Date of Award

Fall 2021

Publication Type


Degree Name



Faculty of Law

First Advisor

R. Badhi


Wrongful convictions, Criminal justice system, Procedural rights




Research has shown that notwithstanding the substantive and procedural laws that protect the rights of criminal defendants in Nigeria, the criminal justice system has often failed to uphold its commitment of justice to these individuals, resulting in wrongful convictions. Wrongful convictions undermine the integrity and effectiveness of the criminal justice system and result in devastating consequences on wrongfully convicted individuals. Though the reality of wrongful conviction is established in Nigeria, research on the problem is scarce. Besides, much of the available literature focuses on the legal causes of wrongful convictions without considering the broader social context. This thesis seeks to address the gap in knowledge through a socio-legal study of the barriers that wrongfully convicted individuals experience in the Nigerian criminal justice system and how they experience these barriers. Five wrongfully convicted individuals were interviewed for the study, and the interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. The findings show that wrongfully convicted persons in Nigeria experience multiple barriers to justice that devalue their humanity, prevent them from participating meaningfully in their cases, and deny their fundamental and procedural rights. These experiences cause the wrongfully convicted persons to lose faith in the criminal justice system, question the legitimacy of its institutions, and distrust the officials that work within it. It is hoped that the recommendations made for further research and reforms would inspire changes to address the problem of wrongful conviction in Nigeria, remedy the harms done to wrongfully convicted persons, and help bolster the integrity of the Nigerian legal system