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Justice in Nigeria 2023

The data on this page comes from a Justice Needs and Satisfaction survey conducted by HiiL in Nigeria. We interviewed over 6,500 randomly selected adults across the country in 2022. In 2023, we launched a report that gives a voice to the justice needs and experiences of millions Nigerians.


legal problems
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Took action to resolve their problem
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Completely or partially resolved their problem
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Number of people interviewed in Nigeria

Below you can explore the story of justice problems in the everyday life of citizens of Nigeria using interactive charts. People told us how the problems affect them, what they do to resolve them and how they experienced the formal and informal justice system. 

This is the justice story as the people in Nigeria encounter and feel it.

Read the full report on justice needs of people in Nigeria here

How people experience justice in Nigeria

Have you encountered one or more legal problems?

A legal problem is a problem that takes place in daily life – a dispute, disagreement or grievance for which there is a resolution in the (formal or informal) law. It does not matter if the individual sees it as legal or whether she took action to resolve it.

The chart shows how many adults in Nigeria encountered one or more legal problems in the last one year.

What is the demand for justice in Nigeria?

Every year, 2.97 million people deal with legal problems. Some of them encounter multiple problems. 

A gap this big means that for every 100,000 people there are 27,015 individuals who must cope with one or more legal problems.

Which are the most frequent legal problems of people?

Disputes with neighbours are the biggest justice problem in Nigeria. Of all people who had to deal with a legal problem, 26% have encountered a neighbour dispute and 25% experienced a domestic violence related problem. 

Which are the six most frequent legal problems experienced by people in a year (in numbers)?

Disputes between neighbours, domestic violence, land, crime, housing problems and employemnt related disputes are justice problems that people are most likely to encounter in a year.

We derived the total number of problems that people are likely to experience in a given year for each justice problem by taking findings from a randomly selected sample and projecting them to the general population. In other words, we extrapolate the proportion of people who experienced a justice problem to the general population. So this chart reflects the prevalence of justice problems among the general population of Nigeria.  

Which are the most serious justice problems?

We asked people to tell us about the legal problem which they assess as most serious.

We have grouped the problems that people reported into categories. For instance, crime aggregates experiences with property and violent crime, fraud and so on. 

Did you take action to resolve the problem?

We asked people who experienced a justice problem if they took action to resolve it. This chart shows that majority of the Nigerians take action to resolve their problem indicating that people are keen to find a solution to their justice problems. 

The geographic location of people in Nigeria affects their likelihood of taking action. To illustrate, people living in rural areas are more likely to take action than those living in urban areas. 

Which are the paths to justice that people rely on?

The path to justice for people in Nigeria consists of more than one justice provider. In other words, people rely on a combination of justice providers to resolve their justice problems. This chart shows the proportion of Nigerians who rely on various justice providers. 

How many people rely on the most commonly used providers of justice?

The chart here depicts the total number of people who rely on the four most commonly used providers of justice. 

What actions did the providers of justice take to help in resolving the problem?

The justice providers whose support people enlist to resolve a problem undertake a range of interventions. In Nigeria, the most common interventions of the justice providers includes providing advice, fully resolving the problem, and mediating between the disputing parties. 

Do legal problems reach resolutions in Nigeria?

The number of legal problems tells us about the size of the demand for justice but it is not enough to measure the total justice gap. To measure the justice gap, it is also important to understand whether these problems are converted into fair resolutions that help people to continue with their lives.

In Nigeria, every year 1M problems are partially resolved. 2M are in a process of resolution and 756K are not resolved at all.

Which of the justice problems experienced by the people have been resolved?

People need fair resolutions to their problems to move on with their lives.

This chart shows the status of resolution of several justice problems. Problems related to money and social welfare benefits  have the lowest resolution rate and domestic violence and safety and security have the highest resolution rate. 

Was the resolution of problems considered to be fair by the people?

An important aspect of the quality of the justice is people’s satisaction with the resolution of the problem. 

For problems that were partially and fully resolved, we asked people whether they deemed the resolution as fair. The chart shows that a large majority of the people perceive the outcome or resolution of the problem as fair or very fair. 

On a scale of 1 to 10, which of the problems do people consider to be most severe?

Justice problems have a significant impact on the lives of people. We asked people which problem they rate as most severe, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most severe. 

The chart shows that people rate ongoing problems to be most severe. This can be attributed to people abandoning problems that are not as severe and pursuing those that have a high impact on their lives. 

Do people in Nigeria consider themselves capable of handling legal problems?

To understand people’s confidence in their ability to handle a legal problem, we asked all respondents if they can handle a legal problem, real or hypothetical. 

We have termed this confidence of people in their ability to handle a legal problem as legal capability. Legal capability is measure on a scale of 1 to 5, with one being a low score and 5 being a high score. Around 66% of the people have legal capability score of 4 or higher.