P-ISSN: 2789-8822, E-ISSN: 2789-8830
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International Journal of Civil Law and Legal Research

2021, Vol. 1, Issue 1, Part A

Ayélála, a sacred divinity among the Ilaje and Apoi of Ondo state Nigeria as a judicial institution: Echoes from African legal thought


Author(s): Olubusola Tunde Shemudara

Abstract: Ayélála criminal trial is an indigenous criminal jurisprudence which is in practice among the Ilaje and Apoi of Ondo State, Nigeria. It is curbing crime rate, perversion of justice and corruption which are prevalent in the administration of criminal justice system in Nigeria. Scholars have worked on English criminal justice system, African legal thought, roles of sacred divinities in enforcement of moral values, and maintenance of peace and order in African societies separately. The need to study indigenous criminal jurisprudence along side the English criminal justice system has not been given adequate attention. This study, therefore, examined the engagement, functioning and effectiveness of Ayélála in the context of English criminal justice system among the Ilaje and Apoi of Ondo State. Ayélála is feared and revered because of her effectiveness and swiftness in the dispensation of justice among the Ilaje and Apoi of Ondo State. There is a structure wherein there is investigation of complaints like in the English criminal justice system through divination. It is a justice system for deterrent against crime. Ayélála affords an accused person the opportunity of stating his case and does not exhibit any bias in rendering her judgment. Ayélála indigenous criminal trial is less expensive and devoid of technicalities prevalent in the English courts. Unlike the English courts, cross examination of witnesses is dispensed with. Corrupt priests are apprehended and punished by Ayélála, oath taking under Ayélála proceeding is feared unlike in the English courts where it is done with the Bible, Quran or by affirmation; oath taken before Ayélála which turns out to be false, results in fatal consequences. Forfeiture of properties is common to both English and Ayélála criminal justice systems. There is accelerated hearing, prompt judgment in Ayélála criminal justice system. Investigation of complaints, bail, plea taking, confession, admission, conviction and death sentence are found in both English and Ayélála criminal justice systems. The trial is adversarial and accusatorial; there is no legal representation of parties, no address of counsel and right of appeal, Ayélála’s judgment is final while the English courts allow all these processes. Ayélála traditional trial is effective, swift and potent though it does not encompass all that exists in the English criminal justice system. Traditional criminal justice system should be integrated into the English criminal justice system in Nigeria.

Pages: 25-34 | Views: 302 | Downloads: 140

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How to cite this article:
Olubusola Tunde Shemudara. Ayélála, a sacred divinity among the Ilaje and Apoi of Ondo state Nigeria as a judicial institution: Echoes from African legal thought. Int J Civ Law Legal Res 2021;1(1):25-34.
International Journal of Civil Law and Legal Research