Justice Needs and Satisfaction in Nigeria

Realising people-centred justice begins with data. In 2022, HiiL surveyed 6,573 adults across Nigeria to understand their justice needs. This builds on an initial study of over 6,000 Nigerians published in 2018. Both Justice Needs and Satisfaction studies examine the legal needs and justice journeys that people take to realise justice in their daily lives. The data and information have served as a base for rethinking Nigeria’s justice sector.

Justice is not simply about the number of reported crimes or the number of court cases and laws. Justice is about common people; their daily lives, their pain and frustration, and the justice outcomes they gain or fail to receive. 

The latest Justice Needs and Satisfaction (JNS) study presents the justice experiences of 6,573 randomly selected Nigerian adults. The data and findings outline the legal problems they encounter, their impact, and the steps people take to address their legal needs. 

“The 2023 JNS Report report is an essential tool for understanding the needs of people in Nigeria, identifying areas that require improvement, and monitoring the progress of various justice initiatives currently underway.“

Highlights from the 2023 study

  • Approximately 81% of Nigerians experience at least one legal problem in the past year, with many facing multiple problems.
  • 55% of all legal problems were resolved either partially or completely, with about 82% of those resolutions deemed fair or very fair. 
  • The most common legal problem categories experienced by Nigerians include disputes with neighbours, domestic violence, land disputes, crime, and housing problems.
  • Approximately 86% of Nigerians with a legal problem take some form of action to address their most serious problem.
  • When addressing their most pressing legal problems, people often rely on their inner circle, frequently seeking help from family and friends.
  • Beyond one’s social network, the most frequent sources of help include the police (11%), community/traditional leaders (8%), religious authorities (6%), landlords (6%), local public authorities (5%), and lawyers (5%).


Both JNS studies provide a people-centred perspective on justice in Nigeria. This study was financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of The Netherlands and conducted with assistance from Communication & Marketing Research Group (CMRG) Limited.

For an interactive perspective of the data, visit HiiL’s Justice Dashboard





Nigerians experience at least one legal problem in 2022


interviewed in 2018 and 2023