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THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AS ENABLEMENT FOR SOCIAL ORDER IN NIGERIA
The place of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in ensuring and sustaining social order in any country has been long established especially with the understanding that norms, rules, and laws act as social adhesives for society. However, some countries in the developing world seem to be grappling with significant challenges associated with criminal justice delivery as a consequence of the real and perceived inefficiency of the CJS in dealing with deviant issues. This to a large extent tend to undermine social order and by extension the collective conscience of the people. In Nigeria, criminal justice issues have attracted strong theoretical and practical affronts with the dominant perspective being that the poor are often denied justice in favour of the rich with adverse implications for social order. As a result, this paper examined the issue of the CJS in order to show how this affects social order in Nigeria. The paper adopts the content analysis method for data gathering and the qualitative approach to data analysis. Also, the Marxist Political Economy perspective is adopted as the theoretical framework as well as a complementary method of analysis. The paper submits that in a society like Nigeria where criminal justice is significantly defined by the politics of corruption, social order will be largely elusive and in its place, there will be an obvious consistency in criminal activities in the country. The paper recommends among others that the government should strengthen the criminal justice system and provide an enabling environment for it to function effectively if social order is to be achieved in Nigeria.
Keywords: Criminal justice, social order, political economy, collective conscience, Nigeria