AGF stresses the need to rejig justice sector reform

The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has reiterated that reforming the justice sector is a critical component of the overall agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration to fight corruption.

Malami also explained that components of the current government is to develop the economy, promote respect for human rights; due process and build public confidence in the justice system.`

The Minister made this known in his opening address at the National Summit on Justice, 2017 with the theme: Reforming the Justice System for National Development, on Tuesday 8the August, 2017 in Abuja.

Represented by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Taiwo Abidogun, the Minister gave the assurance of the present administration’s commitment to the noble ideas of justice and equally resolved to collaborate with the development partners in furtherance of mutual beneficial objectives.

He said, “Given the challenges militating against an effective administration of justice and the peculiarity of our Federal system, there is need to harmonize and integrate the various justice sector reform initiatives into a clearly articulated policy that defines the philosophy of our justice system with respect to service delivery and provide a common direction for justice sector stakeholders across the country.”,

He further explained that the policy in broad terms is expected to set a common vision and provide the guidelines for promoting an effective and efficient administration of justice, guarantee the freedom of the people and propel the socio-economic development of the nation.

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“However, the need for National Policy on Justice arose due to absence of policy that addresses the imperative of building consensus among justice sector institutions and also practitioners, for the purpose of addressing collectively, the various challenges confronting the justice system that is fairer, more effective, accessible; efficient and responsive to the hopes and aspiration of the people”, the AGF stressed.

Malami then emphasised the need for the federal, States and other stakeholders in the justice sector to collaborate to drive the reform of the justice system for national development.

He further pointed out that, the Ministry of Justice under his leadership will continue to mobilize justice sector institutions to put in place structures and policies to address the various challenges militating against the justice system in the country.

According to him, during the summit proper on Thursday, the participants are expected to consider the draft National Policy on Justice which was developed by the technical committee constituted by the Ministry of Justice, make inputs that will enrich its content, and promote its national acceptance and implementation, surmising that; thereafter, its outcome would be submitted to the larger house for adoption and validation.

The AGF also stressed further that the policy will serve as the framework upon which relevant government institutions can situate their regulations and legislations in line with best practices and principles.

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Answering questions from the media, the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Taiwo Abidogun,Esq. described the policy as a roadmap in which States’ justice institutions and stakeholders could leverage on, to ensure that justice is delivered in an efficient and speedy manner.

Chairman, Technical Committee on the drafting of justice policy, Prof. Muhammed Tabiu, SAN, in an interview with the media, affirmed that varieties of justice institutions at the highest level across the country are represented at the summit, adding that the States, Federal and even the traditional justice handlers were present.

Tabiu further stated that consolidation and participation are the foundation of implementation and that the document has a very clear implementation strategy.

He also stated that responsibilities are assigned to individual institution to the various level of government; buttressing that what is required to achieve this is also spelt out in the document.

Also speaking with the newsmen, the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Benue State Ministry of Justice, Lady Christy Anagende in her opinion, said that it is very important for the country to have Justice Sector Policy which will guide all various sector of justice, adding that by doing so, there will be justice for all and the development the country is looking for can be achieved.

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