Dr Oche Onazi

ISRF Early Career Fellow 2015-18

Dr Oche Onazi

ISRF Early Career Fellow 2015-18

Oche Onazi ISRF

Oche joined the University of Southampton in October 2016 as Lecturer in Law. He holds degrees from the Universities of Edinburgh (PhD), Warwick (LL.M in law in development) and Jos – Nigeria (LL.B hons). He is also a qualified (but non-practising) Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Oche’s ISRF project aims to demonstrate the role that can be played by African legal theory or legal philosophy in forging and grounding a new response to exclusions suffered by Africans with disability as a matter of justice. The project is a response to the neglect of an African account of disability in African ethical, moral, social, legal and philosophical thought and more generally in the literature on disability justice. In doing so, the project explores how an African-inspired theory or philosophy of law can extend the reach of issues central to contemporary disability justice discourse and also shed new light on issues such as the meaning of disability itself, the nature of obligations owed to disabled persons and the type of institutional responses necessary to achieve the ideal of disability justice in Africa.

Is there an African path to Disability Justice?

African legal theory, or legal philosophy, is defined as an enquiry into the ways in which law, legal concepts and institutions mirror the most salient and attractive communitarian values in sub-Saharan Africa. This project aims to show the role that can be played by African legal theory in forging and grounding a new response to exclusions suffered by people with disability in Africa as a matter of justice. The project is a response to the neglect of an African account of disability in African ethical, moral, social, legal and philosophical thought and more generally in the literature on disability justice. Drawing from historic and contemporary multidisciplinary sources and using a combination of immanent and transcendental critique as its methodology, the project seeks to demonstrate why an African-inspired legal theory of disability justice can constitute a valid alternative to some dominant Western approaches, particularly because of the stringent duties of community, love and compassion it imposes on all individuals for the human condition of others. This African-inspired theory not only provides an appropriate context to extend the reach of issues central to contemporary disability justice discourse, it can also shed new light on issues such as the meaning of disability itself, the nature of obligations owed to disabled persons and the type of institutional responses necessary to achieve the ideal of disability justice, the absence of which continues to define the lived experiences of millions of Africans today.

Research Outcomes

  • Onazi, O. (2020) An African Path to Disability Justice: Community, Relationships and Obligations, Springer, UK
  • Onazi, O. (2017) ‘[Disability] justice dictated by the surfeit of love: Simone Weil in Nigeria’, Law and Critique, 28(1), pp. 1-22.
  • Onazi, O. (2016) ‘An African legal philosophy of disability justice: between discovery and recognition’, in Kiddey, R. (Ed.) ISRF Bulletin Issue X: Discovery & Recognition, pp. 10-15

Contacting Fellows

If you would like to contact any of our Fellows to discuss their ISRF-funded work, please contact Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) in the first instance, at lars.cornelissen@isrf.org.