Akpabio pledges legislative framework to tackle alleged judiciary corruption
The Senate president, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has pledged firm legislative provisions to root out alleged corruption and breaches of integrity in the Nigerian justice sector.
Akpabio, while pledging the commitment of the National Assembly to strengthen the judiciary in the country, noted with sadness that the judiciary, which is often saddled with the task of resolving conflicts of monumental dimensions, struggle with mundane and trivial survival needs and work tools.
Akpabio in a paper titled, “The Role of the Legislature in Preventing Corruption and Breaches of Integrity in the Justice Sector,” noted that it has becomes a norm for every outgoing justices of the various courts to lament on some of the problems of the Judiciary, which are all known beforehand.
Some of these challenges, he said, are “manifested in various forms, eroding the fundamental tenets of Justice, impairing public trust, and hampering the sector’s ability to function effectively.”
As a lawyer before his adventure into politics, Akpabio said he understood the real situation including institutional and legal bottlenecks that afflict the justice sector.
He added that the national assembly is also aware that the number of Justices on the bench of the Supreme Court has dropped drastically below the constitutional requirement, adding that “It is a matter of national interest that we immediately initiate the due process of law to address the shortfall at the apex court. In this way, the Legislature is ready to play its role.”
According to him, the Judiciary and the Legislature share a unique relationship, explaining that while the legislature is the assembly of the people, the judiciary is the people’s last hope.
Akpabio said: “We will always therefore seek to identify ways in which Parliament can help the judiciary to remain strong, productive and independent for the benefit of Nigeria.
“Stringent resource allocation, transparent and merit-based appointments and removals are some of the measures that the legislature will entrench to assist the justice sector to regain its glory.
“Let it be known also that fostering a culture of integrity and accountability is achievable through continuous training of judicial officers on ethical standards and anti-corruption measures.
“Educating the public about their rights and the justice system’s operations, enhancing transparency in court proceedings and making legal processes more accessible and affordable are essential components.
“Under contemplation, therefore, is a bill to address that absurdity. The bill will address the issue of some of the cases that will have its final bus stop at the court of Appeal, while the Supreme Court should be burdened with only cases that the stakeholders have agreed should end up at the apex court.
“With these and other progressive measures, we would have addressed the issue of delay in our justice sector.”
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