Nigeria: The Colonial Legacy and Transitional Justice

This report provides an overview of the legacies of colonisation and demonstrates its impact on transitional justice in Nigeria. It argues that the current injustices in Nigeria are strongly connected to the country’s colonial history. Colonial policies, laws and structures have continued in use, either directly or indirectly and to various extents, long after independence. These ‘legacies’ play a fundamental role in the limited success of transitional justice movements in Nigeria. The first part sets out the colonial experience in the country. The second part examines the post-colonial era and the authoritarian rule that followed closely on the heels of colonial rule. There is an examination of the political transition to democratic governance and the need, at that point, for transitional justice mechanisms and processes to address gross violations of human rights. The third part examines the engagement with transitional justice mechanisms and processes deriving from the dynamics of the two previous periods.