New move to help Nigerians access justice, fair play underway – AGF Fagbemi

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi has said a new move to make Nigerians access justice and fair play unhindered is underway for the citizenry.

To make the new move achievable, most of the laws including electoral laws are to be updated under a new justice sector reform.

At a media briefing in Abuja on Thursday, the AGF revealed that the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Nigerian Bar Association NBA are putting together a new National Summit on the Justice sector where all factors hindering the effectiveness of Nigerian laws would be tackled.

The President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, according to the AGF would on April 24, 2024, declare the National Summit open to address critical challenges in the nation’s justice sector in Abuja.

According to Fagbemi, the anticipated National Summit on Justice, holding from April 24 to 25, 2024 will be hosted by the Federal Ministry of Justice, alongside the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The National Summit, with the theme, “Repositioning the Justice System: Constitutional, Statutory, and Operational Reforms for Access and Efficiency”, the Minister said, will be held at the Auditorium of the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja.

The event, Fagbemi said, will address the significant challenges plaguing Nigeria’s justice sector and pave the way for much-needed reforms that will make justice more accessible to all Nigerians.

He said the Summit will bring together experts, legal professionals and key stakeholders from across the country to engage in constructive discussions and develop practical solutions that prioritize the justice needs of the average Nigerian.

In his words, “The National Summit on Justice presents a unique opportunity to collectively tackle the pressing issues hindering the efficient, fair, and people-centred delivery of justice in our nation.

“The Joint Planning Committee established by the Federal Ministry of Justice and the NBA, headed by the Chairman of the NBA Judiciary Committee, Dr Babatunde Ajibade, SAN has assembled a remarkable group of speakers and panellists to share their invaluable knowledge and expertise and proffer constructive solutions for making the justice system more efficient and accessible to all Nigerians”, the AGF and Minister of Justice stated.

He added that the summit will feature a keynote address by Dr Willy Mutunga, EGH, a renowned legal scholar, jurist and former Chief Justice of Kenya, celebrated for his commitment to democratic principles and human rights, and for the transformative judicial reform that took place in Kenya under his watch.

One of the Summit’s goals, the Minister said, is to review, validate, and adopt the revised National Policy on Justice 2024 – 2028 to drive prison reforms, access to justice for the average Nigerian, as well as the review of electoral laws and procedures in handling election-related cases, among several other reforms.

He said, “This comprehensive policy document outlines a broad framework and initiatives in 17 thematic areas aimed at reforming the justice sector to enhance its effectiveness and accessibility to all Nigerians, ensuring that justice is not just a privilege for the few, but a right for all.

“The policy aims to address various challenges within the legal framework, seeking to promote social cohesion, bolster economic development, and foster good governance”.

He added further that, the Summit will deliberate on draft legislations proposed to address specific identified challenges within the justice sector, relating to the judicial appointments process, administration, funding and budgeting for the judiciary, the elimination of delays and inefficiencies in justice delivery and to evolve ways to reduce the amount of time for adjudication of cases, eliminate some of the associated technicalities, and reduce the number of cases getting to the Supreme Court.

“In this regard, we intend to look at a situation where many cases will terminate at the court of appeal to reduce the burden on our noble justices of the Supreme Court.

“These proposed laws are expected to serve as a catalyst for collective action and provide a guiding framework for relevant governmental institutions at both the national and sub-national levels to establish an effective, efficient, and people-centred justice system”.

The country, he said, cannot afford to remain complacent in the face of the obstacles impeding the efficient delivery of justice for all Nigerians, adding that, “the Summit will present an opportunity for us to unite our efforts, leverage our collective expertise, and chart a course toward a more just and equitable society”.

Fagbemi expressed the hope that the National Summit on Justice will usher in a new era of positive change and progress in the country’s justice sector, and ensure a fair, accessible, and efficient legal system that upholds the rule of law while safeguarding fundamental human rights.


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