NJC panel moves to monitor trial of corruption cases
HURIWA flays anti-graft crusade, seeks overhaul of EFCC, DSS
The committee raised by the National Judicial Council (NJC) to monitor corruption cases has resolved to engage prosecutorial bodies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in furtherance of its mandate.
The panel has recorded 2, 306 graft cases currently receiving attention from the four sub-committees into which it has been divided.They are practice directions, training, feedback as well as engagement and awareness. They were constituted at a meeting of the anti-graft panel chaired by Justice Suleiman Galadima.
According to a statement by NJC’s Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, the committee has also been divided into zone A, comprising Abuja and FCT, northern zone and southern zone.
The statement read that chief judges of state divisions who were yet to submit list of corruption cases to the committee were reminded to do so without further delay.“The committee, after brainstorming on all the pending alleged corruption and financial crime cases submitted to it by the heads of court that had complied, also indicated that a new practice direction would be issued to judges handling the said cases.
“The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, had directed the heads of courts to designate courts and judges that will solely handle the ongoing trials on daily basis to fast-track all pending cases.“The practice directions sub-committee has commenced a review of various practice directions by leveraging on both local and foreign comparative jurisdictions to meet global best practice.“No date has been fixed for the planned interface with the anti-corruption bodies,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, a group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has said the anti- corruption campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari has broken down, requiring immediate and far-reaching reforms.
The Department of State Services (DSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were at loggerheads recently over an unsuccessful attempt by the EFCC to arrest erstwhile directors general of DSS and NIA, Ita Ekpeyong and Mr. Ayodele Oke for alleged corrupt practices.
In a statement in Abuja, the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf said: “Mr. President must fix the heavily broken and compromised system if his much touted anti-corruption mantra won’t be dismissed as a gambit and a political ruse and therefore cosmetic by historians and critical minded thinkers.”
The group made the call against the backdrop of the public spat by the three sister security agencies, and the allegation of mismanagement of forfeited assets from Abdulrasheed Maina by the EFCC.HURIWA advised Buhari to overhaul the DSS, EFCC and the office of the attorney general and minister of justice, and appoint persons who are not politically compromised or ethically questionable.
The group said the reported battle for supremacy among the agencies did not augur well for the global image of Nigeria and threatened national security. “President Buhari owes Nigerians the constitutional mandate of doing only those things which serve the overall public good and not follow his whims and caprices or try to satisfy the demands of the so-called presidential cabal.”