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Ajibade tasks Buhari/Osinbajo on justice sector reforms



Dr. Babatunde Ajibade

A SENIOR advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade has tasked the incoming government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to select the right personnel to head all the various agencies that have a bearing on the justice sector.

Ajibade, in a statement titled; ‘My expectation from Buhari/Osinbajo presidency- Justice sector reform’ said he has a high expecation from the government in the area of justice sector reform.

Ajibade said: “The most important task ahead of the Buhari/Osinbajo presidency now is identifying and selecting the right personnel to head all the various agencies that have a bearing on the justice sector, to the extent that the power of appointment rests with them.

It is the nature of these appointments and the mandate that those appointed are given that will determine whether our expectations of a robust reform of the justice sector under this incoming presidency will be met.”

According to him, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN revolutionised justice sector delivery in his 8 year stint as Attorney-General in Lagos State from 1999 to 2007. “And my expectation is that he will influence the same kind of revolution at the Federal level, albeit that he’s Vice-President elect and not the Federal Attorney-General”, he stated.

He pointed out that there is a direct correlation between a complete overhaul of our justice sector and a re-design of the sector’s architecture and the achievement of the Buhari/Osinbajo campaign promise of eradicating corruption.

He explained that in the absence of an efficient and effective justice sector, the eradication or even reduction of corruption will be no more than a pipe dream. His words: “The driving force behind the high levels of corruption in Nigeria at the moment is the palpable absence of efficient and effective enforcement mechanisms.

The situation is so bad that the uncorrupt feel marginalized and frustrated because the corrupt get away with blatant acts of corruption and the system appears powerless to prevent this from happening.

“If this is to change, there has to be a root and branch overhaul of the system starting with the investigative and prosecuting services of the Nigerian Police (including the EFCC, ICPC and all other related agencies); the prosecuting services of the relevant departments of the various ministries of justice; the adjudicatory authority of the judiciary; and my own constituency, the representative duties of Legal Practitioners.

All of these elements of the justice sector must be reviewed in detail and subjected to a thorough reform exercise. “We cannot prevent or reduce corruption if the Police are not willing, able or empowered to carry out their investigative and prosecuting functions properly; the judiciary cannot convict anybody of corruption if the cases are not properly investigated and evidence properly assembled before charges are brought; and judges cannot convict anybody of corruption if they themselves are susceptible to corrupt inducement, invariably offered to them by Legal Practitioners representing the corrupt; and prosecution of corruption cannot occur if Legal Practitioners are permitted by timid and (with respect) lazy judges to stultify and delay the justice process by placing reliance on ridiculous technicalities that delay and frustrate the process.”

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