodun, the Governor of Ogun State. “This Civil Justice Transformation process focused on building stronger communities, elevating trust in government, and promoting equitable economic growth.”

The state-level CJTL consisted of 25 stakeholders including civil justice practitioners, judges, lawyers, academics, and public officials from the Ministry of Justice. 

Launching the Civil Justice Transformation Strategy

An event to announce the strategy will take place soon when leaders from the CJTL and across Nigeria’s justice sector will gather to unveil the transformation strategy. The event will serve to widely communicate the people-centred results that emerged from the Civil Justice Transformation Lab in Ogun State. 

Justice Transformation Labs facilitated by HiiL take a systemic, collaborative, and experimental approach to justice. The process includes combining evidence-based and stakeholder-driven approaches. In Nigeria, the lab series sought to contribute to the broader ambition of Ogun State. Namely, to transform attitudes, promote technology, and deploy (game-changing) activities in the administration of civil justice. 

“This launch is the next step to showing the outside world what was done,” said Sam Muller, the CEO of HiiL. “And it sets out next steps, including arranging a task force structure to continue this process and establishing innovation labs to develop solutions that can be financed in ways to help deliver on the four goals, 19 indicators and three pathways outlined in the strategy.”

Justice Needs and Satisfaction

As a satellite state of Lagos – Nigeria’s largest commercial hub – Ogun State plays an important role in the economic and justice development of Africa’s most populous nation. It is estimated that Nigerians deal with 25 million legal problems each year including a growing number of land disputes. To further understand the impact of such disputes, HiiL conducted a Justice and Needs Satisfaction (JNS) survey in 2018.

More than 6,100 Nigerians across 18 states shared their justice experiences and how their justice problems often adversely affect the ease of doing business. Data from the JNS shows that roughly 17% of Nigerians reported land disputes as having a severe impact on their lives. Neighbour and family disputes, as well as crime, round out their top justice-related concerns. The full results of the study can be seen in HiiL’s Justice Dashboard, an interactive portal that visualises the data. 

A Call to Action

For Ogun State, the Civil Justice Transformation Strategy aims to serve as a practical guide towards developing new models and decentralising approaches to realise people-centred justice. This includes financing and implementing game-changing services to make Ogun State’s justice sector affordable, accessible, and easy to understand. Additionally, a Deep Dive report accompanying the strategy contains data on justice needs and research on “what works.”

“The success of the strategy will depend on a cohort of dedicated individuals taking personal and collective responsibility for follow-up and implementation,” said Attorney General Adeniran. “With this strategy, Ogun State renews its commitment to the global community striving to achieve Sustainable Development Goal, target 16.3: equal access to justice for all by 2030.”

Both the CJT Strategy and Deep Dive report are available on HiiL.org under the project Civil Justice Transformation in Ogun State, Nigeria. More on the Civil Justice Transformation Strategy will be announced and shared following the public launch.

The CJT project is made possible with support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ogun State Ministry of Justice, leaders involved in the Civil Justice Transformation Lab in Ogun State, and Roes Partners.

Further Reading

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Contact information

Ijeoma A. Nwafor
Country Representative, Justice Transformation (Nigeria)
T: +31 (0) 70 762 0700 | E: ijeoma.nwafor@hiil.org 

HiiL – user-friendly justice:

HiiL (The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law) is a social enterprise devoted to user- friendly justice. That means justice that is accessible and effective. We will ensure that by 2030, 150 million people will be able to prevent or resolve their most pressing justice problems. We will do this by stimulating innovation and scaling what works best. Data and evidence is central in all that we do. We are friendly rebels based in The Hague, the City of Peace and Justice, and focused on concrete improvements in the lives of people. 

(HiiL, Muzenstraat 120, 2511 WB, The Hague, The Netherlands, www.HiiL.org)