AN APPRAISAL OF CUTOMARY ARBITRATION UNDER THE NIGERIAN LAW
Arbitration is a kind of alternative dispute resolution in which a dispute or disagreement between two or more people is referred for settlement to a person or persons other than a court of competent jurisdiction after both parties have been heard in a judicial manner. 4 Arbitration has been compared to litigation more than any other kind of alternative dispute resolution [p. 17]. (Sourdin, 2008). It’s a process in which a third party (person or group) listens to fact and law presentations and makes a conclusion (Randolph, 1973). The natural justice rule [p. 108] is typically expected of the arbitrator. King and coworkers (2009) He is an umpire tasked with settling a disagreement between two parties. If he decides otherwise, he will be operating outside of his authority, thus nullifying the arbitral proceedings. This includes any other honors he may receive. In the West, we think about arbitration in this way. However, we’re discussing traditional arbitration here. What is traditional arbitration, exactly? What does it look like in practice? These and other important themes will be discussed in the following paragraphs.
Customary arbitration is not a new notion. It dates back to the pre-literate age. In Nigeria, like with man since the beginning of time, the practice of resolving problems through arbitration has always existed. There has been arbitration with various indigenous communities prior to the introduction of the British legal system of court litigation into Nigeria (Gadzama, 2004). It’s a way of resolving a conflict between two or more parties in order to keep societal harmony, peace, and calm. In actuality, Emiola (2011) describes arbitration in the African court system as a process in which a neutral individual is asked to arbitrate a disagreement between two people or two communities [p. 74].
In a traditional Nigerian family, the nuclear family, which consists of a man, his wife or wives, and children, is traditionally led by the head of the family. Extended family members usually live in the same neighborhood. A family head is chosen from this larger family circle to oversee the functioning of the extended family. Any conflict between nuclear family members is sent to the extended family head for resolution, and he preside over the conflict alongside other significant members of the extended family. Coker (1966) offers as a result:
Every man and woman has a responsibility to contribute to the social, physical, and economic well-being of the collective. The corollaries of this viewpoint must be, and are, a general deflection of any extraordinary points or rights from the chief or headman, as well as the establishment of a socio-political group that is only maintained as a family unit [p. 23].
Maintaining societal equilibrium would almost certainly require finding a method to create a long-term and permanent peace, and a peace agreement reached without some form of justice will only produce short-term results [p. 143]. (Sarkin, 2001). As a result, each family member has a responsibility to guarantee that justice is upheld in all parts of life in order to achieve peace and social stability among the many families that make up society.