As aptly submitted by Kofi Bentil, the concept of Rule of Law is the principle that governments must be governed by well-defined set of laws that binds all within a particular jurisdiction. Rule of Law among others, entails fairness, equality before the law, respect for human rights, life and personal properties, just and equitable treatment of all as opposed to the arbitrary treatment of the masses by the leaders, government and government officials. To this end, respect for the rule of law is key to the overall development and stability of every African nation at large and Nigeria in particular. Nigeria, being the giant of Africa would have been expected to set developmental tune and pace for other African countries. Its population, man power/human resource, natural resources, level of exposure and civilization of her citizens among others should have ordinarily been to her great advantage. Unfortunately, the reverse is her case. There is no doubt that the surest way to redefine the roadmap for justice and liberty in Africa at large is by re-examining the application of the rule vis-a-vis the realities of Law on the continent. This paper therefore seeks to examine the concept of rule of law in Africa, from the Nigerian perspective. It is the position of the paper that liberty and justice can only be assured in Africa through effective promotion of the rule of Law.
Key Words: Rule of Law, Nigeria, Liberty, Justice in Africa.
Unlike law that defies a generally acceptable definition, the rule of law is never faced with problems of definition. As far back as the 16th century, all kinds of definitions given to the concept have the same string of idea but explained in different dimensions. The meaning or content of the concept of the rule of law vary from place to place, and from earlier times.