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VICTIMOLOGY, VICTIMISATION AND VICTIMS ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN NIGERIA
Everyone is a victim at one point or the other. The focus on understanding of victims as dynamic components of crime with varying degrees of responsibility dominated many early works in victimology, and because of the nature of these studies, it lines of inquiry are referred to as penal victimology which has to do with the interaction and relationship between offenders and victims within the confines of criminal law. This paper examines the importance of access to justice as an essential instrument for the protection of human rights in Nigeria. The conceptual framework of victimology, victimocracy and victimization. It starts by discussing the various problems that are confronted by victims in ensuring that justice is done to their cases, we strengthened our argument by examining the theories of victimization. It is interesting to note that; it is only when an individual victim who is perceived to be victimized has access to courts that his or her fundamental rights can be enforced. The paper then looks at the reality of the Nigeria situation and posits that there are a number of obstacles to the realization of access to justice in the country. These obstacles such as: undue delay in the administration of criminal justice, high cost of litigation, reliance on technical rules, locus standi, illiteracy, fear of attack by offenders. With regards to offenders – victims‘ relationship, political influence and weak criminal justice system are then examined in turn, in validation of the proposition. It further looks at the prospects for improvement of access to justice in Nigeria and opines that if mechanisms such as judicial reforms, and resort to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are encouraged and properly put in place, with less emphasis on technical rules, and of the legal aid scheme is strengthened, there would be meaningful access to justice which will impact positively in the quest for the protection of human rights protection of those victimized in the country.
Keywords: Victimology, Victimocracy, Victimization, Victims Access to Justice