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The Role of the Ombudsman in Nigeria: Redress of Grievances
Odunsi, Bennett A.


This study reviews the Nigerian legal tradition before and after the advent of the British colonial administration. After gaining independence from British colonial rule, the government did not deviate from the established practice of the colonial administration in relation to the protection of the rights of the citizens. The only available channel for citizens to challenge arbitrary and capricious action of administrative officials is the ordinary courts of law. Justice in administrative areas under this arrangement often seems slow and wanting. Therefore, the military government instituted a commission of enquiry to analyze and find ways to improve the situation which recommended the establishment of the institution of the Ombudsman. In 1975, the Murtala military administration established the Public Complaints Commission as a supplement to the court system to correct flagrant disregard of basic standards of human rights by administrative officials.

During the eight years of its existence, the FCC has resolved an average of 1526 cases annually, and a comparative analysis of the activities of the ombudsman in other countries suggests that the FCC has resolved at least a respectable number of cases. Furthermore, a review of testimony by citizens also indicates that some sections of the population have come to recognize the activities of the FCC, On the whole, the FCC appears to have achieved some degree of success.

The study concludes further that the following developments have to occur in order to further enhance the impact of the FCC on grievance resolution. The FCC must become autonomous from the civil service structure, and provisions must be made to increase the legal powers and jurisdictional competence of the FCC, A vigorous publicity campaign must be mounted to keep the public abreast of the functions of the FCC. A team of competent, aggressive, and enterprising personnel must be attracted to the FCC to enhance efficiency and professionalism.


“Political scientist Bennett Odunsi points out in this survey of the origins and structures of the Ombudsman, and its particular travail in Nigeria ... Dr. Odunsi is critical of the functioning of the Ombudsman in Nigeria and offers recommendations for change ... The government must act on the recommendations of the National Ombudsman and its actions must be timely, transparent and responsive.” – Dr. Mary Coleman, Associate Dean and Director University Scholars Program, Jackson state University, College of Liberal Arts

“In this book, Dr. Bennett Odunsi explores the role of Ombudsman through a comparative analysis of the functions and public administrative structures of these accountability institutions within a select group of developing and developed countries ... Practitioners as well as students of public administration and administrative law, public policy decision makers and all other stakeholders engaged in the design and execution of public policy will find this book most valuable.” – Dr. Maurive Y. Mongkuo, Associate Professor of Public Administration, Director of MPA Program & Intelligence Studies Program, Fayettevile State University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Mary Coleman, Ph.D.
1 Introduction
2 Relevant Historical Perspectives in Nigeria
3 The Ombudsman in World Perspectives
4 The Ombudsman Institution in Nigeria
5 The Impact of the PCC in Nigeria: An Assessment
6 Conclusion

ISBN10:  0-7734-5336-9   ISBN13:  978-0-7734-5336-4    Pages:  192    Year:  2007   

Series: hors série Number: 0

Subject Areas:  African Studies, Law & Legal Studies, Political Science, Political Philosophy & Theory,

Imprint: Edwin Mellen Press

USA List Price: $129.95 UK List Price: £ 89.95  

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