Giving Buhari An Ultimatum Is Disrespectful – Onnoghen

Muhammadu Buhari, Walter Onnoghen, Chief Justice of NigeriaThe Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has called on Nigerians to allow President Muhammadu Buhari appoint a substantive Chief Justice of his choice.

Justice Onnoghen dissociated himself from the league of citizens purportedly mounting pressure on the President to confirm his appointment as the substantive CJN.

In a statement issued on Thursday by his spokesman, Awassam Bassey, the acting Chief Justice noted that President Buhari does not need any threat or ultimatum to perform his constitutional duties.

Although he appreciated the interest of Nigerians towards the appointment, he noted that issuing an ultimatum smacks of disrespect for the exalted office of the President.

Appeal For Caution

“Honourable Justice Onnoghen believes (that) the President does not need any threat or ultimatum to perform his constitutional duties and therefore dissociates himself from those individuals and groups making such demands on the President.

“However, the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Nigerian Judiciary sincerely appreciate the interest of Nigerians towards the appointment of a substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria to oversee the affairs of the judiciary as the third arm of government, but believes that issuing an ultimatum to Mr President appears to be going too far and smacks of disrespect for the exalted Office of the President.

“The Acting Chief Justice therefore appeals for caution on the issue of the appointment of Chief Justice of Nigeria as Mr President goes about his constitutional duties, especially considering the fact that the given time for him to act as Chief Justice of Nigeria has not expired.

“In conclusion, the Acting Chief Justice wishes to thank all Nigerians for their support and continued prayers while calling on them to back the Federal Government in the fight to make the country a better place for all,” the statement said.

Arrested Judges Should Prove Their Innocence – Issa Aremu

Issa Aremu, Judges' ArrestA former Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Issa Aremu, has thrown his weight behind the recent arrests of some judges by the Department of State Services (DSS).

He described the arrests as a sign of crisis of confidence on the image of the judicial officers.

In a chat with Channels Television in Kaduna on Thursday, Mr Aremu faulted those condemning the invasion and arrest of the judges.

He challenged those criticizing the DSS action, to also look at the merit of the corruption allegations leveled against the senior judicial officers, rather than focusing more on the method by which they were arrested.

According to him, by the actions of some corrupt judicial officers across the country over the years are largely responsible for the nation’s socio-economic and political challenges.

The Labour leader also called on the affected judges to step aside for trial as it is being done in other countries of the world.

He stressed that they have a moral burden to establish their innocence before members of the general public.

He also advocated the strengthening of disciplinary mechanism to enhance transparency in judicial service.

What Anglican Primate Wants Buhari To Do About Corruption

nicholas-okoh‎The Primate of the Anglican Church, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has given his opinion on how the Nigerian government should address corruption in the oil-rich nation.

He made the comment in reaction to the arrest of some judges few weeks ago by security operatives.

The judges were alleged to have been involved in corrupt practices and misconduct.

But the Primate says only the court can find the judges arrested guilty of any crime.

“It all depends on what eventually is said about the judges concerned.

“If they are found guilty, then it will not affect anything because the crusade would have been a right one.

“If they are found to be innocent, then the call will be for the government agencies in charge to take it easy so that they do not blackmail the government they are trying to serve,” he said.

Addressing reporters at the Anglican Women’s Conference in Abuja on Saturday, Most Reverend Okoh said that the fight against corruption was an indictment on all Nigerians.

He explained that corruption cuts across the entire system in Nigeria and that the government should extend the fight against corruption to the grassroots.

 

“The crusade about corruption is an indictment on all of us, because what I have continued to appeal to government is that after the top echelon the crusade should be spread down the line.

“If you go to even the most local market, you will find corruption there. They people selling groundnut they are involved in corruption.

“The university teachers are involved in corruption those of us in the church in one form or the other. So, no one is actually spared.

“What it means is that we have all been sensitised and every nook and corner of the country should be focused to ensure that we produce a better generation after our own that will be free from corruption,” he emphasised.

The government had extended its anti-corruption war to the judiciary, arresting some judges, whom the Department of State Services (DSS) said were suspected for corruption and misconduct.

Since their arrests on October 7 and 8, diverse reactions trailed the action, with the latest from the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The leadership of the NJC in a statement on Saturday condemned the sting operations carried out by the DSS against some judicial officers, saying it was a clear assault on the independence of the Nigerian Judiciary.

It said it had started investigation into complaints it received against the judges.

NJC To Hold Emergency Sitting Over Arrested Judges

njc to meet of arrest of judges by DSSThe National Judicial Council (NJC) in Nigeria has scheduled an emergency sitting for Tuesday, October 11, to discuss the raids on the house of some judges and the arrest of some of them by security operatives.

Officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Police Force had on Friday arrested some judges over alleged misconduct and corrupt practices.

A meeting of the NJC was originally scheduled to consider the candidate most suitable for appointment as the next Chief Justice of Nigeria.

A list of candidates had earlier been forwarded to it by the Federal Judicial Service Commission.

Announcing the emergency sitting, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Muhammed, urged Nigerians to be calm.

He says the incidence is saddening, distressing and deeply regrettable.

“The council will do justice to the case when they meet,” he assured legal practitioners who are of the opinion that the judge’s arrests were abuse of the law.

Justice Muhammed was speaking at the valedictory session of a justice of the Supreme Court Justice, Sulieman Galadima, who is retiring from the services of the Nigerian Judiciary.

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Abubakar Mahmoud, insisted that the government did not act in line with the laws.

He says the government exhibited lack of respect for separation of powers.

While some judges’ arrests were successful, an attempt to arrest a judge in Rivers State was foiled by the State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike.

After the arrest failed, the DSS released a statement where it explained the reason behind the arrests.

In the statement, a spokesman for the DSS, Abdullahi Garba, said that the service had in the past few days, embarked on raids of residents of some Judges of the Supreme, Appeal and High Courts.

Clamp-Down-on-Judges-in-Rivers-State--Police
Officials of the Nigeria Police Force at the resident of the judge

Mr Garba said the operations were based on allegations of corruptions and other acts of professional misconduct by a few of the suspected Judges.

Searches Uncovered Huge Raw Cash

According to him, “the Service action is in line with its core mandate, as we have been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the Judges as well as complaints from the concerned public over judgment obtained fraudulently and on the basis of amounts of money paid.

“The judges involved were invited, upon which due diligence was exhibited and their premises searched.

“The searches have uncovered huge raw cash of various denominations, local and foreign currencies, with real estate worth several millions of Naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these Judges”.

The DSS spokesman further explained that some of the judges had made useful statements while a few declined even with the glaring evidences that were found against them in terms of material cash, documents and property recovered pointing to their compromise.

“In one of the States where the Service operations were conducted, credible intelligence revealed that the Judge had Two Million United States Dollars ($2,000,000 USD) stashed in his house.

“When he was approached for due search to be conducted, he in concert with the State Governor, mobilised thugs against the Service team.

“The team restrained itself in the face of unbridled provocative activities by those brought in by the Governor.

“Unfortunately, the Judge and Governor also engaged the tacit support of a sister security agency.

“The Service surveillance team noticed that upon frustrating the operation, the Judge with the active support of the Governor craftily moved the money to an unknown location which the Service is currently making effort to unravel,” the statement read, remaining silent about who the governor was.

Recovered Money

The DSS also stated that large amount of money, including foreign and local currencies had been recovered.

It gave a breakdown of the recovered funds.

SUMMARY OF RECOVERED MONEY

1. NAIRA – N93,558,000.00
2. DOLLARS – $530,087
3. POUNDS – £25,970
4. EURO – €5,680
5. RUPEES—-1,010
6. UAE—380
7. GAMBIA DALLALIS—430
8. ARGENTINE NOTES—-4
9. GHANA CEDIS—-20

1. ADENIYI F.A. ADEMOLA
NAIRA——–N54 million
DOLLARS——$171, 779.00
POUNDS—-£80.00
RUPEES—- 1,010.00
EURO—-€4,400.00

2. NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA
NAIRA——–N35, 208,000
DOLLARS——$319,475
POUNDS—-£25,890
EURO—-€280
UAE—-380
GAMBIA DALAIS—-420
ARGENTINE NOTES—4
GHANA CEDIS—-20

3. JOHN INYANG OKORO
NAIRA——–N4, 350,000
DOLLARS——$38, 833
POUNDS—-£25,890
EURO—-€1,000.00

The security outfit also said that other foreign currencies, banking and real estate documents were recovered.

This money stated above, it said, were recovered from just three judges.

Mr Garba said that preparations were ongoing to file charges against them in line with the laws of the nation.

Abdullahi-Garba
Spokesman for the Department of State Service, Abdullahi Garba

He further pointed out that that the Service had never invited Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen for investigation, neither was he being investigated.

“The Service would like to put it on record, that it has tremendous respect for the Judiciary and would not do anything to undermine it or its activities.

“The Service will also join hands with this noble institution in its fight to rid it of few corrupt Judges whose actions is undermining not only the Judiciary but the common bond of our national life,” he said.

The DSS further gave the assurance that the “operation will be sustained and followed till sanity and sanctity are restored to the esteemed third arm of government and public confidence is regained”.

It urged Nigerians to avail it of any information which could assist in the drive to rid Nigeria of corrupt practices and tendencies.

Earlier reports say that arrests may have started in Gombe State where the security operatives apprehended Justice Muazu Pindiga, who was the first chairman of the Rivers State election petition tribunal.

In Abuja, the DSS went to the homes of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba and Justice Adeniyi Ademola, both of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, in their official residences located inside Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja.

The operatives are said to have arrested Justice Ademola, it is not clear if Justice Dimgba was arrested as well.

Elsewhere, the operatives were reported to have visited the homes of two Supreme Court Judges, Justice Walter Onoghen and Justice Sylvester Ngwuta.

In Rivers State however, the planned arrest of a judge was foiled by the governor.

A statement issued by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, said the security operatives were angered by the governor’s arrival at the scene shortly after the process began.

The statement adds that the security operatives blocked the entrance of the residence of the judge at about 1:00am on Saturday, claiming that they were acting on orders from above.

The Rivers State Police Commissioner, Francis Odesanya, however, said that the two security agencies were at the scene because they received privileged information.

Mr Odesanya added that he was at the scene as a peacemaker.

Gov. Wike Confirms Daisy Okocha Rivers CJ

RiversThe Rivers Sate Governor, Nyesom Wike, has confirmed the Acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Daisy Okocha, as the substantive Chief Judge.

The ceremony took place at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The Governor told the gathering of members of his executive council, some senior officials of the state judiciary and other guests that his action was in line with the recommendation of the National Judicial Council and an Appeal Court judgement of December 23, 2015 in Port Harcourt.

The court judgement sustained the prayers of Justice Daisy Okocha to be appointed as CJ in line with the recommendation of the NJC.

The appointment of Justice Daisy Okocha as Acting CJ was billed to expire on January 15, 2016 and her new appointment by Governor Wike as the substantive Chief Judge of the state is expected to leave her in office until her retirement.

Nigeria, US Judges Exchange Ideas On Quick Resolution of Election Cases

inec-2 Nigeria and United States Judges have been exchanging ideas on how to ensure prompt resolution of cases arising from the general elections.

The forum attracted Judges and prominent lawyers from Nigeria and the United States.

Members of the Nigerian Bar and the Bench who attended the event promised that frivolous applications that delayed proceedings at the election tribunals would no longer be entertained.

Coming at a time when there were frayed nerves in the run up to the elections, as a result of the recent postponement of the process, the meeting served as a reminder and preparation for the Judges on how best to deal with post-election petitions in a timely, transparent and credible manner.

One of the criticisms of these Judges was the attacks by members of the judiciary. They said public confidence was consistently being eroded because legal practitioners disparage judgement and decisions made by the Bench.

Corruption Is Part And Parcel Of Nigerian Judiciary – John Oloyede

John_Oloyede
Mr John Oloyede

A legal practitioner, Mr John Oloyede, on Wednesday said corrupt practices in the Nigerian judicial system should no longer surprise Nigerians as it is part and parcel of that arm of government.

“It is no longer a surprise; it is part and parcel of our existence in the judicial arm of government and one can only hope that the situation will get better”, he said on Channels Television Sunrise Daily, adding that “that is where some of us make our daily living”.

He noted that there was a report jointly signed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the United Nations office on Drugs and Crimes that fingered the judiciary of collecting “big money bribes” compared to other government agencies and parastatals that collect bribes frequently.

He also pointed out that these corrupt practices predates the tenure of the present Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Maryam Aloma Mukhtar, who had noted that corruption is rampant among judiciary employees including secretaries, court registrars, process clerks and bailiffs nationwide.

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria only came into office in 2012 and that was the preface of her coming into office”, adding that she told the Senate during her screening that “she is going to do the major work of wiping corruption as long as she is there”.

He argued that though there are corrupt officials amongst the judges, clerks and bailiffs, “about 90 per cent of them are actually clean. It just that the few ones that are bad tarnish the image of the very good ones who are more; they are the silent majority”.

He also alleged that those engaged in the “big money corruption” as reported by the NBS, EFCC and UN Office for Drugs and Crimes are the “secretaries and registrars” adding that “the average amount that is demanded is about $87 as compared to Customs, Police, Water Corporation and NEPA, where the average amount demanded is something like $80.

“So you are not talking about hundreds of millions. The aggregate of it is so tiny because the money is demanded by the support staff”, he added.

He further noted that the few corrupt judges “could either be complicit or innocent; a judge is so powerful that he can write a ruling and turn a night to day” maintaining that “it is only by appreciating the full extent of their powers that some of these corrupt judges will fully appreciate how much they are affecting the economic life of Nigerians.

“There are high level corrupt practices going on and there are low level corrupt practices going on within the judiciary and known to everybody” warning that “it is not about the judges alone”, he maintained.

The legal practitioner further noted that since CJN assumed office, the disciplinary committee and the NJC have done well in checking the excesses of judges.

“The last time something was ever done, ironically, was under Abacha’s regime. Some judges were sacked based on the Justice Kayode Esho’s report” adding that “as soon as the Chief Justice of Nigeria came on board, two judges were dismissed, one was given a stern warning, one voluntarily retired and became a traditional ruler, instead of facing the onslaught of investigation.

“That was because the Chief Justice of Nigeria showed them that it is not going to be business as usual”, he said.

He commended the efforts of Justice Mukhtar in ridding the judiciary of corrupt officials and practices and hoped that the next person to assume office will continue from where she stopped.

Ikechukwu_Ikeji
Ikechukwu Ikeji,

Meanwhile, another legal practitioner, Mr Ikechukwu Ikeji, noted that there is not “outstanding” reform that has been carried out by the CJN since she is assumed office especially with regards to the criminal justice system, insisting that it only touches the system.

“For example, we saw a judge who decided to go for a slap on the wrist in giving a judgment on pension scam, that the CJN ensured was brought to book.

“It touches on the criminal justice system how judges are expected to apply criminal justice laws in cases before them”, he said adding that “we saw how the judge mishandled the case (pension scam case) and used the least punishment to conclude the case and we saw how the CJN also stepped in to suspend him and some other such cases.

“So why I may not say there is a direct intervention in the criminal justice system in terms of institutionalising or procedural changes is because actions against judges that misbehave touches on the effects eventually”, he said on Sunrise Daily.

He warned that due to the lack of a proper institution, the reforms put in place by Justice Mukhtar may not last the test of time, noting that “if you tabulate the problems and you put indices against the problems in the judiciary, you will realise that most of them do not actually touch on personalities; they touch on the weak structure and loop holes.

“For example, the mode of appointment, funding, composition of the NJC, social relationships” insisting that some of these things do not have direct personal implications, they have structural issues that when taken care of, who ever comes in there will have no option than to toe the line”.

He further noted that Nigeria’s judiciary system is taking the principle of fair hearing to a “ridiculous extent” and opined that it is “necessary to look at some of those principles that highlight right to fair hearing and see how we can tweak them to achieve our purposes” adding that stay of proceedings has over the years shown to be a negative instrument to delay justice.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Maryam Aloma Mukhtar, lamented yesterday there are real cases of massive corruption in the judiciary which have impugned its integrity.

While speaking at the opening of ‎a national workshop organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Mukhtar noted corruption is rampant among judiciary employees including secretaries, court registrars, process clerks and bailiffs nationwide.

She also noted that the conduct of these employees was in increasing breach of the Code of Court for judiciary staff.

Mukhtar warned that any act of misconduct and breach of the code would be punished decisively to arrest the eroding public confidence in the judicial process.

Ondo Judicial Workers Begin Indefinite Strike

Ondo StateJudicial workers in Ondo State under the aegis of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has embarked on an indefinite strike to press home their demands from the State’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The major demand of the striking workers is that Magistrates should not be holding administrative positions, which they insist are meant for the Registrars.

According to the State Vice Chairman of JUSUN, Kikelomo Iyiola, the union is demanding for the change of the nomenclature Registry Assistants given to polytechnic graduates instead of Registrar as applicable to their university counterparts.

She said Ondo is the only State where they are being referred to as Registry Assistants.

The State Secretary of JUSUN, Toye Ilesanmi on his part enumerated some other demands of the union.

The Chairman of the Union, Mr Femi Ogunode, in a statement said the decision was reached at a congress, insisted that the industrial action was unavoidable.

Ogunode explained that the action became imperative following a failed negotiation deal between its representatives and the JSC and management of the State Judiciary.

He explained that since the commission and management of the Judiciary had been holding such positions, many of the judiciary staff have been denied promotions, while some who had applied for conversion of service were refused to be granted consideration.

“The JSC has failed to heed the advice of the Ondo state Head of service that due process should be followed in fashioning out new scheme of service for the Registrars.

“It is our belief that if the JSC wants Magistrates to acquire administrative knowledge, it should send them to relevant administrative training institutions.

“Judicial service commission has also failed woefully to heed our own advice that it should wait patiently for the release of the new National scheme of service being prepared by JUSUN, national body, in conjunction with all relevant bodies like the National Council on Establishment”, he said.

Beware of Unscrupulous Estate Developers In FCT, EFCC Warns

EFCC_NewThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) wishes to alert the general public to the activities of unscrupulous estate developers in the Federal Capital Territory, who are in the habit of defrauding aspiring home owners through bogus offers.

A Statement by the Head, Media & Publicity Unit of the anti-graft agency, Wilson Uwajuren, noted that “in recent weeks the Commission has recorded an upsurge in the number of reported cases of individuals, mostly low and middle income earners , who have been swindled after they responded to advertisement for subscription to own properties in many of the estates being promoted by unscrupulous developers in the FCT.

“Usually, the so called developers, once they are able to secure land allocation from the FCDA, create gorgeous computer-assisted designs of prototype estate and launch aggressive media blitzs for prospective home owners to subscribe for different categories of houses at attractive prices.

“They target low and middle income earners who cannot afford outright cash purchase of property in the burgeoning capital city. For this category of citizens, such offers are irresistible as they present immediate escape from the burden of prohibitive yearly rent payments”.

It added that fraudsters “embrace such schemes with the hope that the payment spread over many years will provide the  cushion to do other things.

“But no sooner than they pay the initial deposits, they are inundated with various excuses as explanation for the developers’ inability to deliver the properties. Some  have waited for many years hoping against hope for their promised houses to be delivered. While the hapless prospective home owners rue their plight, the so-called developers disappear completely from the radar to enjoy their loot”, the statement said, noting that “those who do not disappear continue to make promises that are never redeemed. The more ruthless amongst them are prepared to wear out the scammed subscribers through tedious litigation, fully aware that many of the low income persons lack the resources to sustain legal actions over a long time”.

Mr Uwajuren further added that “the subscribers who brave the courts and secure legal respite, discover to their chagrin that recovering their money is near impossible. Often, the title to such properties would have long been mortgaged as collateral for loan facilities from some financial institutions by the developers”.

He warned that “it is important that stakeholders in the real estate sector, as well as the regulatory agencies such as the Nigerian Society of Estate Surveyors and Valuers come together to review and firm up the regulatory framework for property development in the FCT to check the activities of unscrupulous private developers.

“It is also imperative for intending home owners to ascertain the credibility and capacity of developers before subscribing to their offers”.
Mr Uwajuren further said the FCDA has a role to play in checkmating the housing and land scams “by ensuring that developers requesting land for mass housing have the capacity to deliver the houses”.

He also assured Nigerians the “EFCC will on its part continue the aggressive investigation and prosecution of all land-related cases in the FCT.

Court Bars Executive Arm From Controlling Judiciary Funds

gavelA Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered that the judiciary should henceforth take control of its budgeting without the influence of the executive arm of government.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed in his ruling declared unconstitutional the practice of sending the judiciary’s annual budget estimates to the budget office of the executive arm of government or any other executive authority.

The court ordered that, henceforth, the budget of the judiciary would be prepared by the National Judicial Council and would no longer be “part of the estimates to be included in the Appropriation Bill as proposed expenditures by the President as is the present practice”.

Former President of Nigerian Bar Association and senior advocate of Nigeria Mr. Olisa Agbakoba filed the suit challenging the priority of the executive arm handling the budget of the judiciary.

The court in its judgment agreed with the plaintiff, who contended that the manner in which the judiciary’s budget is being appropriated was contrary to the principle of separation of power and the provisions of Sections 81 (2) and Section 84(1), (2), (3), (4), and (7) of the Constitution.

It declared that any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation should henceforth be paid directly in whole to the National Judicial Council for disbursement and never again through the budget office of the executive arm of government.

The court stressed that the continued dependence of the judiciary on the Executive Arm of government for its budgeting and release of funds was directly responsible for the present state of under-funding of the judiciary, corruption, poor and inadequate judicial infrastructure and low morale among judicial personnel.

According to Justice Mohammed, “It is beyond doubt that funding of the judiciary is provided for and guided by the constitution. The practice whereby the Minister of Finance control funds meant for the judiciary clearly offends the provisions of the constitution and undermines the financial independence of the judiciary.

“Times without number, budgetary estimates for the judiciary are being tampered, and this affects the dispensation of justice in the country.

In this regards, the words of sections 81(2) and section 84(1), (2), (3), (4) and (7) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, are very clear and devoid of ambiguity and should therefore be accorded its ordinary meaning.

“Consequently, the provision of the constitution in sections 81 and 84 of the constitution involving the funding of the judiciary should be given the ordinary meaning.  It is also worth mentioning that the constitution established the principle of separation of powers.

“Taking a look at the prolonged practice where the Ministry of Finance which is under the executive approve the funds to be given to the Judiciary I asked myself, is the Judiciary also a Ministry, agency or department under the Executive? If so, why then did the constitution provide for separation of powers?

“I am unable to find any provision in the constitution that makes the judiciary financially subservient to the Executive. Checks and balances do exist but that does not in any way amount to control.

“That the practice had been going on for a while does not make it legal. If the National Assembly does not submit its budget estimate to the Executive, why then should the Judiciary be made to do so?

“Section 1(1) of the constitution underscores the importance and binding effect of the constitution which is supreme.

“The constitution does not recognize the practice of the judiciary submitting its annual budget to the Executive for approval and the court has the powers to arrest such unconstitutional act.

“In the final analysis, this court has found merit in the plaintiff’s suit and I hereby grant all the reliefs sought by the plaintiff.  That is the judgment of this court” the Judge ruled.

Earlier, the court dismissed all the preliminary objections that were raised against the suit by the National Assembly which challenged the locus-standi of the plaintiff to institute the action.

The National Assembly which was joined as the 3rd defendant in the suit had in its preliminary objection sought the dismissal of the suit on grounds that it was incompetent and also constituted an abuse of court process.

 

Slow Dispensation Of Justice Affects Nigeria’s Economy – Lawyer

Getting justice in Nigeria can take as long as 2 years or more and the economic implication of such delay is huge, as the presence of such anomaly could scare investors.

On Channels Television Law Weekly, the Director General, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Professor Epiphany Azinge, stressed the need for the judiciary to tackle the challenge.

Professor Azinge said that the bane of the administration of justice in Nigeria was the fact that cases were not speedily adjudicated.

“If we can change that, it will go a long way in earning the judiciary a lot of recognition in Nigeria and internationally.

“People believe that because our judicial system is very slow, foreign investors are deterred from coming into Nigeria and that has economic implication,” he said.

The Judiciary in Nigeria made remarkable improvements in 2013, a development that Professor Azinge said was as a result of the efforts the leadership of the the Judicial Arm of Government was making to ensure that the anomalies were corrected.

“Based on empirical report, there is every reason to believe that there was a remarkable improvement in 2013.  I can score the judiciary 70 per cent in terms of their performance in 2013 as against 2012 and 2011.

“Public perception of the judiciary seemed to have improved considerably. Many can now identify the Nigerian Judiciary with integrity to a large extent, he said.

The professor in law said that a good number of lawyers were sanctioned for gross misconduct in 2013, an unusual incident.

“More judgements were written in 2013 as opposed the 2011 and 2012.

“We have started seeing speedy dispensation of justice at the Supreme Court and other courts, both on criminal issues and other matters.

“We moved into 2014 with a lot of hope and expectations that things will improve. We are moving very close to politics, that is the 2015 General election, and all the machinations and tricks in the book will be brought to bare,” he stated.

Professor Azinge pointed out that it would be a tempting period for the judiciary, as there might be some compromise in the process if things were not well managed.

“This is a trying period for the judiciary and we are urging them to remain focused and make sure that there are no compromises. If they do, we will gain international recognition and acceptability as the case may be,” Professor Azinge said.

Asked why there are incidents of delayed justice, he said that a pattern had not been established and that the prosecutors were trying to establish one.

“They are doing that fairly well.

“They are working on a pattern can only be predicated on rules that will be put in place for such to flourish.

“The terrorism case involving the Lebanese has been successfully tested that something can happen within so short a time.

“If we are able to replicate that with the help of judges it will go a long way,” he said.

The lawyer emphasised the need for the judiciary to develop the pattern of ensuring that in all cases, “things are handled with dispatch effectively and efficiently as the case may be”.

“It behoves the judges, prosecutor and to a large extent the defence.

“Once we get prosecution right together with the judges we can achieve what we want to achieve because the two can push the defence to a point where they can no longer sufficiently and successfully extent the scope of a defence,” he said in enthusiasm.

Nigeria At 53: Enikuomehin Examines State Of The Judiciary

On this edition of Law Weekly, we assessed the state of the Nigerian judiciary, 53 years after independence during an interview with a legal practitioner, Dr. Benson Enikuomehin.

Dr. Benson Enikomehin is a legal practitioner as well as a former commissioner who represented Ondo state on the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC.

Also, we featured a public lecture themed “The Social Contract: Which Way Nigeria,” which was organised by the Tayo Oyetibo & Co law firm, drew a crowd of prominent concerned Nigerians who examined some of the problems plaguing the nation at 53 and gave diverse interesting suggestions for going forward.