Application of Presumption of Innocence in Nigeria: Bedrock of Justice or Refuge for Felons

Jacob Abiodun Dada, Eugene A. Opara


This article examines the meaning, contents and legal framework of presumption of innocence which in our world of plurality, diversity and interdependence, is globally recognised and celebrated as a bedrock of justice.  By this presumption an accused is to be presumed innocent of the offence for which he is standing trial, his notoriety, criminal antecedent and the gravity of the offence which he is accused of being irrelevant. This paper demonstrates that the application of this otherwise laudable presumption in Nigeria, especially in relation to Politically Exposed Persons, [PEPs], has been exploited and abused, such that it is now a shield for criminality and license for impunity.  It argues and recommends that as part of the efforts to curb the cancerous plague, called corruption, the burden of proof should be placed on those accused of corruption.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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