Tag Archives: #Judiciary

President Buhari Says To NBA, Judicial Reforms Urgently Needed, Recalling Experience With Prolonged Courts Trials

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, is a statement issued today says. When Asks: “Why can’t we have time limits for all cases?

In what is deemed a significant contribution to the ongoing public discourse on the need to urgently reform the administration of justice system in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari’s voice has brought a sharp focus to the matter especially regarding the slow pace of trials in the courts.

Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, the President entered the discourse on Wednesday at the opening session of the virtual 2020 Nigerian Bar Association’s (NBA) Annual General Conference themed “Step Forward” which coincides with the body’s 60th anniversary.

Speaking on the theme of the conference which he said translates into “taking responsibility”, President Buhari explained that the situation has become necessary given the current and pre-existing challenges confronting the system.

According to the President, “why can’t we have time limits for all cases? Why can’t we put in place the rules that will say that a criminal trial all the way up to the Supreme Court must end in 12 months, and that a civil trial must not exceed 12-15 months? I think that, for me, will be stepping forward.

“Step forward means taking responsibility. It may also mean making progress, boldly taking on the challenges of the future.”

The President listed a few areas where “I believe we need to step forward and resolve some of the nagging problems of our systems of administration of justice.”

Going personal on the issue of delay in trials, the President referred to his experience at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunals in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2019. He said until recently, court trials had been “terribly slow” and capable of frustrating genuine efforts aimed at promoting general progress of the society.

He said “I am not a lawyer but I have been both a casualty and a beneficiary of the judicial process. I was before the courts for two and a half years- 27 months from 2003 in the now famous case of Buhari and Obasanjo. It took me two and a half years to fight for a four-year Presidential mandate.

“In 2007, I was again in court for 20 months, almost two years, also as petitioner and later then appellant in the case of Buhari and INEC. And in 2011, again as petitioner in the case of CPC and INEC. I spent another 8 months in court. At the end, I lost all three cases. I wondered then why it needed to take so long to arrive at a verdict.

“In 2019, my status improved, I was now no longer petitioner, I became first respondent in the case of Atiku and Buhari and the whole process took barely 6 months.”

Still on the areas requiring reform, President Buhari said “the second issue for me is the multiple and sometimes conflicting orders of courts. Recently, my party, the APC, had an internal crisis. In the six-week period before I chaired the meeting of the party to resolve the issues, there were at least 10 different conflicting rulings of the courts across the country.

“Again I am not a lawyer, but surely these sort of multiple and conflicting rulings of courts sometimes ex parte, really make a mockery of the judicial process.”

Continuing, the President said “third issue is the seeming bias towards technicality over the clear common sense justice of cases. If justice is to be seen to be done, then the outcomes of cases must make sense to the average person and not just to the refined minds of learned persons alone. Justice must make sense to lawyers and non-lawyers alike.”

My fourth issue, the President said, “is on the appointment of judges. I believe that we must continuously improve on the selection processes for appointment of the men and women who serve as judges.”

“First we must cast our nets wider in search of judges, especially at the appellate level. Second we must put in place primarily merit-based selection processes including mandatory tests and interviews for all applicants for judgeships.

“While our Constitution urges Federal character for balance, this is not an excuse for mediocrity. If a particular zone is to produce a judge why can’t we find the best talents in that zone. Our country has excellent men and women everywhere,” the President said.

President noted that “Reform is urgent because the fabric of our society is stitched together by our system of justice and law enforcement. We cannot afford to have the stitches come undone.”

While urging stakeholders in the sector to further leverage technology to enhance the speed of court processes, the President said “digitization of court processes, records and services is very much the new frontier of justice delivery and will dramatically enhance access to justice and affect trial timelines.”

Speaking on his administration’s efforts at addressing security concerns, President Buhari said his government acknowledges the apprehensions of the people, and restated the commitment to address them.

He however noted that “the fight against insecurity and to establish law and order, requires the full cooperation of all especially the various structures for law enforcement and administration of justice at all levels,” referring to how both the Federal Government and the States need to work together on prosecuting criminal cases for instance.

“If like some of us, you listen to the radio, you will often hear ordinary people asking questions about why criminals have not been sent to jail. So for example, they would ask why a suspected murderer has not being prosecuted. Of course the question many will ask is, ‘so, what is Buhari doing about that?’.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad restated the commitment of the judiciary to adapt to changes within and around its environment, citing the adoption of virtual court proceedings as an example.

He said the judiciary under his watch will not condone practices that have, over the years, negatively impacted the image of the justice sector, noting that abuse of court processes, among others would no longer be tolerated.

The week-long event will feature discussions and presentations by distinguished personalities and scholars with a focus on the theme “Step Forward”. He concluded.

The NBA And THE Katsina State Judiciary Battle OVER Fraudulent Release OF Kidnappers

The NBA And The Katsina State Judiciary Battle Over Fraudulent Release of Kidnappers – DAILY WATCH PRESS

Malam Kabiru Shua’aibu, the Chief Registrar, Katsina State High Court in a statement made available clear the air, where he said:

“The NBA Katsina has, through its Assistant Secretary called a Press Conference on the above case where he alleged that one of their members is being persecuted. It has become necessary to respond to clear the facts for the general public to know the true position of the issues raised by the NBA.

On 9th March, 2020 the Registrar of High Court No. 7, Katsina presided over by Hon. Justice Baraka I. Wali conspired with some staff and lawyers and fraudulently presented false Court Order, Bail Bond and Release Order purportedly issued by the presiding Judge of Court 7 to facilitate release from custody 2 suspects/accused persons who have been on remand at the Katsina Correctional Centre on the orders of Chief Magistrate I, Katsina where the suspects were arraigned and remanded pending filing of formal charge at the High Court since the Chief Magistrate has no jurisdiction to try the offences the accused/suspects were arraigned on, which involves Conspiracy, Kidnapping and Belonging to Gang of Thieves.”

The Chief Registrar revealed that a false order was used to secure the release of the Kidnapped suspects:

“The said Registrar along with others conspired, prepared a ruling purportedly given by Hon. Justice Baraka I. Wali and fraudulently presented false Court Order, Bail Bond and Release Order to the Hon. Chief Judge who, believing the documents to be genuine, signed and the said documents presented to the Officer-in-charge of the Correctional Centre from where the suspects were eventually released.

The Hon. Chief Judge became aware of the matter when the Legal Officer of the Dept. of State Service complained that the accused/suspects have been released and have committed another kidnap and even killed one person at Mararrabar Kankara in Malumfashi Local Government while the Dept. as complainant was never served the processes of the application for their bail.”

He further asserts that:

“This led to the Hon. Chief Judge calling for the case file and Register of cases from the Central Registry where it was discovered that the application for the bail was never officially filed and registered.

It was further discovered that the case no. assigned to the file KTH/198M/2020 had earlier been assigned to a civil motion. It was discovered that U. D. Farouk Esq. a Principal Legal Officer with the Legal Aid Council filed the bail application with his signature and official N.B.A. seal The said lawyer also perfected the bail conditions by introducing the suerties after presenting a forged introduction letter from the District Head of Kankara where the accused/suspects hailed from having found that the conduct and acts of the Registrar and his coconspirators amounted to judicial fraud and offences relating to Administration of Justice under sections 124, 125, 141 and 148 of the Penal Code Law of Katsina State, the Hon. Chief Judge directed that a formal complaint should be forwarded to the Dept. of State Service for the matter to be thoroughly investigated and appropriate action taken as the acts and conducts constitute not only offences but a threat to National Security and general administration of justice.

The Dept. of State Service having conducted preliminary investigation invited and interrogated all those involved including the District Head of Kankara whose letter of introduction of suerities was forged, the officer in charge of Katsina Central Correctional Centre and detained the principal suspects and arraigned them before a Chief Magistrate Court for cognizance. In the meantime, the U. D. Farouk undertook before the Hon. Chief Judge to facilitate re-arrest of the fraudulently released suspects and the Dept. of State Service obliged but for over one week he was not able to do so and he was also detained and arraigned to court.

When application for the bail of the court officials, the lawyer and others involved in the fraudulent release was filed before High Court no. 6 was refused, the NBA. knows the appeal option available but rather decided to appeal to the public court through press conference. The claim that U.D. Farouk did not commit any offence cannot stand as it is only a court of law that can determine that.
The Hon. Chief Judge thereafter constituted a Committee to investigate the infractions internally.”

“The Committee composed of a Judge as chairman with the Solicitor-General, Ministry of Justice, the Chief Registrar High Court, Representative of Commissioner of Police, Representative of Director Dept. of State Service, Chairman N.B.A. as members and Director litigation as secretary (all members of the committee are lawyers and members of the NBA.) The Committee has just submitted its report which is being studied for appropriate action.

For the avoidance of doubt, we have never stated that the Hon. Chief Judge was deceived into freeing notorious kidnappers as being reported in some on-line and social media channels.” He concluded.

Judiciary Autonomy: Gov Senator Okowa Signed Bill Into Law

Judiciary Autonomy: Gov. Senator Okowa Signed Bill Into Law – Daily Watch Press

Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, the Delta State Governor, has signed the Judiciary Autonomy Bill into law as the State Chief Judge, Justice Marshal Umukoro, commended both the governor and legislature for the speedy process culminating in the signing of the bill.

The Bill which was titled, ‘The Delta State Judiciary Fund Management (Financial Autonomy) Law, 2019’, the law provides for the management of funds accruing to the state judiciary from the consolidated revenue fund of the Delta State.

Section 6 of the Law provides that the Delta State Judiciary shall have the power to manage its Capital and Recurrent Expenditure in accordance with the provisions of the Law.

The commencement clause, shows that, the law comes into force from the 23rd day of January, 2020.

Reacting to the development, the State Chief Judge, described the action of the Governor Okowa as a bold and laudable step towards granting the judiciary the much-desired autonomy despite the challenges that attended the legislative process.

While lauding the Delta State House of Assembly for ensuring the speedy passage of the Bill, he said that autonomy would enhance speedy dispensation of justice in the state, improve work conditions and facilitate development of infrastructure.

Justice Umukoro gave assurance that “the judiciary would live up to its constitutional responsibility and ensure prudent management of funds accruing to it,” saying that with the assent to the bill, Governor Okowa had restated his unalloyed commitment to the growth and development of the Judiciary.

He assured of the fostering of the existing level of cordiality and harmonious relationship between the Executive and Legislature and the Judiciary in Delta State.