-By Mark C. Orgu, August 27, 2019,news/comments
LAGOS-Mr. Abubukar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation, has disagreed with Justice, Tanko Muhammed, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, on the freedom of judiciary in the country. Malami firmly believed that it is out of place for anyone to say that the Nigerian Judiciary is not independent, hinting that they are fully independent.
Meanwhile, Justice Tanko Muhammed, is of a contrary view, but said that there is no doubt of the future of Nigerian Judiciary been bright. “For the judiciary under our watch, I can assure you that, by the grace of God, the future looks bright, even though as some may see it as a mere assertion or bleak”.
The CJN further stressed, “Since my appointment as Chief Justice my focus has been on reinventing our processes, providing a speedy and quality administration of justice, strengthening our structures from the Supreme Court to other courts and stamping out corruption from the system.” The judiciary under him was embracing technology to fast-track its processes, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Justices had forgone their annual vacation this year to clear the backlog of “time-sensitive cases”
The leader of the Nigerian legal Institution, advised Lawyers to desist from filling appeals that holds no water at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, noting that the Apex court would soon deal decisively with abusers of court proceeding, the judiciary would not lose its firm grip on the mantle of honesty, transparency and integrity. “Let me assure this assembly; we don’t look at anybody’s face or feelings before taking our decisions”. “If there is any deity to be feared, that deity is the Almighty God. We will never be subservient to anybody, no matter how highly placed. “If you say that I am independent, but in a way whether I like it or not, I have to go and bend down, asking (for funds) I have lost my independence”
Conclusively, the CJN admitted that the judiciary was not truly independent, especially in the states, because the executive was in control of its funding
On his part, Malami who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, declared the conference open said that Buhari’s administration had ensured the independence of the judiciary, saying that Buhari led government is not dictating to the judiciary, because most judgments against Federal Government was accepted without any prejudice or questions.
The minister reiterated that FG is only committed to strengthening institutions in the country. “We have had to disrupt the age-long wrong assumptions and historical narratives of the presumed immunity of sacred cows in our society, simply to demonstrate that henceforth the law will be used as a potent instrument to regulate the activities of all persons and institutions in our country in a fair and transparent manner.” However, Malami stressed that FG ‘s intention to probe the circumstances surrounding the failed power project leading to $9bn arbitration award against Nigeria in favour of a British firm, P&ID. , “It is a sad testimony to potential for national economic disaster when legal issues are handled ether in a compromised, ignorant or incompetent manner.
“Let me inform that without prejudice to our right to challenge this award, Mr President has already directed the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to ensure that all issues related to the negotiations, signing, formation and obvious frustration of the purported contract are duly investigated and all persons and institutions, whether in the private or public sector, who acted in ways that have now caused our dear nation a potential economic adversity and widespread opprobrium are made to face the law and prosecution in the law court.”
They spoke at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Nigerian Bar Association Annual General Conference at Eko Hotel in Lagos on Monday
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