Nigerian Legal System

The settlements in due course, either by conquest or by other growth processes, metamorphosed into kingdoms, empires and principalities, which by accident of history and by numerous geographical handicaps II or fortunes (as the case might be), attained varying levels of political, social, cultural and economic development. Certain physical features influenced the occupational distribution of the early settlers, as well as their type of ancestral workshop. For example, northwards were savanna areas; the inhabitants were chiefly pastoral; they worshipped the god of the sky.

Southwards were the forest belts; for the settlers who were mainly farmers, the object of their worship was the god of land. Still further southwards are the coastland areas; the settlers were mainly fishermen and they worshipped the goddess of the sea. With time, these groups interacted with considerable frequency and in consonance with some established and regular process. Indeed, the notion of settlement itself connotes a level of human organisation; and where there is an organization, there has to be a scheme of rules or laws and compulsion to enforce obedience if the group or society must survive and continue.

Each of the ethnic- linguistic groups therefore had its own concept of law, judicial process and customary laws without which human society could not exist. These laws played a prominent role in the regulation of the affairs of members of the group. They varied with space, character and level of socio-economic development and challenges which faced the various settlements. As should be expected therefore, there were manifestation of different (and sometimes conflicting) ways and conditions as one moved from one place or age to another or one empire or kingdom to another and across the jurisdiction of different customary laws.