THE DIALECTICS OF PEACE AND CONFLICTS MANAGEMENT IN NORTH CENTRAL NIGERIA: A RETRIBUTIVE OR RESTORATIVE JUSTICE SYSTEM?
This paper does lament whatever had happened to North Central Nigeria, and in particular, Benue’s, Plateau’s, and Southern Kaduna’s glorious past, and the abysmal state of Nigeria’s civilization inherited from British colonial masters, with its attendant effects such as insecurity and underdevelopment most especially on the sampled area and the continent at large. The paper, through an exegesis of select historical facts and texts, reports, and journals, has explored via a desk and textual study, an objective explication for an unpacking of the inherent mischiefs caused by the apparent harmful retributive system of justice inherited from the colonial criminal justice system. Thereafter, the prognosis of the problematics of the retributive justice system in Nigeria, and of the vicious cycles of the conflicts, is addressed through an unveiling of the gaps in the retributive justice system, which hitherto has focused more on the offender, to the detriment of the victim(s), and society, is underscored. These dialectics for peacebuilding, conflict management/transformation, and mutual trust would be reached through (re)negotiation, and (re)visiting of the Nigerian criminal justice system, with a focus on the restorative justice system by advocating for the full entrenchment of the formidable Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 in all the States of the Federation for the development of Nigerians and African’s scions globally. Where the emphasis is now hinged on “victim-offender-mediation” and lessons are drawn from the Wajir Peace Development Committee (in Northeastern Kenya) cum the Plateau model as a panacea to the unending vicious cycle of conflicts and reprisals in our societies.