n Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions - Igbo jurisprudence : a discourse on the nature of punishment in traditional African society

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2276-8386
  • E-ISSN: 2408-5987



Punishment under law is basically a technique of social control, and every society has its own means of controlling the social behavior of its citizens in order to attain its desired goals. A philosophical look at this legal exercise is called jurisprudence and this is a study of Igbo jurisprudential look at the theory of punishment. The importance of the legal framework in any society cannot be overemphasized. The law thus, provides, among other things, the penal technique by which those found guilty of offences abhorred by the society are punished. The traditional African society has its body of customary laws, a rich penal system that governs the affairs of its people. Though largely unwritten, prior to the advent of the colonialists, this legal system integrated and fostered the unity of various African societies and ensuring their development.

We shall in this paper, critically assess the notion of punishment as it relates to traditional Africa with particular reference to Igbo society of Nigeria. In doing this, we shall consider what punishment is; why punishment is upheld in the society; who the Igbos are; the traditional Igbo society; and punishment in traditional Igbo society. Finally, we shall critically analyze the notion of punishment as it regards traditional Igbo society.

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