In this text, Nwankwo advances Frantz Fanon's two-revolutionary theory of decolonization, as a basis for predicting the evolution of specific changes in Nigerian law during the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial eras. The author argues that Fanon's model of colonial oppression and its categories of maintenance needs are predictive of the evolution from pre-colonial to post-colonial society in Africa. This claim is demonstrated through an analysis of changes in the law during these eras. Changes in the rank, order of severity of punishment, and the correlative changes in the identification of crime severity comprise the subject matter that this author investigates. Oppression/colonialism must preserve its life through structural/institutional configuration and a particular world view. The former embodies a surplus-deficit arrangement of institutional power and privilege. The latter consists of the ideology that is required to legitimate and ensure conformity with this structural unevenness. Content analysis was performed using several variables.
The result indicates that colonialism is a subspecies of oppression and that the severity of punishment changes in the Nigerian law during the Colonial era (that is, changes from the personal injury and property crimes of the pre-colonial era to the political crimes of the colonial era) was geared to the maintenance needs of operation.
Peter O. Nwankwo, LL.M and Ph.D., is assistant professor of criminology, law, and justice at Mississippi Valley State University.