CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM IN NIGERIA
One of the issues that has continued to generate controversy among the bar, the bench and international and local human right activists is whether the Military Justice system is or should be subservient to the rule of law. The legal implication of the military justice system derives from sections 1 (1), 1 (3), of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, Cap C23 laws of the federation; Armed Forces Act, Cap C20 laws of the Federation 2004 and other subsidiary legislations. Nigerian Military Justice System is machinery put in place to ensure justice and discipline in the Armed Forces as well as enforcement of law. The military commanders be it at summary level or court martial play important role in the administration of military justice in any military jurisdiction. The present the entry point into the military criminal justice system, this is because the commanders at justice system and the military justice system are the commanders. One cannot divorce one from the other. This research examines critically the military justice system in Nigeria vis-à-vis it’s conformity with the enabling laws as regards its application strictu sensu. To identify challenges militating against its awards and findings on appeals at High courts and court of Appeal respectively. This research observes that most trials conducted and its attendant awards did not conform to the enabling laws and the rule of law. In view of these, most of their awards and findings have been quashed by the appellate courts. Mostly for lack of observance of fair hearing, unwillingness to abide by the rule of law, inadequate knowledge of the law, and unwillingness to be guided by the Directorate and legal officers of legal services even down to battalion level. Consequently, this work recommends amongst other things that the commanders, ASA inclusive to always be mindful of the rule of law in dispensing justice and to always make use of the available legal officers by seeking legal guidance and advice from them when the need arises.