Justice Nyako calls for employment of more judges
A Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Binta Nyako, has stated that more judges are required to hasten justice dispensation in Nigeria.
She called on the Federal Government to appoint more judges to ensure speedy trial of criminal cases.
According to the News Agency Of Nigeria, Nyako made the call in Abuja at a policy roundtable organised by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption programme (RoLAC).
RoLAC is a programme in Nigeria funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the British Council.
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“If we want speedy dispensation of justice, we need to have an equivalent number of judges. The same applies to the Court of Appeal, which has less than 100 judges, the Supreme court has 17, and it is still going down.
“How many cases do you expect them to do in a day? They are human. It is very important we start advocating for additional number of judges,” Nyako said.
The judge stated that there are 80 judges for the Federal High Court and FCT and claimed this does not commensurate with a population of over 200 million Nigerians.
“I have over 600 cases. If I handle 20 cases in a day and I adjourn, how many months will it take me to cover these cases? It will take a longer time.
“It is practically and humanly impossible for me to do more than 20 cases a day, especially when criminal cases are involved. Sometimes criminal trials take a whole day and are then moved to the next day.
“So you can see that it is not easy based on the number of cases in response to the number of judges in the whole of the Federal High Court of Nigeria with 36 states and the FCT,” she said.
In his own contribution, RoLAC National Programme Manager, Danladi Plang, said the programme was put in place to take stock of how RoLAC had impacted on the implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) since 2017.
Plang said that RoLAC had supported law enforcement agencies on the implementation of ACJA even though there are deficiencies in some sections of the law.
He added that the sections where RoLAC focuses on implementation in the ACJA are sections 33, 34, 110, 111 and 393 to 396.
“The police divisions in the FCT are now opening their doors for magistrates to inspect, and the correctional services are now sending regular reports to the Attorney General of the Federation.
“There are still gaps. Other law enforcement agencies are not welcoming us for inspection. This roundtable will help us to expose why that is still happening.
“We want to see a reduction in the number of people awaiting trials that are being detained in the law enforcement facilities, correctional services, what we want to see is an increase in the number of those who are convicted and not awaiting trials,” he said.
Plang added that Nigeria must stop the era of suspects being detained without being charged to court
The Chief Judge of FCT, Justice Husseini-Baba Yusuf, represented by Justice Sylvanus Oriji, called for a review and assessment of the ACJA to measure successes and deficits within the last seven years of its implementation.
Represented by Justice Sylvanus Oriji, the Chief Judge commended and appreciated RoLAC for organising the roundtable, adding that it would help to consolidate the implementation of the ACJA and inform stakeholders better.
He also recommended that the police and other law enforcement agencies record information about a suspect along with the National Identification Number (NIN) and Bank Verification Number as provided by section 15(1) of the ACJA.