2. Capacity needed

What are the most pressing civil justice problems in Ogun State for individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, and large businesses? What is the impact of these problems? Who are the vulnerable groups? And to what extent are problems resolved? The answers to these questions inform the civil justice capacity needed in Ogun State. Courts, legal services and informal justice services will have to provide this capacity. Quantifying the impact of civil justice problems can help make the case for creating this capacity.

2.1 Most pressing civil justice problems for individuals, SMEs, and large businesses

During the enrolment interviews for the Civil Justice Transformation Lab, stakeholders raised land conflicts, neighbour conflicts, and family conflicts as the most pressing justice needs in Ogun State. As we will see below, the data indicate that the three most common civil justice problems people experience in all of Nigeria are neighbour problems, money problems and land problems. Family conflicts are less frequent and may have more impact on people. The interviews suggested that people from outside the state may come to Ogun State for divorce petitions in courts.

For Individuals

Most Nigerians see themselves facing civil justice problems: 60% of Nigerians experience one or more civil justice problems in the previous four years.

These are serious problems: 75% of those experiencing one or more legal problems (or 55% of all Nigerians) indicated that their most serious problem was a civil justice problem.

Many people experience more than one civil justice problem. On average, people who report at least one civil justice problem experience 1.34 of these problems.

The most frequent serious civil justice problems are related to neighbours and money, each accounting for about 20% of the most serious civil justice problems. Other common civil justice problems include disputes over land, employment, housing, and family. Business-related and consumer problems are in the top ten of the most common problems but occur less frequently. Based on input from the stakeholders prior to, and during the stakeholder dialogues, it is clear that land problems in particular constitute a significant challenge in Ogun State. 

Civil justice problems often have a serious impact on people’s lives, with numerous negative consequences. The graph below shows the most common negative consequences people experience as a result of the different civil justice problems.

75% of people whose most serious problem was a civil justice problem took action to resolve this problem. Almost half of these people were not able to resolve their problem. 38% of people had not (yet) resolved their problem, including 14% of people who had completely abandoned their problem. People with lower incomes are especially unlikely to resolve their civil justice problem.

For small and medium-sized enterprises

What are the most pressing civil justice problems for SMEs? The graph on page 7 suggests that the surveyed individuals have 16,000 contractual business disputes every year. This may underestimate the number of problems experienced by medium-sized enterprises. 5,000 individuals have problems with licenses or permits. 27,000 have other problems. There is little research on the legal problems experienced by SMEs\ in Ogun State or Nigeria that can explain what is in this “other” category. The only study HiiL has conducted in this area was in a vastly different country: Ukraine1. It is therefore unclear to what extent the findings of that study are also valid in Ogun State. The JNS survey among SMEs in Ukraine found that the most common problems are:
  1. Problems related to trade disputes with suppliers and clients (often an insolvent supplier or client, or disputes over contracts);
  2. Corporate fraud (theft of company property and raiding, the illegal seizure of property or equipment owned by a business, a problem particular for Ukraine);
  3. Problems related to business premises (troubles with land acquisition, registration, transfer, lease, or tenure).
Only 27% of the problems were resolved at the time of the survey. To resolve existing legal problems, SMEs in Ukraine mostly negotiate directly with the other party in the dispute. Lawyers are usually involved when dealing with regulatory compliance or diverse issues that emerge around company registration, legal status, and ownership. Complaints to administrative authorities or to judicial bodies are more often filed in situations of fraud (raiding) and difficulties with enforcement of contracts and previous decisions

2.2 Capacity needed for resolving civil justice problems

The graphs below show additional data about the most pressing civil justice problems in Nigeria. By selecting the different problem categories in the top right corner, it is possible to see the specific data for each problem category. The text below graphs explains these data. Scroll right or left to see the relevant explanation for the different problem categories. The graph below shows for each problem category the most common types of disputes in Nigeria. The number behind each bar indicates an estimate of how often the problem occurs on an annual basis in Ogun State. This is estimated by applying the percentage of people in the JNS survey who experienced this problem to the number of people of working age in Ogun State (57% of 7.1 million people)2. This number is thus in many ways a very rough estimate based on many untested assumptions and should be interpreted carefully. However, it gives an indication of the capacity needed in the Ogun State civil justice system.

Family problems

Divorce or separation and domestic violence are the most prevalent family problems. These are also the problems stakeholders decided to focus on in the strategy. Both can be expected to occur more than 15.000 times per year in Ogun State. In total, more than 80.000 family problems can be expected to occur in Ogun State every year.

Land problems

Disputes over boundaries and disputes over land titles are the most common land problems, followed by disputes over use of land and land grabbing. In total, more than 100,000 land problems can be expected to occur in Ogun State every year.   

Neighbour disputes

The most common neighbour disputes involve regular and excessive noise, threats, harassment or violence, children causing disorder, and disputes related to animals. In total, almost 250,000 neighbour problems can be expected to occur in Ogun State every year.

Family problems

Family problems, including both divorce/separation and domestic violence, are more common among women than among men. The only difference between age categories is that people above 65 experience fewer family problems than younger people.

The graph below shows the relative prevalence of the civil justice problems among different age groups and gender.

Land problems

Land problems are not equally distributed among the population. They are more common among men than among women. They are also considerably more common among older people than among young people.

Neighbour disputes

Neighbour disputes are not equally distributed among the population. They are more common among women than among men. Younger people experience neighbour problems more frequently than older people.

Civil justice problems often have a serious impact on people’s lives, with numerous negative consequences. The graph below shows the most common negative consequences people experience as a result of the different civil justice problems.

Family problems

The average impact score for divorce/separation on a score from 1 (hardly affected me negatively) to 5 (the negative effect was severe) is 3.4. This is slightly higher than the average for all civil justice problems in Nigeria (3.22). For domestic violence it is 3.2. 

93% of people going through divorce/separation and 98% of people experiencing domestic violence experience negative consequences because of their problems. The most common consequence is loss of time, followed by loss of income and stress-related illnesses. 20% of people with land problems report experiencing violence against them.

Land problems

The average impact score for land problems on a score from 1 (hardly affected me negatively) to 5 (the negative effect was severe) is 3.35. This is slightly higher than the average for all civil justice problems in Nigeria (3.22).

86% of people experience negative consequences because of their land problem. The most common consequence is loss of time, followed by loss of income and stress-related illnesses. 20% of people with land problems report experiencing violence against them.

Neighbour disputes

The average impact score for neighbour problems on a score from 1 (hardly affected me negatively) to 5 (the negative effect was severe) is 3.32. This is slightly higher than the average for all civil justice problems in Nigeria (3.22).

82% of people experience negative consequences because of their neighbour problem. The most common consequences are problems with relationships, loss of time, and stress-related illnesses.

Family problems: divorce or separation

77% of people going through a divorce or separation took action to resolve their problem. This is slightly higher than the average for civil justice problems in Nigeria (75%). 48% of people manage to resolve their problem completely or partially. Most of these people found the resolution fair. In the end, 37% of people whose most serious problem was a divorce or separation received a fair resolution. This means 63% of people are looking for more effective and fair solutions.

The justice gap is the percentage of problems people experience that are resolved in a fair matter. The graph below shows for each civil justice problem the percentage of people who took action to resolve it, the percentage of people who managed to resolve it, and the percentage of people who considered these resolutions fair. It shows exactly in what stages of the dispute resolution process the justice gap materialises. 

Family problems: domestic violence

66% of people experiencing domestic violence took action to resolve their problem. This is equal to the average for civil justice problems in Nigeria (75%). 38% of people manage to resolve their problem completely or partially. Most of these people found the resolution fair. In the end, 35% of people whose most serious problem was domestic violence received a fair resolution. This means 65% of people experiencing domestic violence are looking for more effective and fair solutions.

Land problems

88% of people with land problems take action to resolve their problem. This is higher than the average for civil justice problems in Nigeria (75%). 

50% of people managed to resolve their land problem completely or partially. Most of these people found the resolution fair. In the end, 44% of people whose most serious problem was a land problem received a fair resolution. This means 56% of people with land problems are looking for more effective and fair solutions.

Neighbour disputes

75% of people with neighbour disputes took action to resolve their problem. This is equal to the average for civil justice problems in Nigeria (75%). 

54% of people manage to resolve their problem completely or partially. Most of these people found the resolution fair. In the end, 37% of people whose most serious problem was a neighbour problem received a fair resolution. This means 63% of people with neighbour problems are looking for more effective and fair solutions.

Finally, the graph below shows how long it took for people to resolve a problem from the moment when they first took action to resolve it. The data is divided between problems that have been resolved in court and problems that have been resolved otherwise.

Family problems

Because the numbers for divorce and domestic violence become too low in our dataset to draw meaningful conclusions, we do not show them individually. On average, people who managed to resolve their family problem did so 24 weeks after they first took action, so faster than people with land problems (31 weeks) but slower than people with neighbour disputes (15 weeks). However, there are big differences between individuals, with the range going from problems that are resolved the same day to problems that are resolved after more than four years.

There are no significant differences between people who resolved their problem in court and people who resolved their problems in another manner, but keep in mind that the number of people who went to court is very low. 

Land problems

People who managed to resolve their land problem generally did so 31 weeks after they first took action, almost twice as long as for neighbour disputes. However, there are big differences between individuals, with the range going from problems that are resolved the same day to problems that are resolved after more than three years.

People who went to court needed a lot more time to resolve their land problem (41 weeks on average) than people who resolved their land problem in other ways (28 weeks). Whereas land problems resolved in other ways are often resolved within the first thirty days after taking action, land problems resolved by a court decision tend to take more often between 6 and 12 months. 

Neighbour disputes

On average, people who managed to resolve their neighbour dispute did so 15 weeks after they first took action. However, there are big differences between individuals, with the range going from problems that are resolved the same day to problems that are resolved after more than three years. 

There are no significant differences between people who resolved their problem in court and people who resolved their problems in another manner,  but keep in mind that the number of people who went to court is very low.

Justice Dashboard

Justice Dashboard