Thirty six States
and a Federal Capital Territory, Abuja make up
the Nigerian Federation. Each of those States
is empowered to establish, maintain and
develop judicial institutions, processes and
human capabilities necessary to assure a
system of law and order within their
respective domains. Nassarawa State is
one of them.
The State's Judicature is made up:Justice Badamasi Maina
- of the judges, lawyers,
non-judge staff of judicial centers;
- Lawyers, the local
chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association,
paralegal and support staff of law firms in
the State that work its judicial centers;
bodies, like the Supreme Court of Nigeria
and the Court of Appeal which have
obligatory jurisdiction, at statutorily
defined stages over the tribunals that
operate in the State.
research or regulatory institutions
applicable to the state;
Constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria, local, customary and international
laws applicable in the State as well as
Court precedents, internal Court rules and
procedures that bind its judiciary;
bodies and panels which activities are
reviewed by the judiciary;
Dispute Resolution centers in the State;
- Support and regulatory
institutions in the State;
- Law libraries, police,
prison services and other;
- other arms and
department of government which existence are
critical to the funding, maintenance and
appointment into the State’s judicial and
related centers; and
- the people and
stakeholders of the State for whom the State’s
judiciary and other dispute resolution
processes and facilities of the State exist.
The Judiciary of
the State is a very key component of the its
judicature. It is made up of judges, non-judge
members of staff of the State judicial
service, courts/tribunals and other judicial
facilities, records and subsisting judgments
obtained within the jurisdiction of the State
court system which its courts are obligated to
defend and enforce.
exist, chiefly, to interpret, apply and direct
the enforcement of the laws, customs, and
conventions that make up the State’ legal
system. It’s sphere also extends to the
protection or preservation of contracts, rights
and freedoms that define the socio-political and
economic space of the State.
also helps to preserve and protect the rights
and freedoms of individuals and corporate bodies
in the State from the over-bearing reach of
State officialdom or from other non-state
entities – including multinational and local
organizations that operate in the State.
reach even extends to the review of decisions of
disciplinary panels of various professional and
corporate organizations in the State.
or tribunals found in the State could be broadly
classified as national, state courts. Federal
courts have jurisdiction over certain federal
matters or objects in any corner of Nigeria.
These include the Federal High Court; National
Industrial Court; Code of Conduct Tribunal,
Investment and Securities Tribunal, etc. These
courts are either situated within the State or
at a regional headquarter where the State is
the class of courts with the greater presence
and degree of interaction with local residents
are State courts. These include the State High
Court; Magistrate Courts; Customary Court of
Appeal and Customary/Native Courts, etc.
State High Court
High Court before October 1996, formed part of
what was Plateau State High Court. With the
creation of Nasarawa State on the 1st October
1996, the State High Court was established. The
first Chief Judge of the State was Justice
Suleiman Galadima (now a Justice of the Court of
State High Court has original and appellate
jurisdiction in both civil and criminal matters.
Its original jurisdiction is provided for under
Section 272(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
High Court hears and determines appeals from
decisions of Magistrates and Area Courts in all
criminal matters. It also hears and determines
appeals from District Courts in all civil
causes. In addition, appeals from Area Courts in
all civil causes other than customary or Islamic
causes lie to the High Court.
Panel of two or three judges of the High Court
is constituted for the purpose of determining
appeals from the lower courts aforementioned.
The High Court of the State has a single
Judicial Division, with four High Courts at
Lafia, the State capital. For the purpose of
convenience to litigants, a High Court, presided
over by a resident High Court Judge, is sited at
In recent times,
alternative dispute resolution practices are
becoming integrated into the judicial
processes of Nigeria. Thus, not only are
arbitral and mediated agreements being given
the imprimateur of the Courts for enforcement,
they are also being statutorily welded into
State courts – as multi-door Courts.
Court sits as the final appellate judicial
authority over all the judicial and
quasi-judicial processes in the State, followed
by the Court of Appeal.
High Court, and the Sharia Court of Appeal are
the highest ranking tribunals under the direct
control of the State government. They also have
co-ordinate jurisdiction–equal and independent
standing- among themselves but are restricted to
matters or objects statutorily assigned to them.
Nonetheless, in spite of that, the Chief Justice
of the State High State is regarded as the head
of its judiciary.
Federal High Court of the in the State and other
federal tribunals of co-ordinate jurisdiction,
like the National Industrial Court, Electoral
Tribunals, Code of Conduct Bureau and special
tribunals - like the Disciplinary Body of
various Professional bodies - also have equal
but independent standing with the top state
tribunals even though their jurisdictions are
different. They operate within the State but are
not under the control of the State government as
their operational dependency resides in the
federal government - or for the disciplinary
tribunals, on the control and funding of the
mechanism designated for them - usually by
statute. Each of them cannot review a decision
of the other and appeal lie from them straight
to the Court of Appeal.
Magistrate Courts, Area Courts, Districts courts
and Sharia Courts bring up the lowest rung of