Osinbajo tasks lawyers, others on effective administration of justice
• CJN commissions dispute centre to aid court decongestion
• Flays incessant brutality, orders inspection of police stations
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has charged lawyers and law enforcement officers on effective delivery in the administration of justice, which he said, is far too slow in holding people accountable to anything, including corruption, petty offences or even some of the security issues the country faces.
The Vice President stated this while addressing over 1,200 young and senior lawyers participating in the 12th yearly Business Law Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association’s (NBA) Section on Business Law (SBL) yesterday in Abuja.
He said it is the duty of lawyers as professional elite in the country to continue to support security framework and system of administration of justice.
“The charges made at our doorstep frequently are the fact that the administration of justice system which involves lawyers, the profession and the judiciary, as well as the police and so on, is far too slow in holding people accountable to anything.
“It is one of the critical ways we can contribute to making our society safer and better,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, who spoke at the commissioning of the new Court of Appeal Mediation Centre in Abuja, called on all judges and heads of courts to encourage Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in cases that are less contentious before them as it aids in decongestion of the courts’ jurisprudence.
The CJN, represented by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, noted that the use of ADR mechanisms in courts, besides forming part of the quarterly performance evaluation for judges, the mediation centre is expected to grow to become a veritable alternative to the rigours of the courts and promote conflict resolution for more effective justice delivery in the Courts of Appeal.
In a related vein, Onnoghen has ordered magistrates to carry out inspection of police stations and other detention facilities across the country.
The directive, which was sent to chief judges of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was contained in a statement issued yesterday by the Senior Special Assistant to the CJN on Media, Awassam Bassey, following alleged police brutality, inordinate arrest and unlawful detention, among others.
He said: “I have observed and received several complaints of the horrific incidents of police brutality, inordinate arrest, detention and extortion of innocent Nigerians by officers across the country.
“These incidents have assumed frightening proportions in recent times. The magistrate courts are currently overwhelmed with cases of such brutality, inordinate arrest and detention of citizens.
“As we approach election year, it is imperative that we curb these excesses through the instrumentality of the statutory powers of the courts.”
He further directed the chief judge of every state and FCT to put in place appropriate mechanisms to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.